The 15th day of competition witnessed further speed skating acrimony. In total, 21 medals were awarded to nine nations.
For the first time at the Vancouver Games, Canada and Germany have overtaken the USA in terms of the number of golds taken. The US retains overall first with 34 medals.
For Norway, it was another day of success. Their single gold medal has the country on course to surpass their 2006 total of 19 medals—which included two golds—and has the distinction of being the country's 300th Winter Olympic medal. Norway has already collected seven gold medals at the Vancouver Games.
The illustrious Bjorndaelen, who had thus far taken a silver in the Vancouver games, took his sixth Olympic gold in the men's 4 x 7.5-km relay at the Whistler Olympic Park to move to within one of his predecessor Bjørn Dæhlie's record of 12 Olympic medals.
Bjorndaelen's teammate, Emil Hegle Svendsen, earned his third medal of the games and his second gold. The Norwegian team supplanted Russia from first after the the initial leg and retained the lead for the remainder of the event, with a finish time of 1:21.38.1.
Bjorndaelen crossed the finish line wielding a Norwegian flag that had been given to him. The gold was Norway's 300th Winter Olympic medal.
Austria and Russia's teams took silver and bronze, respectively.
The unpleasant conditions that had impacted the games on the 14th day refused to abate and rain covered the course at Cypress Mountain during the ladies' parallel slalom, while a seemingly impenetrable mist obscured the surrounding scenery.
The crowd, which was sparser than usual, was unperturbed and continued to enthusiastically support the competitors.
One of the pre-race favourites, Germany's 2006 silver medallist Amelie Kober, failed to advance from her quarter-final after losing her balance and crashing out. It had been an unconvincing day for her.
In the semi-final first run, Germany's Selina Joerg and the Netherlands' Nicolien Sauerbreij navigated their lanes fluidly, with Joerg finishing her first run 0.17 seconds faster. She could not replicate that display in her second run, crashing as she approach the red line and sliding into the gates.
Joerg contested the bronze with Austria's Marian Kreiner, who had been overcome by Russia's Ekaterina Ilyukhina.
In the "small" final, Austria's Kreiner established an impressive lead over Joerg and her assured second run held off the German Joerg to secure bronze - her country's third medal in a snowboard event.
The unexpected composition of the final did not diminish the spectacle. The two competitors executed an almost indistinguishable first run, separated only by a narrow margin of 0.02 seconds.
In the second run, Ilyukhina momentarily lost her balance, compromising her run against Sauerbreij. Despite an admirable recovery, Ilhuyikina could not remedy her errors and was unable to overtake her opponent. Sauerbreij finished 0.23 seconds faster.
Sauerbreij and Ilyukhina became the first snowboarders from their respective countries to medal in the Olympics.
The ladies' slalom commenced under unpleasant conditions at the Whistler Creekside. Adverse weather had already caused the postponement of the ladies' giant slalom second run, and the impaired visibility had resulted in a number of crash outs—most notable among them, Lindsey Vonn.
Germany's Maria Riesch established a 0.40 second lead over Slovenia's Sarka Zahrobska to take first place in the first run .
In contrast, the USA's Lindsey Vonn had a lacklustre slalom, compounding her recent disappointment at Whistler since her acclaimed gold in the downhill. Vonn conceded just 16 seconds into her run after an average beginning.
In the second run, Austria's Elisabeth Görgl, who has taken two bronzes, achieved a time of 53.01, which allowed her to withhold off a remarkable 14 challengers until displaced by France's Sandrine Aubert.
Maria Riesch's sister, Susanne, specialises in the slalom discipline and appeared certain to establish a respectable finish time but terminated her second run after becoming entangled with one of the course's poles. She lay despondently in the accumulating snow.
Austria's Marlies Schild, who had impressively emerged from a error, achieved a time of 51.40—0.49 seconds faster than the then incumbent, Sweden's Maria Pietilae-Holmner.
Unfortunately for Schild, Maria Riesch was the final competitor in the second run and capitalised on a strong beginning to reclaim first with an overall time of 1:42.89.
Riesch became the first woman to receive more than one gold medal at a single Olympic since Croatia's Janica Kosteli in 2002, and the first German to do so since Katja Seizinger in the 1998 Nagano Games.
After 47 matches between 10 nations over a 10-day period, the ladies' curling reached its climax with gold contested between Canada and Sweden at the Vancouver Olympic Centre.
The consolatory bronze was coveted by Switzerland and reigning world champions China, who won their match 12-6. The Swiss capitulated in the eight end after China took four points to extend their lead to six.
In the final, Sweden took a sensational gold to shock the home favourites.
Canada took a one-point lead in the second end but it remained a balanced match. The lead alternated between the two sides, and it was 6-4 to the Canadians in the ninth end.
There was a certain disquiet amongst the crowd when a few spectators occasionally shouted chants that could have unsettled Sweden's skip Anette Norberg.
What should have been the deciding delivery for Canada's skip, Cheryl Bernard, proved to be an unfortunate error for her. She failed to remove one of Sweden's stones from the house, giving Sweden a tantalising opportunity
Sweden calmly exploited the unexpected chance to take two points and extend the match to an extra end. With the exception of small clusters of Swedes, the crowd was unnervingly silent.
Tension was palpable and reached a peak when the two sides had just one stone available, with the game still tied at 6-6.
Bernard again made a fundamental error, this time condemning her team to defeat. In her final delivery, Bernard intended to displace two of Sweden's stones from the house but could only take the initial target out. The other stone was untouched and gave Sweden the decisive point.
The gold medal is Sweden second consecutive gold in ladies' curling.
Three medal finals in the short-track variant were held at the Pacific Coliseum.
In the men's 500-m, Canada's Charles Hamelin took gold with a time of 40.981 to the joy of the Coliseum's partisan crowd.
Hamelin had established an early lead before being overtaken by South Korea's Sung Si-Bak, but regained first after the South Korean crashed out.
The USA's Apolo Anton Ohno was later adjudged to have been responsible for the crash of Canada's Francois Lous-Tremblay and was disqualified. Sung-Si-Bak was advanced to second and Tremblay took the bronze
In the ladies 1,000 metres, China's Wang Meng seized her third gold of the Vancouver Games with a time of 1:29.213.
Wang Meng aggressively coveted the lead but tussled with the USA's Katherine Reutter. She eventually regained the lead and appeared to have consolidated first, but still had to battle with Reutter and South Korea's Park Seung-Hi until crossing the red line.
China's Zhou Yang was disqualified. It is Wang Meng's fourth Olympic gold medal, equalling South Korea's Chun Lee-Kyung.
Canada had more reason to celebrate when the country's four-man team took gold in the 5000-m. Canada held onto the lead for much of the race, despite a determined pursuit by South Korea and China, and finished with a time of 6:50.045.
The two Asian nations took silver and bronze, respectively. The USA, featuring Apolo Anton Ohno, finished in fourth.
Charles Hamelin has become the first Canadian to receive two golds at the Vancouver Games.
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