SOCHI, February 09, 2:16 /ITAR-TASS/. Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen on Saturday equalled the record for Winter Olympic medals won when victory in the 10-kilometer sprint in Sochi took him to 12. The Olympic Games in Sochi are the sixth for the 40-year-old Norwegian who has seven gold, four silver and one bronze medal in his collection.
Russian biathletes Yevgeny Ustyugov, Dmitry Malyshko, Anton Shipulin and Yevgeny Garanichev could have competed for medals theoretically. But the 40-year-old Bjoerndalen did not leave a chance to anybody.
All in all, athletes competed for five sets of medals on the first Olympic day. The Norwegian team won two gold medals while the U.S, Dutch and Canadian squads won one gold medal each.
Snowboarders opened the morning programme on Saturday. Twenty-year-old Sage Kotsenburg of the United States became the first gold medalist of the Sochi Winter Olympics on Saturday when he won the men's snowboard slopestyle event at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
Kotsenburg’s first run scored 93.50 and although some of his rivals put in high scores on their second runs, he held on for victory.
Norwegian Staale Sandbech (91.75) claimed silver with the penultimate run of the event while Mark McMorris of Canada took bronze with 88.75. Russian Alexey Sobolev didn’t qualify to compete in the final.
In skeleton, Marit Bjoergen of Norway clinched her first 2014 Olympic title to add to the three she won at Vancouver when clinching the 7.5 km classic style/7.5 km freestyle skiathon.
Bjoergen completed the distance of 15 km (7.5 km classic + 7.5 km free) in 38 minutes, 33.6 seconds. Silver went to the Swedish skier Charlotte Kalla (+1,8 sec.) and Bronze went to the Norwegian skier Heidi Weng (+13,2 sec.).
"One gold was my goal, so now I can relax a little bit. I can enjoy the rest of the Games," Marit Bjoergen said.
Speed skater Sven Kramer retained his Olympic 5,000m title at the Sochi Games on Saturday, destroying the field to win by nearly five seconds as the Netherlands swept the podium.
Kramer's time of 6min 10.76sec at the Adler Arena was a new Olympic record. Compatriot Jan Blokhuijsen was second (6:15.71) with Jorrit Bergsma in third (6:16.66).
Young Canadian athlete Justine Dufour-Lapointe won the gold medal in mogul. That was the best achievement in her sport career.
Regina Rakhimova of Russia was eighth.
On Saturday, qualifications were held in ski jumping and men’s luge.
Four Russian ski jumpers have qualified for the 1st round. Ilmir Khazetdinov (preliminary place 18); Denis Kornilov (24); Mikhail Maksimochkin (29) and Alexey Romashov (39) will compete in the 1st round on Sunday and will fight for entering the finals.
Russian luger Albert Demchenko is second after two runs. He is 0.294 seconds behind Felix Loch of Germany. The third and fourth runs will take place on Sunday.
Russian figure-skater Yulia Lipnitskaya won ladies’ teams short programme on Saturday, leaving behind Carolina Costner of Italy and Mao Asada of Japan.
“Today, I was calm like never before,” the 15-year-old Lipnitskaya said after her performance.
“ I had been told lots of things about the Olympics. I had been warned there would be lots of fans on the stands and that they would cheer so loudly that it would be hard to hear the music. I knew all that but I could not have imagined that it was going to be that loud, “Lipnitskaya said, adding that the home crowd’s support had even helped her to skate.
Russian pair skaters Kseniya Stolbova and Fyodor Klimov were the winners in free skating. They helped Russia to preserve its leadership in teams’ figure-skating events (47 points).
Canada is second (41 points) and the United States is third (34).