Winter Olympics Day Five Round-Up: Canada Just Won't Stop

Joel FCorrespondent IFebruary 17, 2010

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 16:  Maelle Ricker of Canada competes during the Ladies' Snowboard cross on day 5 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at Cypress Snowboard & Ski-Cross Stadium on February 16, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The fifth day of competition at the Winter Olympics witnessed Canada's second gold of the tournament—and the country's fifth medal overall. In total, 15 medals were awarded to athletes from 10 nations. Bad weather again proved to be more than an irritation, resulting in the postponement of the men's downhill.

In the ladies' 10 km biathlon pursuit, there was a reversal of fortunes, with Germany's Magdalena Neuner adding a gold to her silver from the 7.5 km sprint. Slovakian Anastasia Kuzmina, who won gold in the 7.5 km, finished second ahead of France's Marie Laure Brunet.

The German completed the course in a time of 30 minutes and 16 seconds. When not skiing, Neuner enjoys playing the harp and her performances in the Olympics are sure to give her ample inspiration.

In the men's 12.5 km pursuit, Swede Bjorn Ferry's finish time of 33 minutes and 38.4 seconds, along with immaculate accuracy at the shooting range, earned him first place.

The gold was his first Olympic medal. He began competing in the Olympics at the 2002 Salt Lake games.

Austria's Christoph Sumann finished second—16.5 seconds behind Ferry—ahead of France's Vincent Jay, who unexpectedly captured gold in the 10 km sprint.

Severe fog at Cypress Mountain caused protracted delays for the ladies' snowboard cross qualification heats.

Competitors and spectators refused to be unsettled, however, and a number of "Canadian" waves rippled through the stands as attempts were made to self-entertain.

Although the weather refused to improve, the organisers persisted—much to the detriment of some of the boarders.  

The USA's Lindsey Jacobellis again defied credulity, appearing once more to self-sabotage her gold medal aspirations.

Her fall continued her disappointment at the Olympics, perhaps inextricably defined by a surreal miscalculation four years earlier that denied her gold in Turn.

In the final, Canada's veteran Maelle Ricker caused delirium for her fellow Canadians, taking gold ahead of France's Deborah Anthonioz and Switzerland's Olivia Nobs, respectively.

Ricker's experiences at the 2006 Turin games were less controversial than Jacobellis but spectacularly more painful. She sustained a concussion after dramatically skewering off the course.

It was a horrendous crash, one which caused her tremendous anguish and catalysed an unstoppable impetus to one day medal.

After securing gold, Ricker addressed the media, "Turin was such a motivator for me. It just made me work that much harder and just go for it today. It’s crazy. Indescribable. I’m going to pinch myself.”

At the Richmond Olympic Oval, speed skater Lee Sang-Hwa sensationally foiled Germany's world record holder, Jenny Wolf, while bronze went to China's Wang Beixing.

The 20-year-old South Korean's overall time of 76.09 seconds was sufficient to allow her to become the country's first gold medalist in the women's 500 m discipline.

South Korea became the first country to triumph in both the men's and women's versions of the 500 metres.

The death of Georgian Nodar Kumaritashvili continued to reverberate and controversially prompted organisers to amend the starting place for women in the single's luge, moving competitors to the section used for juniors.

The decision was made to conform to an earlier one to lower speeds in the men's version by moving their starting position to the women's equivalent.

At the Whistler Sliding Centre, Germany's army psychologist Tatjana Hüfner raced to first in three of the four heats in the women's single luge. Her overall time of 2.46.524 was 0.490 ahead of Austria's Nina Reithmayer.

Hüfner's gold, along with third-placed Natalie Geisenberger's bronze, affirmed Germany's outstanding authority in the men's and women's luge thus far in the 2010 games.

It was Germany's fourth successive gold in the women's single event, since Silke Kraushaar took gold at Nagano in 1998.