Medal Count for 2010 Olympics: Day 11 Round-Up, Canada Dances to Gold
The final discipline of the ski-jump was contested on the 11th day of competition. In total, 12 medals were awarded to seven nations—among them a gold for Canada in the ice dancing event.
The medal table remains unchanged, albeit Germany has narrowed the USA's lead to just four. Russia has also continued its recovery, with a modicum of success by its biathlon and cross-country skiers. The United States continues to lead with a total of 24 medals.
In ideal conditions, the final ski jumping event of the 2010 Olympic was glaringly held without the presence of Switzerland's Simon Ammann on the ramp.
The prodigious Ammann was unable to participate in the event as his country had only only one other ski-jumper competing at the games—the discipline requires four.
Austria was among the favourites for gold, having taken bronze in both the normal and long individual disciplines.
The proficiency of Poland's double silver medallist, Adam Malysz, was evident in his jump of 139.5 metres and points total of 143.1, but his teammates were unable to reproduce such execution. By the end of the event, Poland occupied sixth place, with a cumulative total of 996.7.
The first team to surpass the 1000 points threshold was Japan, who were followed by Finland and Norway. Then Germany secured silver with a jump of 140 metres by Michael Urhmann.
The Austrians manufactured tremendous jumps, and their gold was merely contingent on the final attempt by Gregor Schlierenzauer being completed. After a brief delay, the 20-year-old proceeded down the ramp to launch himself into an immense jump of 146.5 metres.
Despite an unceremonious landing, Schlierenzauer's display consolidated Austria's points total, giving the team the honour of achieving the largest point difference between first and second in Olympic history.
The Norwegian team claimed bronze.
In the ladies' team sprint freestyle, Germany prevailed despite trailing behind Sweden for much of the event. They denied the Scandinavians a second consecutive Olympic gold in the discipline.
Sweden's Charlotte Kalla, gold medallist in the 10-km freestyle, maintained a moderate lead against a persistent Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle, but the country relinquished first during the transition.
Anna Haag recovered the lead for Sweden and briefly extended it despite a determined pursuit by Claudia Nystad. The German's obstinacy ultimately gave her the opportunity to surge past Haag, which she duly did just after 17:24 to ensure an enthralling end to the race.
The German team's finish time was 18:03.7—0.6 seconds ahead of Sweden.
Haag did not have sufficient energy to produce the necessary speed to revitalise herself, and was content after a gruelling conclusion to earn silver.
The Russian pair of Irina Khazova and Natalia Korosteleva took bronze.
In the men's equivalent, Norway's Petter Northug finally demonstrated why he was one of the notable pre-Olympics favourites.
Northug's absences from the podium thus far have been conspicuous, but he has not wallowed in disappointment. He contributed to an impressive gold for his team in another exhilarating cross country event.
The lead alternated between a number of countries throughout the race, including France. The French team, however, suffered a grievous reverse during the fourth exchange transition when Cyril Miranda had the misfortune to fall.
Northug momentarily surged past Germany and Canada as they neared 16:40, but then suddenly faltered back to third.
As the skiers neared 18:00, Northug appeared reenergised and battled past Russia's Alexey Petukhov, narrowing the distance between him and Germany's Axel Teichmann.
As they closed on the finish line, Northug generated a tremendous amount of speed to race past Teichmann and continued to consolidate his lead until crossing the red line with a finish time recorded at 19:01.0—1.3 seconds ahead of Germany.
Russia claimed bronze.
Canada's two skies, Devon Kershaw and Alex Harvey, acquitted themselves well and occupied fourth at the end.
At the Pacific Coliseum, Canada's heralded dancing partnership of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir orchestrated a laudable gold medal performance to uncontainable jubilation for the watching spectators.
The free dance followed an intriguing original dance segment, whose folk theme courted controversy when Russia's Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin chose an "Aboriginal-inspired" style for their performance.
The decision was criticised by some Australian groups, although the Russians denied it was potentially offensive, and insisted it was an amalgam of various indigenous cultures.
The United States' Meryl Davies and Charlie Wilson had an impeccably composed performance, earning a score of 107.19 and points total of 215.74 to momentarily attain first, overtaking France's Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder, whose choreography had been typically elegant.
The crowd, even as they savoured the performances of the other countries, waited restlessly for the appearance of Virtue and Moir. When they took the ice, the spectators gave them a rapturous reception as if gold had already been secured.
The Canadians were serene and confident on the ice, and their choreography was perfectly complemented by Mahler's Symphony No. 5—again, to the delectation of the audience.
Their twizzles and lifts were intricate and flawlessly executed, and the Coliseum roared as they formally acknowledged the crowd on the conclusion of their dance.
With two pairs yet to perform, the judges rewarded the Canadians with an outstanding score of 110.42, giving them a points total of 221.57.
Russia's Domnina and Shabalin were the final pair. They improved significantly from their earlier displays to merit a place on the podium, taking a bronze.
Virtue and Moir became the first Canadian couple to claim gold in the discipline, and are only the third non-Russian couple to achieve first place in the past 26 years (the others being the United Kingdom's Torvill and Dean, and France's Anissina and Peizerat).
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