SOCHI, February 16, /ITAR-TASS/. Short tracker Victor Ahn has won the first Olympic gold medal in 1,000m short track race for Russia, meanwhile, short tracker Vladimir Grigoryev came second after the titled teammate, winning the silver medal in the race for Russia. Alexander Tretyakov has won the first skeleton gold for Russia.
After eight days of the Winter Olympics Russian team has won 15 medals (four gold medals, six silver medals and five bronze medals) and is ranked third in team standings. Russia leads in the number of medals at the Winter Olympics in the southern Russian city of Sochi.
After Ahn’s bronze medal in the 1,500m race Russia expected only the victory from him in the 1,000m race and the former South Korean athlete did not let down his new homeland. Confidently qualifying to the race final with Grigoryev (started training in short track in Ukraine), Ahn did not leave a single chance to his rivals. Two Russian short trackers were leading a larger part of the race and despite attempts of rivals they did not permit anyone to win two top medals. Knegt Sjinkie of the Netherlands had nothing to do but only to be pleased with the bronze medal.
Thanks to gold and silver won in the short track race eight days before the end of the Sochi Olympics Russia has already improved its medal standings showed in Canada’s Vancouver four years ago, when the country’s Olympic team had won three gold medals, five silver medals and seven bronze medals.
Russian short tracker Olga Belyakova has taken 14th place in the women’s 1,500m race. Yang Zhou of China became the three-time Olympic champion, Suk Hee Shim of South Korea has won the silver medal, Arianna Fontana of Italy has taken the bronze medal.
Skeleton racer Alexander Tretyakov has won the gold medal in men’s heat 4. The 28-year-old Krasnoyarsk athlete showed best results in two first heats on Friday and yielded only two hundredths of second to Martins Dukurs of Latvia in the third heat.
So, Tretyakov only had to avoid serious mistakes in the final heat that he did successfully, winning the fourth gold medal for Russia at the Sochi Olympics. Matthew Antoine has taken the bronze medal. Sergey Chudinov and Nikita Tregubov performed quite well, taking the fifth and sixth places, respectively.
Russian men’s ice hockey team lost 2:3 to the United States in a series of penalty shots. Forward Pavel Datsyuk scored both goals for Russia in the regular time. The defeat actually deprived Russian squad of hopes for the first place in Group A, however, the team still has some chances to advance in quarterfinals without the qualification play-off round. For this purpose Russia should win a match with Slovakia with a difference of five goals or more or wait for a Group B match between Canada and Finland not to end in overtime or in a series of penalty shots. Anyway, if Russia qualifies for quarterfinals, the team will most likely play with Canada or Finland on February 19.
The Group C preliminary round ended with two matches: Sweden - Latvia - 5:3, Switzerland - the Czech Republic - 1:0. Sweden has won confidently in the preliminary round, gaining nine points, and will play in quarterfinals, several other teams will have to play qualification play-offs on February 18.
Russian women’s ice hockey team dropped from the medal race, losing 0:2 to Switzerland in the quarterfinal. Russian women’s hockey squad will play in classification round for 5th -8th places with Japan on Sunday.
The women’s 4x5km relay race turned out to be outstanding, but Russian women skiers were left without medals. Though, after the first leg some hopes appeared that Russian female skiers will interrupt a series of Sochi Olympic failures, as Yulia Ivanova has won a race leg, passing the relay to Olga Kuzyukova as a race leader. But the latter finally lost to her rivals primarily tactically, trying not only to keep, but also to increase a lead, she overrated her strength and finished just seventh, losing around 50 seconds to the race leaders. Finally, Russia women’s ski team (Natalia Zhukova and Yulia Chekaleva skied third and fourth legs) has taken the sixth place.
Finland, Germany and Sweden were finally fighting for the victory in the relay race, and Norwegian female skiers unconquerable for the last five years even could not interfere in the medal race. The finish happened to be fantastic, as brilliant Charlotte Kalla of Sweden, who has won earlier two silver Olympic medals in Sochi, started her leg with a 26-second lag behind the leaders, but succeeded to catch up with them and even outrun Krista Lahteenmaki of Finland and Denise Herrmann of Germany. Before this Sochi Olympic gold medal Swedish female skiers did not win gold Olympic medals in the relay race since 1960.
The finish turned out to be dramatic in men’s 1,500m race in speed skating. Zbigniew Brodka of Poland has won the gold medal, finishing just three thousandths of second ahead of Koen Verweij of the Netherlands. Verweij started in the final run, but failed to surpass unexpected result of Brodka, who was not considered as a favourite at his 29 years. However, Verweij’s result had brought Russian speed skater Denis Yuskov, who is the 2013 world champion in Sochi in this race, to the fourth place. Russian speed skaters Ivan Skobrev finished just at the 18th place, Alexey Yesin at the 24th place and Alexey Suvorov at the 25th place.
On Saturday, the first set of medals was contested in women’s super-G event in Alpine skiing, where Anna Fenninger from Austria has won the gold medal. She succeeded to outrun Sochi Olympic champion in super combined Maria Hoefl-Riesch and Nicole Hosp of Austria, who won silver and bronze medals, respectively. Russian Alpine skier Elena Yakovishina showed the 24th result, Maria Bedareva did not finish.
The Olympic Saturday evening ended with men’s large hill individual final in ski jumping. Kamil Stoch of Poland became two-time Olympic champion in Sochi, winning gold medals in large hill and normal hill events. Stoch succeeded to outstrip Japanese Noriaki Kasai, 41, who had won his first Olympic medal in Lillehammer back in 1994. Peter Prevc of Slovenia has taken the bronze medal.
Russian ski jumper Dmitry Vasilyev was the best among Russians, taking the 26th place. Another Russian ski jumper Ilmir Hazetdinov finished 29th.
Russian men’s and women’s curling teams played two Round Robin Session 9 matches. Russian men’s curling team lost all chances to qualify to quarterfinals after a 6:9 fifth defeat to China. Russian women’s curling squad lost 3:5 to Canada, but the team has three victories in seven matches and still has some hopes for medals.