Cologna grabs second gold medal
After a season blighted by an ankle injury, Dario Cologna is finally having his day in the sun.
Wearing short sleeves and sunglasses in the springlike weather, the Swiss cross-country skier won his second gold medal of the Sochi Olympics on Friday with a dominant performance in the 15-kilometer classical-style race.
Cologna is a three-time overall World Cup winner, but he had ankle surgery in November and only returned to competition in January.
“It’s amazing. I couldn’t believe the first gold medal, after being injured, and now the second,” Cologna said. “The first gold was emotional after coming back from injury, the second is unbelievable.”
Johan Olsson of Sweden finished second, 28.5 seconds back. Another Swede, Daniel Richardsson, took bronze.
Belarus biathlete wins her second gold medal
Darya Domracheva’s unmatched pace won the Belarusian biathlete her second gold medal of the Sochi Olympics on Friday.
In the women’s 15-kilometer individual race, Domracheva missed one target, but she easily made up the penalty minute for a comfortable victory. Fact is, she could have missed another shot.
Domracheva, who also won the 12.5K pursuit three days ago, finished in 43 minutes, 19.6 seconds.
Selina Gasparin of Switzerland shot cleanly and finished 1:15.7 behind to take silver. Nadezhda Skardino of Belarus also avoided mistakes and finished 1:38.2 behind in third.
Belarusian springs women’s aerials upset
Alla Tsuper of Belarus pulled off a stunning upset to win gold in women’s aerials on Friday, beating a field that included two decorated Olympians.
Tsuper drilled a 98.01 in the finals to knock off defending champion Lydia Lassila of Australia and two-time medalist Li Nina of China. Xu Mengtao of China won silver, and Lassila took bronze.
Tsuper, 34, had never finished higher than fifth in four previous Olympics and had competed sporadically since Vancouver, with a single podium finish in the past six months.
American Ashley Caldwell led qualifying, posting the highest score with a backward flipping triple twist jump that had the highest degree of difficulty in the round. But she stumbled in the finals, dropping to 10th place.
Russian leads men’s skeleton
Powering down his home track, Russia’s Alexander Tretiakov built a surprisingly large lead over Latvia’s Martins Dukurs after the first two heats of men’s Olympic skeleton Friday.
Tretiakov completed his two trips down the Sanki Sliding Center track in 1 minute, 51.99 seconds — 0.56 seconds ahead of Dukurs, the man he’s been trying to catch all season. Dukurs, who won the silver in Vancouver, entered the Sochi Games as a strong favorite.
Tretiakov had a nearly perfect second run of 55.95 seconds — nearly one second better than the track record Dukurs set a year ago.
And while it’s a two-man race for gold, a pair of Americans are slugging it out for bronze. John Daly, who finished 17th in Vancouver, is in third, followed by Matt Antoine of Prairie du Chien, Wis. The U.S. has not won a medal in Olympic skeleton since 2002.
“A medal for the U.S. is a medal for the U.S.,” Daly said. “It’s kind of our time.”