Sunshine-soaked Sochi sees Swiss skiers surge
SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Skiers cut their sleeves before heading out to the cross-country course Friday during one of the warmest days at the Sochi Olympics. At figure skating, however, the rising temperatures had strictly to do with Japanese teen Yuzuru Hanyu, whose white-hot performance has him positioned to win the men’s title.
With the mercury hitting 13 degrees Celsius (55 degrees Fahrenheit) at the mountain-top venues, Swiss skiers earned goal medals in both the men’s classical-style 15-kilometer race and the men’s super-combined slalom. The haul gave the Swiss five golds, just two behind Germany, the
Dario Cologna won the sweat-drenched 15-kilometer race to earn his second gold of the games. Cologna, who had ankle surgery in November, won the 30-kilometer skiathlon Sunday.
Sandro Viletta stunned the favorites to win the super-combined. Two top Americans, defending champ Bodie Miller and world champion Ted Ligety, failed to win a medal.
On Day 8 of the Sochi Games, four other sports were awarding medals: biathlon, freestyle skiing, skeleton and figure skating.
Hanyu was a big favorite heading into the free skate after becoming the first skater to break the 100-point mark in a short program. The 19-year-old Hanyu is trying to become not only the first Japanese men’s Olympic champion in figure skating, but the first from any Asian country.
Hanyu didn’t have to worry about famed Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko, who retired Thursday night after an injury during warmups forced him from the short program. On Friday, some Russians criticized Plushenko for dropping out. He was the only Russian man in the short program.
CROSS COUNTRY: Sweden’s Johan Olsson captured the silver, finishing 28.5 seconds behind Cologna. Another Swede, Daniel Richardsson, took bronze.
ALPINE SKIING: Viletta finished the combined downhill and slalom runs in 2 minutes, 45.20 seconds. Ivica Kostelic of Croatia 0.34 second behind to earn the silver, and Christof Innerhofer of Italy took bronze, 0.47 behind.
CURLING: Sweden knocked China from the unbeaten ranks in men’s curling, Canada defeated Norway and the U.S. topped Germany. Sweden, China, Canada and Norway lead the 10-country field in the race for four semifinal spots.