Next on the menu will be the women’s 15km cross-country pursuit, followed by the men’s 5,000m speed skating final at the Adler Arena. In the evening the spotlight will fall on biathlon and the men’s 10km sprint, with the women’s moguls bringing the day to a close. Also on the schedule on the opening day are women’s ice hockey, the brand new figure skating team event, ski jumping and the men’s luge.
Flashback to Vancouver 2010:
Gold medals for Vincent Jay (FRA), Marit Bjoergen (NOR), Sven Kramer (NED) and Hannah Kearney (CAN)
Biathlon, men’s 10km sprint: Sporting the No 6 bib, France’s Vincent Jay capitalised on ideal weather conditions to produce a dream run at Whistler, going clear in the shooting and finding plenty of speed on his skis to set the pace with a fast time. No sooner had the Frenchman crossed the line than the skies darkened and heavy snow began falling, which meant no one could get near him. Norway’s Emil Hegle Svendsen came closer than anyone, battling his way through the snowstorm to finish nearly 13 seconds behind Jay in second, with Croatia’s Jakov Fak taking bronze. Jay called time on his career in 2012, but Fak and Svendsen will once again be in action in Sochi
Cross-country skiing, women’s 15km pursuit: 48 hours after claiming gold in the 1.5km sprint, Norway’s Marit Bjoergen turned in another dominant display to top the podium once more in the 15km pursuit. The battle to join her there proved to be a thrilling one, with Sweden’s Anna Haag snatching silver right on the finish line from Poland’s Justina Kowalczyk, who came in a mere thousandth of a second ahead of Stormer Stera of Norway. Bjoergen and Kowalczyk will be among the medal favourites once again in Sochi.
Speed skating, men’s 5,000m: A silver medallist over the same distance at Turin 2006, the Netherlands’ Sven Kramer posted an Olympic record time of 6:14.60 to win his first ever gold medal ahead of the Republic of Korea’s Lee Seung-Hoon and Russia’s Ivan Skobrev. Though Kramer later failed in his attempts to win the 10,000m and the team pursuit, he is returning to Sochi full of belief, having won a string of titles over the last four years. Given his recent form, that elusive hat-trick looks well within his grasp.
Freestyle skiing, women’s moguls: First out in the qualifiers and last out in the final on Cypress Mountain, Canada’s Hannah Kearney produced a flawless run to beat her compatriot Jennifer Heil to gold. Third on the podium was the USA’s Shannon Bahrke. Crowned world champion at Voss (NOR) in 2013, Kearney will fancy her chances of retaining her Olympic title at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.