Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics — Day 11 review

By Paul Hurst
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (Photo: Caroline Paré)

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir brought the Ice Dance gold home to Canada for the first time last night.

Skating to Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, the pair were faultless en route to a Free Dance score of 110.42. They led going into the final segment, but knew they would have to execute perfectly. American couple Meryl Davis and Charlie White, dancing to The Phantom Of The Opera, had already posted a score of 107.19, to put the pressure on the Canadians.

The two couples regularly train together, so both knew what it would take to beat one another, but on this night in Vancouver it was Virtue and Moir who had that little bit extra in them.

That they both finished above the Russian couple of Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin speaks volumes about how far Ice Dance has progressed in North America. The Ice Dance, along with the other Figure Skating disciplines, has long been a staple of the Russian/Soviet Olympic programme.

However, so far this year the Russians are without a single Figure Skating gold, and looked a long way from matching their North American rivals in the Pacific Coliseum last night.

Virtue and Moir stoked wild celebrations in the crowd following the confirmation of their victory, and then promised there is more to come. Aged 20 and 22, the pair still have a lot more in them, and once the celebration is over, will set their sights on Sochi in 2014.

Britain’s young pairing of Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland finished in 20th, whilst Sinead and John Kerr finished in 8th position, in their final Olympic performance,.

Austria cruised to a repeat of their victory in Torino in the Team Ski Jump competition. They led after the first round of jumping, and increased that lead in the final round, capped by an enormous 146.5m leap from Gregor Schlierenzauer.

The 20-year-old claimed his third medal of the Games, after winning bronze in both individual events. They finished comfortably ahead of German team in second, with Norway taking the bronze.

Just across the Whistler Olympic Park, the Men’s and Ladies’ Cross Country Team Sprint events took place. The Ladies’ event was won by Germany, who finished just 0.6 seconds ahead of Sweden, Charlotte Kalla just missing out on her second gold of the Games. Russia took the bronze.

The Men’s event was an exciting affair, with the victory going to Norway. The Norwegians looked like they might miss out on the medals completely for a while, but a storming finish from Petter Northug gave them the gold.

He sped past Germany’s Axel Teichmann as they entered the final corner, and never looked back. The German managed to hold off Russia’s Alexey Petukhov to hold on to the silver by 0.2 seconds.

Britain’s women slumped to a fourth straight defeat in the Curling, leaving them on the brink of elimination from the tournament.

19-year-old skipper Eve Muirhead almost pulled off a miracle with the last shot of the match, but could only clear three of the four Danish stones needed to give GB the victory. Denmark came out on top with a 9-8 victory.

The British men fared better though, beating Germany 8-2. A victory against Norway on Tuesday will now assure them of a place in the semi-final stage.

Canada will face off against the USA in the final of the Women’s Ice Hockey tournament, as both breezed through their semi-final matches. The Americans dispatched Sweden 9-1, whilst the hosts comfortably shut-out Finland 5-0.

Tuesday’s highlights include the Men’s Giant Slalom at Whistler Creekside, where Bode Miller will make a bid to win his fourth medal of these Games. Also in Whistler, along with Womens’ Biathlon, the Nordic Combined Team event will be taking place at the Olympic Park.

Britain’s women must win their final match of the round robin in the Curling, and then hope a number of other results go their way, or they are out. They play Canada in the morning session, starting at 9am (5pm UK).

There promises to be plenty of action on Cypress Mountain, as the Ladies’ Ski Cross will be decided, but for the host nation, all eyes will be on Canada Hockey Place. Their men must beat Germany or they are out of the competition in what would undoubtedly be the biggest shock of the Games. Face-off is at 4.30pm (12.30am UK)


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