Flashback to Vancouver 2010
Surprise gold for Rebensburg, landmark gold for Demong, heartache for Kramer and the Koreans
Alpine skiing, women’s giant slalom: Without an international victory to her name prior to Vancouver 2010, German 19-year-old Viktoria Rebensburg served up one of the surprises of the Games by recording two solid runs to win by just 0.04 seconds from Slovenian skier Tina Maze, who had already won a silver in the super-G. Austria’s Elisabeth Görgl finished third to add another bronze to the one she collected in the downhill. All three skiers will be at the start gate in Rosa Khutor.
Nordic combined, men’s individual large hill/10km: Lying sixth after the ski jumping component, USA’s Bill Demong caught up with his compatriot Johnny Spillane during the ski race, with the pair then chasing down Austria’s Bernhard Gruber, who had started in first place. The three stayed side by side until 500m out, at which point the Americans pulled away to score an unprecedented one-two, with Demong becoming USA’s first Olympic Nordic skiing champion. Spillane’s silver was his second of the Vancouver Games, while Gruber had to content himself with the bronze. Demong will be back to defend his title in Sochi, but with Spillane since retired, USA’s main hopes may lie with Todd Lodwick.
Short track, women’s 3,000m relay: Seung-Hi Park raised her arms aloft as she crossed the finish line at the Pacific Coliseum, believing she had just secured the Republic of Korea’s fifth consecutive Olympic women’s relay title. The judges ruled, however, that one of Park’s team-mates had illegally impeded a Chinese opponent during the race and disqualified the Koreans. Instead, victory went to the Chinese quartet of Sun Linlin, Wang Meng, Zhang Hui and Zhou Yang, whose world record time of 4:06.610 saw them finish ahead of Canada and USA. Having had their winning streak broken, the Koreans will be anxious to get back on track in Sochi.
Speed skating, men’s 10,000m: The Netherlands’ Sven Kramer experienced a similar sinking feeling to the Korean short track team, crossing the line fastest in the 10,000m, only to be disqualified for an incorrect lane change, which he had made under instructions from his coach. Victory went instead to Seung-Hoon Lee of the Republic of Korea, who posted a new Olympic record of 12:58.55. Russia’s Ivan Skobrev finished 3.52 back to take the silver, with Kramer’s fellow countryman Bob de Jong earning some consolation for the Dutch by winning bronze. Having already taken gold in the 5,000m in Sochi, Kramer, will be lining up at the Adler Arena intent on atoning for his Vancouver mishap,.
Freestyle skiing, men’s halfpipe: This event is making its Olympic debut at Sochi 2014.