Wednesday's Highlights at the Sochi Olympics
WEDNESDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS AT THE SOCHI OLYMPICS:
RUSSIA BACK ON TOP IN PAIRS
Russia reclaimed its dominance of pairs figure skating by taking the top two spots. Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov won the gold medal, while Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov had a near-flawless free skate to move up from third after the short program and capture silver in front of the ecstatic home fans. Soviet or Russian skaters had won pairs gold in 12 straight Olympics until the streak ended in Vancouver.
One day after Shaun White's disappointing run in the halfpipe, Kaitlyn Farrington of the United States won the women's title, edging defending champion Torah Bright of Australia and American teammate Kelly Clark. It was just the third gold medal of the Sochi Games for the Americans — all of them at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
FIT TO BE TIED
An Alpine skiing race ended in a tie for the first time in Olympic history when Tina Maze of Slovenia and Dominique Gisin of Switzerland both finished the downhill in 1 minute, 41.57 seconds. They will both get a gold medal — the eighth time at a Winter Games that two top medals have been awarded. Gisin's teammate Lara Gut got the bronze, 0.10 behind the winners.
"TWO TOBIS" ARE TERRIFIC
Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt won doubles gold, keeping Germany on track for a sweep of the luge events at the Sochi Games. Their run of 1 minute, 38.933 seconds gave Germany its 10th gold in 14 doubles races since 1964. The sliding superpower has now won 70 of 120 luge medals awarded in the past 50 years.
HEAT IS STILL ON
Sochi was bathed in sunshine and warm temperatures amid the palm trees in the resort city next to the Black Sea. Highs hit 63 degrees (17 degrees C). The heat made life difficult for skiers and snowboarders in the nearby mountains, where local organizers have stored surplus snow, but they have yet to tap into it.
Stefan Groothuis, a 32-year-old Dutchman, became the oldest gold medalist ever in the 1,000 — the fourth gold medal in five speedskating events for the Netherlands. The victory ended Shani Davis' shot at becoming the first male speedskater to capture the same event at three consecutive Olympics. It was a bitter disappointment for a U.S. speedskating team that came to Sochi with high hopes but has yet to earn a spot on the podium.
Norway held the overall medals lead with 12, including four gold. Canada had the same number of gold and 10 medals overall — as did the Netherlands. The United States and Russia both had nine medals overall, but the Americans had three golds, while the hosts had two. Germany had eight medals overall — but six of them were gold.
NEIGHBORS AND RIVALS
A controversial goal gave Canada a 3-2 win over the United States in women's hockey — a third consecutive victory. A shot by Hayley Wickenheiser trickled through the pads of U.S. goalie Jesse Vetter, and a video review confirmed that the puck went into the net before the referee's whistle blew. The tense game was a preview of the expected gold medal match.
Norway's Emil Hegle Svendsen and Tarjei Boe have good chances of adding to Norway's medal haul at the Sochi Olympics when they compete in the men's 20-kilometer individual biathlon, one of six medals being contested.