Winter Olympics — Sochi 2014Tuesday, February 18, 2014
US skates to historic gold in ice dance
Fog forces delays in mountains
Through 17 years of defeats and victories, Meryl Davis and Charlie White insist they’ve never considered parting ways. A perfect pairing, they were nearly flawless at the Sochi Olympics, and yesterday they became the first US skaters to win an ice dance gold medal.
SOCHI, Russia — Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the US skated into the history books at the Sochi Winter Olympics yesterday when they won the ice dance gold, but thick fog in the mountains forced organizers to postpone two events and warn of more delays to come.
Belarus maintained their remarkable medal charge, picking up two more titles including gold for Darya Domracheva, who is now the only woman to have won three biathlon titles at the same Games after her 12.5km mass start victory.
In the biggest contest of the day at the February 7-23 Olympics, another record fell.
Davis and White became the first US athletes to win the Olympic ice dance title with a spellbinding performance to the music of Rimsky-Korsakov’s ! Scheherazade.
While their dazzling display thrilled the crowd packed into the Iceberg Skating Palace, spectators in the mountains were disappointed by the postponement of the men’s biathlon 15km mass start and men’s snowboard cross competitions until today.
“We’re so excited we’re kind of in shock a little. I’m not sure what we’re feeling,” a beaming Davis told reporters after improving on their silver medal finish from four years ago.
White added: “To come away with a gold medal is amazing ... And 17 years of hard work was justified.”
Weather delays may extend further into the final week of the Games, officials have warned, with the women’s giant slalom possibly turning into a two-day affair.
Safety was organizers’ main concern after a series of injuries at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, as fog and drizzle replaced a week of uninterrupted sunshine in the Caucasus peaks high above Sochi.
The worst accident involved Russian ski cross athlete Maria Komissarova, who was flown to a specialist clinic in Germany on Sunday for a second operation after having had lengthy surgery to attach a metal plate in her spine.
After a series of weather-related delays, Domracheva won the first title of the day at around 7.30pm.
Hours later, compatriot Anton Kushnir won the men’s freestyle skiing aerials competition to take Belarus to seventh in the medals table with five golds — one more than Canada.
Russia moved up to second in the rankings, with gold in the two-man bobsleigh.
Alexander Zubkov secured the Olympic title he came out of retirement to win, as Russia’s flagbearer at the Games’ opening ceremony proved uncatchable on home ice.
Germany leads the world with six days of competition to go, securing an eighth Olympic title with the last event of the day — the men’s team ski jumping.
The Games lost one of its top athletes when Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal decided to leave without competing in his final two races after failing to win a medal. Expectations had been high after he showed great form this season.