The 10th day of competition at Vancouver saw 18 medals awarded, distributed to 12 nations—among them a deserved gold for the USA's Bode Miller and Russia's second of the Olympics.
In the overall medal table, Germany has closed the disparity with the USA to six after taking four medals (including two golds). The USA retains first with a total of 24, including seven golds.
In the men's 15-km mass start, Russia's Evgeny Ustyugov excelled at the shooting range with a 100 per cent accuracy that ensured he would finish without a single penalty, complementing his remarkable race.
Ustyugov, who waved in acknowledgment of the crowd as he crossed the line, was 10.5 seconds faster than France's Martin Fourcade with a recorded time of 35:36.7.
Bronze was obtained by Slovenian Pavol Hurajt, who replicated Ustyugov's display at the range.
Ustyugov continues a determined campaign by the Russian contingent to alleviate increasing pressure on the team, which has been criticised back home for its relative lack of success.
In the women's 12.5-km equivalent, Germany's indomitable Magdalena Neuner achieved a second gold having overtaken Russia's world champion, Olga Zaitseva, who had maintained the lead for a considerable period of the event.
Despite two shooting penalties, Neuner finished 5.5 seconds ahead of the Russian, with a time of 35:19.6.
Zaitzeva then battled with Neuner's teammate, Simone Hauswald, for second and managed to generate a brief surge that was sufficient enough to claim the silver.
Neuner has since announced her withdrawal from the women's relay, attributing her decision to exhaustion.
The expectation that had been placed on alpine skier Bode Miller had come agonisingly close to being fulfilled in the downhill and Super-G, and was finally realised in the super combined.
The super combined continued what has been a fascinating series of events at the demanding Whistler Creekside course.
The USA's Andrew Weibrecht—who won bronze in the Super-G—made a promising start but wasn't able to exploit it, losing his balance within grasp of the finish.
Defending his gold medal from 2006, the USA's Ted Ligety (the 15th start) navigated the course with exceptional conviction, taking the lead with a time of 2.45.82.
Austrian Benjamin Raich came close to executing a run that could have attained first place, but a single error impacted his overall time. Austria's male skiers still continue to struggle on the Whistler piste. Should they not medal in the forthcoming grand slalom, it will be an unprecedented failure for the country's Olympic skiers.
Ligety was displaced by Croatia's Ivica Kostelic, whose clarity of movement through the course gave him a time of 2.45.25—0.47 ahead of the American.
To the audible delight of the crowd, Bode Miller—who has been redeemed from the perspective of the US media—put in a confident display with a time of 2.44.92. Once more, Miller was within tantalising grasp of an elusive gold.
Downhill gold medalist, Switzerland's Didier Defago, was disqualified after an underwhelming performance, but attention was focused on Aksel Lund Svindal, who had claimed gold in the Super-G.
The imposing Norwegian once more appeared intent on being a nemesis for Miller, and was arguably the last credible threat to American gold.
He initially recorded a time that was 0.32 seconds faster than Miller, but his run began to appreciably deteriorate and he eventually lost control. After an untypical error, Svindal conceded without completing the course.
Miller had secured his first gold, and the perception that he been "transformed" since the criticism he received in Turin is surely now complete in the eyes of the American media.
Kostelic, who finished in second, became the first Croatian skier to earn more than one medal. Switzerland's Silvan Zurbriggen took the bronze.
In the inaugural men's ski cross event, the pre-race favourite, Michael Schmid of Switzerland, established an early lead in a frenetic final and continued to extend it.
A large crowd numbering in the thousands watched in enthralled dismay as Canada's medal hopeful, Colorado-born Christopher Delbosco, attempted to challenge for silver, having previously dropped to fourth.
Unfortunately for the Canadian, Delbosco wildly flew off the final jump and, in the ensuing spectacular crash, violently impacted the ground. Headfirst.
Delbosco, whose time with the US ski team was controversial, required medical treatment in situ. Evidence of his commitment and the inherent danger of the sport stained the slushy snow thanks to a bloodied nose.
Austria's Andreas Matt secured silver, while Norway's Audun Groenvold had reason to be grateful to Delbosco.
At the Richmond Olympic Oval, the Nethderlands' Ireen Wust had an absorbing race that earned her gold in the ladies' 1,500 metres. The triumph followed disappointment in the 1000-meter and long-distance 3000-meter, which she had won in the 2006 Turin Games.
Wust's emphatic time of 1:58.89—1.21 seconds faster than compatriot Margot Boer— could not be countered despite admirable performances by numerous skaters, including Christine Nesbitt.
The Canadian had taken gold and threatened Wust's first place, recording a time that was 0.29 seconds faster at one stage, but was unable to maintain that standard. She has already taken one gold at the Olympics.
Nevertheless, Kristina Groves ensured that Canada would still be represented on the podium, claiming a silver ahead of the Czech Republic's Martina Sablikova.
Visibly emotional, Wust was in tears at the conclusion of the event.
Germany continued its dominance of the Whistler Sliding Centre with a one-two in the men's two-man bobsleigh discipline, but it was André Langer's unprecedented accomplishment of four Olympic bobsleigh golds that became the focus.
The renowned and supremely talented pilot, who has also amassed a collection of eight world championship gold medals, surpassed a record that he jointly held with three others: Bernhard Germeshausen, Kevin Kuske, and Meinhard Nehmer.
He and Kevin Kuske ("Germany 1") had trailed in the first heat, but took first in the second heat, and consolidated in the third and fourth for an overall time of 3:26:65—0.22 seconds faster than their second-placed compatriots.
Spirited runs by "Germany 2" (Thomas Florschuetz and Richard Adjei) and "Russian Federation 1" (Alexsandr Zubkov and Alexey Voevoda) merited silver and bronze, respectively.
For the RF1 pair, both of whom serve in the military, it is the first medal awarded to a Russian in the discipline since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
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