Red, White and Very Blue: Big-name Americans struggling in early days of Sochi Olympics

The Associated Press

Shani Davis of the U.S. gestures in dejection after competing in the men's 1,000-meter speedskating race at the Adler Arena Skating Center during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

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In the new sport of women's ski jumping, the Americans would've been heavy favorites for gold if Hendrickson had been healthy. But the 19-year-old world champion had surgery on her right knee in August, and it was apparent after her first training jump that she had not fully recovered. She wound up 21st out of 30 starters, her only consolation having the honor of jumping first in the historic final.

"My performance was not the best," she said, "but I kind of expected it."

At least Hendrickson made it to Sochi.

Two of the most notable U.S. Olympians were left at home.

Skier Lindsay Vonn — THE face of the pre-Olympic marketing push in the States — and defending men's figure skating champion Evan Lysacek were unable to compete in Sochi because of injuries.

Blackmun is pleased with those who did make it.

Davis, for instance, has another shot in the 1,500.

"I think our athletes are doing great," he said. "At every single games, we don't win some medals that we thought we might, and we lose some medals that we never thought we would have. These games are no different."

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AP Sports Writers Stephen Wilson, Dennis Passa, Mattias Karen, Steve Douglas, Andre Dampf, Beth Harris and Jimmy Golen contributed to this report.

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