Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics — Day five review

By Paul Hurst

vancouver winter olympics

On day five, the hosts locked up their second gold of the Games, with victory in the Ladies’ Snowboard Cross up on Cypress Mountain.

Maelle Ricker had perhaps the shortest journey of any gold medallist so far this year, hailing from Whistler, just a short journey up the Sea-To-Sky Highway. After winning her quarter-final, she was drawn in a semi-final with the favourite Lindsey Jacobellis of the USA.

Jacobellis is perhaps best remembered for her mishap in this event in Turin four years ago. With a huge lead and cruising to victory, going over the penultimate jump she showboated, grabbing her board in the air and fell on landing, blowing a certain gold medal.

This year, Jacobellis failed to even reach the final. Early in her semi, she lost control over a jump and crashed out. Ricker went on to win that race comfortably, putting her into the Big Final. That final itself was perhaps even easier work for her, as she cruised to the gold, ahead of France’s Deborah Anthonioz and Olivia Nobs of Switzerland.

Britain’s Zoe Gillings reached the semi-final stage, but could only finish third in her race. She went into the Small Final, but was unable to finish the course after injuring her knee. She finished eighth overall.

Canada’s men got off to a good start in the Ice Hockey, crushing Norway 8-0 at Canada Hockey Place. The USA also started off with a win earlier in the day, defeating the Swiss 3-1.

In the other main team sport, the Curling events for men and women both got underway. Britain’s men played in the first game of the tournament, and were handed a surprise 6-4 defeat at the hands of Sweden. Tuesday ended up being an excellent day for Germany, who picked up four medals in total, including two gold.

Magdalena Neuner took the first medal of the day, winning gold in the Women’s Biathlon 10km Pursuit. She came in just ahead of Slovakia’s Anastazia Kuzmina, who picked up her second medal of the Games, after winning the gold medal in the 7.5km Sprint event on Sunday.

In the Mens’ Pursuit event, slightly longer at 12.5km, Sweden’s Bjorn Ferry took gold. France’s Vincent Jay looked good for a second gold in three days, after winning the 10km Sprint. He led the entire race until the final shoot, where a missed target cost him a penalty loop. Jay was passed by Ferry, and Austria’s Christoph Sumann, but managed to hold on for the bronze.

At the Whistler Olympic Park, the women’s Luge finished in similar fashion to the mens’ event, with the Germans winning two of the three medals. Tatjana Huefner took the gold, winning by a huge margin of almost half a second. Her team-mate Natalie Geisenberger claimed the bronze. Austria’s Nina Reithmayer was a surprise winner of the silver.

Minutes later, back down in Richmond, Germany claimed their fourth medal of the day, getting the silver in the Ladies’ 500m Speed Skating. Jenny Wolf finished just 0.05 seconds behind winner Sang-Hwa Lee of South Korea.

Wednesday’s action gets underway at 9am local time, with the second session of the women’s Curling. The British team, fancied for a medal, start their campaign against China. Weather permitting, the first medals of the day should be awarded in the already delayed Ladies’ Downhill at the Whistler Creekside course.

There will also be medals on day six in Cross-Country Skiing, Speed Skating and Luge Doubles. Britain’s men will be hoping to avenge their defeat in yesterday’s Curling, by beating France in their second match.

In what promises to be the most exciting event of the day, the Men’s Snowboard Half-Pipe will be take place throughout the day. American Shaun White is the biggest name in the sport, and is favourite to successfully defend his gold medal from Torino. However, there are a number of worthy contenders who will be pulling out all of their best tricks to try and beat him.

The Half-Pipe action gets underway at 1.05pm (9.05pm UK) at Cypress Mountain, with the final expected at about 7.15pm (3.15am UK).


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