Mayer stunned by downhill gold

Andover Advertiser: Matthias Mayer claimed gold in the men's downhill in Sochi (AP) Matthias Mayer claimed gold in the men's downhill in Sochi (AP)

Austrian Matthias Mayer rose to the occasion as he swept to the men's downhill gold medal in the mountains above Rosa Khutor on Sunday, banishing the memories of his nation's dismal alpine performance from the previous Winter Olympic Games.

The 23-year-old, who had never previously finished in the top five of a downhill World Cup race, finished in a time of two minutes 06.23 seconds, just ahead of Italy's Christof Innerhofer, with Kjetil Jansrud of Norway taking bronze.

Norwegian World Cup leader Aksel Lund Svindal was fourth, while American veteran Bode Miller, who had dominated two of the three official training runs, trailed in in eighth place.

The Austrian men's ski team was heavily criticised after failing to win a single medal in Vancouver, but have enjoyed a recent improvement in form after Hannes Reichelt won the recent World Cup downhill at Kitzbuhel.

Mayer, whose father Helmut won a silver medal in the Super G at the 1988 Calgary Olympics, said: "This year we were criticised quite a bit. Two weeks ago, Hannes won the most important World Cup race on the calendar. Now we have an Olympic medal. Now we can put the criticism aside.

"It wasn't until I got on the podium that I realised I was the Olympic champion. It's unbelievable. I've only dreamed of this, and now my dreams have come true."

Fifteen-year-old Yulia Lipnitskaya stole the show as host nation Russia won their first gold in the figure skating team event at the Iceberg Skating Palace.

Russia had gone into day three of the event in pole position, which was strengthened by another marvellous performance by former Olympic champion Evgeny Plyushchenko, who won his free skating category with a score of 168.20.

The crowd then roared on Lipnitskaya, who, with a grace and confidence which belied her youth, won the women's free skate section with a season's best tally of 141.51.

Russian pair Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov were knocked down to third place in the ice dance free section with American pair Charlie White and Meryl Davis winning it, but the arena exploded in patriotic joy when Russia's gold was confirmed.

Anastasiya Kuzmina became the first person to defend the women's 7.5km biathlon sprint title with a stunning performance at the Laura Cross Country Centre.

The Slovakian completed a clean round as she crossed the line in a time of 21 minutes 6.8 seconds to finish just under 20 seconds clear of Olga Vilukhina of Russia (21:26.7) and Ukraine's Vita Semerenko (21:28.5).

Switzerland's Dario Cologna came through in a tense sprint finish to win the men's 15km skiathlon title at the same venue.

Cologna burst past Sweden's Marcus Hellner on the final incline to take his second Olympic gold medal after winning the 15km freestyle title in Vancouver four years ago.

Irene Wust won the women's 3000 metres speed skating gold medal in front of a healthy Orange contingent within the Adler Arena Skating Center in Sochi

The 27-year-old flew to victory with a time of four minutes 0.34 seconds, finishing ahead of the Czech Republic's Martina Sablikova (4:01.95) and Russia's Olga Graf (4:03.47) - much to the delight of the home crowd.

World Cup leader Kamil Stoch produced a sensational leap of 103.5 metres to land gold in the men's normal hill individual ski jumping at the RusSki Gorki Center.

The 26-year-old Pole carried a seven-point lead from the first jump into the final and extended his advantage to claim the title by 12.7 points over Slovenia's Petr Prevc with a total of 278.0 points.

Anders Bardal of Norway rounded out the podium with a total of 264.1 points.

Felix Loch wrapped up a successful defence of his Olympic luge title, powering to victory at Sanki Sliding Center.

The 24-year-old German began the evening's action in pole position for the gold medal, having moved into top spot during Saturday's two runs, the second of which had seen him set a new course record of 51.964 seconds.

He proceeded by lowering the record even further in his third run, posting a time of 51.613secs, and his fourth and final effort then came in at 51.764s, giving him an aggregate time of 3:27.526 - 0.476s ahead of Russian silver medallist Albert Demchenko and 1.271s clear of Italy's Armin Zoeggeler, who took bronze.

Jamie Anderson stormed to gold in the Games' first ever snowboard slopestyle event.

The American produced a superb final run that earned her a score of 95.25, with Finland's Enni Rukajarvi (92.50) winning silver and Jenny Jones (87.25) claiming a historic bronze for Great Britain.

Qualifying continued in the women's ice hockey, where host nation Russia came from behind to beat Germany 4-1 and Sweden edged out Japan 1-0.

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