Winter Olympics Day Seven Round-Up: Lysacek Twirls to Gold
The 18 medals won by 11 countries on the seventh day of Olympic competition did not include another anticipated medal for the USA's Lindsey Vonn, who was in sublime form in the earlier downhill event.
At the Whistler Olympic Park, Norway attained an historic milestone of 100 gold medals when skier Tora Berger won gold in the 15-km individual event.
The Norwegian's confidence at the shooting range was incontrovertible. She converted nineteen of her twenty attempts at the shooting range, much to her unrestrained delight.
Berger crossed the finish line—her adrenaline giving her the strength to pump her fist into the air rather than customarily collapse in exhaustion—with an overall time of 16.03.1.
She occasionally alternated first and second with another Norwegian, Ann Kristin Aafedt Flatland, while Valj Semerenko's excellent chances evaporated despite a methodic performance at the range.
Kazakhstan's Elena Khrustaleva came second, with 100 percent accuracy at the range, followed by Belarus' Darya Domracheva.
Tenth place for Germany's Magdalena Neuner meant she was unable to gather a trio of Olympic medals at the Vancouver games.
In the ladies' super combined alpine skiing, Germany's Maria Riesch—who had been among the candidates identified as threats to Lindsey Vonn gold in the downhill—registered an overall time of 2.09.14 in her two runs to take gold at the Whistler Creekside.
The USA's Julia Mancuso—who had led in the downhill before being displaced by Vonn—earned her second silver in three days, while Anja Pärson overcame what could have been a catastrophic crash in the downhill to take bronze.
Riesch, whose sporting proficiency has also enabled her to becoming a ranking tennis player, became the first German to medal first in the discipline since Katja Seizinger in the 1998 Nagano games.
Vonn demonstrated her credentials in the downhill stage but crashed out in the slalom—entangling with a pole and losing one of her skis—to make the conceivable possibility of an historic haul of five medals an impossibility.
At the Richmond Olympic Oval, Canadian speed skater Christine Nesbitt took gold in the ladies' 1,000 metres with a finish time of 1.16.56 -0.02 seconds ahead of the Netherlands' Annette Gerrisen.
Urged on by a partisan crowd, the Australian-born 24-year-old dramatically surged ahead of Gerrisen in her final lap to continue what has been an outstanding twelve months for her.
Gerrisen's compatriot, Laurine van Riessen, finished in third—0.16 seconds behind the Canadian.
In the men's 20-km individual biathlon, Norwegian Emil Hegle Svendsen added an impressive gold to his 10-km sprint silver, but it was an occasion that would be noted more for legendary teammate Ole Einar Bjørndalen's accomplishment.
The renowned veteran's silver was his tenth medal since Nagano 1998, making him the most decorated biathlon competitor in Olympic history. He had previously amassed four golds alone at the Salt Lake games in 2002.
Belarussian Sergey Novikov took bronze.
In the ladies' halfpipe, Australian Torah Bright earned gold with a sensational performance that nullified what had been a calamitous first run. That initial run had accrued just 5.9 points after a disjointed performance ended in a fall.
Unphased, Bright had a scintillating follow-up that reassured spectators it had merely been an uncharacteristic lapse. Her final score of 45.0 was 5.8 points ahead of the USA's Hannah Teter.
Fellow American Kelly Clark finished third, denying China what would have been its first medal in the event.
In an acrimonious figure skating singles, the USA's Evan Lysacek broke 18 years of Russian supremacy to take gold ahead of Evgeni Plushenko with an overall points total of 257.67.
That domination had followed two successive American golds at the 1984 and 1988 games, respectively.
Plushenko's uncertain performance has compounded his country's struggles so far at the Olympics. The country's contingent has registered only a single gold and failed to take first in the pairs for the time since 1964.
Japan's Daisuke Takahashi produced a commendable display to finish third, giving him the distinction of being the first Japanese to medal in the singles.
Meanwhile, at the controversial Whistler Sliding Centre, Australian bobsled breakman Duncan Harvey has been released from hospital after a crash.
There have been a succession of incidents at the Whistler Centre, which was the scene of Georgian Nodar Kumaritashvili's death, while Switzerland's Beat Hefti has withdrawn after sustaining a concussion.
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