Friday’s Highlights at the Sochi Olympics
FRIDAY’S HIGHLIGHTS AT THE SOCHI OLYMPICS:
JAPAN’S FIRST FIGURE SKATING GOLD
Despite two falls, Yuzuru Hanyu won Japan’s first Olympic gold medal in men’s figure skating. Patrick Chan, trying for Canada’s first such victory, took silver. World silver medalist Denis Ten of Kazakhstan took the bronze. All of the medalists had flawed performances, but the 19-year-old Hanyu held on in great part because of his 3.93-point lead after the short program. He is the first Asian man to take Olympic gold.
SOMETHING TO YODEL ABOUT
It was a big medal day for the Swiss: Dario Cologna won his second gold of the Sochi Olympics with a dominant performance in the 15-kilometer classical-style cross-country race, five days after winning the opening 30-kilometer skiathlon. Then, Sandro Viletta put down the second-fastest slalom run to win the men’s super-combined. Finally, Selina Gasparin shot cleanly to take the silver in the women’s 15-kilometer individual race in the biathlon.
THE SILVER SURFER
Skiing in the super-combined, Ivica Kostelic of Croatia again won silver. He became the first skier to win three straight silvers in a single Alpine skiing discipline - in 2006, 2010 and 2014. Kostelic’s younger sister, Janica, won four golds and two silvers at the 2002 and 2006 Games. It’s 10th Olympic medal in the family, “and this fact makes be very proud,” Kostelic said.
ANOTHER LIZZY REIGNS FOR ENGLAND
Britain’s Lizzy Yarnold won the women’s skeleton, posting a four-run time that was 0.97 seconds faster than U.S. silver medalist Noelle Pikus-Pace. Russia’s Elena Nikitina got the bronze. Pikus-Pace entered retirement by exorcising the memory of letting a medal slip away in Vancouver four years ago.
BELARUS’ DAY IS TSIMPLY TSUPER
Alla Tsuper delivered a stunning win in aerials that capped a golden day for Belarus. Tsuper beat a field that included defending Olympic champion Lydia Lassila of Australia. Earlier, Darya Domracheva got her second gold medal of the Sochi Games, winning the women’s 15-kilometer individual race in the biathlon, and teammate Nadezhda Skardino got the bronze. It was the first time two athletes from the Eastern European country got medals in the same Winter Games event.
Another warm day in the Caucasus Mountains above Sochi saw cross-country skiers modifying their wardrobes in the 50 degree (10 degree C) temperatures. Some wore short sleeves, while Norway’s Chris Andre Jespersen cut off his pants down his thigh. Said German veteran Alex Teichmann: “I became a winter athlete to do my sport in winter, not in summer. That was definitely the warmest race of my career.”
PUTIN IN THE HOUSE
President Vladimir Putin visited the Olympic headquarters of the United States — even wearing a Team USA pin. U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said: “Putin was very gracious.” Some American athletes said “Welcome!” to him in Russian, and he answered “Thanks!” in English, Russian news agencies reported. The visit was a sharp contrast with the chilly state of political relations between Washington and Moscow. Putin also visited Canada House.
One week into the competition at the Sochi Games, Norway and the United States are exactly even in the medals count, with 13 total, including four gold. The Netherlands and Russia also are tied with 12 total medals, although the Dutch have four gold and the hosts have only two. Canada has 11 total medals, with four of them gold. Germany has 10 medals with seven of them gold.
Seven medal events will be contested, including the women’s super-G, where Anna Fenninger, Nicole Hosp and Elisabeth Goergl lead Austria’s charge to win the race for the third consecutive Olympics.