Winter Olympics — Sochi 2014Saturday, February 15, 2014
Switzerland, Japan are big winners
Sandro Viletta stuns favourites to take super-combined
Skiers Sandro Viletta and Dario Cologna of Switzerland claimed gold medals yesterday, while 19-year-old Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan became the first Asian to win an Olympic gold in men’s figure skating.
SOCHI, Russia — A pair of skiers from Switzerland collected gold medals at the Sochi Games yesterday, and a teenager from Japan overcame a pair of falls to become the first Asian man to win an Olympic title in men’s figure skating.
With competitors seeking relief from the unusually warm weather on the mountain trails, Swiss skiers earned gold in the men’s super-combined and the men’s classical-style 15-kilometre cross-country race. The haul gave the Swiss five golds, only two behind Germany.
Sandro Viletta stunned the favourites to win the super-combined. Two of the favourites, defending gold medallist Bode Miller and world champion Ted Ligety, failed to win a medal.
Dario Cologna added the other gold for Switzerland and his second of the games, winning the sweat-drenched 15K race. Cologna, who had ankle surgery in November, won the 30K skiathlon on Sunday.
“This situation is just fantastic,” the 28-year-old Viletta said of Graubünden’s golden day. “We do represent the same region where we speak our own language, and for us this region is very special.”
Although Cologna is a recognized star in Switzerland, even being voted the country’s top sportsman in 2013 from a lineup that included tennis stars Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka, Viletta’s success in Sochi was a surprise.
In figure skating, 19-year-old Yuzuru Hanyu claimed the men’s title, one day after Russian great Evgeni Plushenko withdrew from the Olympics because of injury.
Hanyu made a bid to take Plushenko’s mantle when he became the first skater to score more than 100 points in the men’s short programme on Thursday. On the final night of the men’s competition, however, all three medalists had flawed performances.
In biathlon, Darya Domracheva of Belarus earned her second gold medal of the games by winning the women’s 15-kilometre individual race. Domracheva, who also won the 12.5K pursuit three days ago, missed one target before finishing in 43 minutes, 19.6 seconds.
Alla Tsuper of Belarus pulled off a stunning upset to win gold in women’s aerials freestyle skiing. Tsuper beat a field that included defending Olympic champion Lydia Lassila of Australia and two-time Olympic medallist Li Nina of China.
Lizzy Yarnold of Britain won gold in women’s skeleton, beating rival Noelle Pikus-Pace of the United States by a full second. It was Britain’s first gold medal in Sochi. Winning the silver allowed Pikus-Pace to reach her goal of closing out her career with an Olympic medal. Elena Nikitina of Russia won the bronze.