Podladtchikov lands halfpipe gold

Iouri Podladtchikov celebrates on the podium after winning gold (AP)

Iouri Podladtchikov celebrates on the podium after winning gold (AP)

First published in National Sport News © by

Eccentric Swiss Iouri Podladtchikov upstaged USA star Shaun White to take the snowboard halfpipe gold medal in Sochi.

White's bid for a hat-trick of Winter Olympics halfpipe titles ended in failure as Podladtchikov proved the biggest crowd pleaser on Tuesday night.

The American was the red-hot favourite to add another crown to the ones he won at Turin 2006 and Vancouver four years later, but the 27-year-old could only finish fourth.

Instead it was Podladtchikov, nicknamed IPod, who took the glory, with Japanese 15-year-old prodigy Ayumu Hirano earning silver and his compatriot Taku Hiraoka bronze.

A jubilant Podladtichikov, referring to his gold medal, chose to paraphrase the Sochi Games motto of ''Hot, Cool, Yours'' when he said: ''It's hot, cool and it's f****** mine.''

White, nicknamed The Flying Tomato, had put down a score of 95.75 in the qualifiers to move straight into the showpiece event, but could not replicate that, and an error-strewn final run saw him awarded 90.25, which was not enough to claim even a podium spot.

''I'm disappointed,'' he said. ''I hate the fact that I nailed it in practice, but it happens. It's hard to be consistent.''

Germany's Carina Vogt claimed a surprise victory in the first Olympic women's ski jump competition while hot favourite Sara Takanashi finished outside the medals in fourth place.

The 22-year-old Vogt, who has reached nine World Cup podiums but is yet to record a victory, led after a first round leap of 103 metres and maintained her advantage despite a shorter 97.5m jump in round two.

Austria's Daniela Iraschko-Stolz out-jumped the eventual winner with a second round leap of 104.5m but dropped more points on style and had to settle for the silver medal.

Coline Mattel of France took silver while the 17-year-old Takanashi, who was third after a first round jump of 100m, fell to fourth with a second round jump of 98.5m.

American 13-time World Cup winner Sarah Hendrickson, who has struggled for fitness after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament in a training crash in August, finished well out of the medals in 21st position.

Ola Vigen Hattestad and Maiken Caspersen Falla made it double gold for Norway with respective victories in the men's and women's cross country sprints.

Hattestad took gold ahead of Sweden's Teodor Peterson in a men's final which saw three skiers fall - one of whom, another Swede, Emil Joensson, scrambled back to his feet to take bronze.

Falla was a surprise winner of the women's race ahead of compatriot Ingvild Flugstad with Slovenia's Vesnar Fabjan taking bronze.

Marit Bjoergen, who had already taken gold on the women's skiathlon on Saturday, failed to add to her medal tally as she was surprisingly knocked out in the semi-finals.

Darya Domracheva stormed through the field to claim the Winter Olympics 10km biathlon pursuit gold medal.

The 27-year-old Belarussian overhauled a 32-second disadvantage on the start-line to romp home 37.6 seconds ahead of World Cup leader Tora Berger from Norway.

Slovenian Teja Gregorin finished in bronze medal position, 42 seconds behind Domracheva.

Natalie Geisenberger blew apart the field to claim the women's luge title at the Sanki Sliding Center.

The 26-year-old German finished 1.139 seconds ahead of compatriot Tatjana Huefner, who took silver.

American Erin Hamlin became the first woman from North America to win an individual medal in the women's luge, picking up the bronze medal.

Dara Howell was in a class of her own as she won the gold medal in the first ever Winter Olympics ski slopestyle event in Sochi.

The Canadian topped the standings in qualifying before laying down a brilliant marker in the final with a score of 94.20.

Down in the Adler Arena, Lee Sang-hwa successfully defended her 500m speed skating title in a new Olympic record.

The 24-year-old Korean produce a blistering display, breaking the track record in both her races to finish 0.36 seconds ahead of Russia's Olga Fatkulina, while Margot Boer completed the podium to claim the first ever medal in the event for a Dutchwoman.

In the pairs figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace Russian pair Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov led the way after day one courtesy of a short programme record score of 84.17.

German duo Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, skating to the Pink Panther theme music, skated impressively to a season's best of 79.64 to take them into second place.

Third qualifying place went to the host nation as Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov had the crowd on their feet with a terrific performance which earned them 75.21.

Sweden's world champion men's curling team made it three wins from their opening three round-robin fixtures with a 7-6 victory over Vancouver 2010 gold-medallists Canada.

China and Norway are also unbeaten, with both having played two matches each, after defeating the United States 9-4 and Russia 9-8 respectively. Great Britain have won two out of three after they saw off Germany 7-6.

Switzerland lead the way in the women's competition, with victories against Denmark (7-6) and South Korea (8-6) giving them a 100 per cent record after three matches.

Canada are also undefeated following a 9-3 triumph over reigning Olympic champions Sweden while Russia got a second win under their belts by beating the United States 9-7, but then suffered a 7-5 loss to China.

Great Britain then set a new Olympic record in their 12-3 defeat of the US. GB's fourth-end tally of seven was the most points scored by either a men's or women's rink in a single end since curling, in its current format, was introduced to the Games programme in 1998.

Sweden produced a controlled display to see off Germany 4-0 in Group B of the women's ice hockey preliminary round, while Tuesday's other game saw Russia scrape past Japan with a 2-1 win to book their place in the quarter-finals.

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