Canada surge up Olympic medal table

Canada's Charles Hamelin wins the 1,500m short track ice-skating gold as Maria Hoefl-Riesch claims super-combined.

    Charles Hamelin celebrates after winning the gold medal in the Men's Short Track 1500 m Final [AFP]
    Charles Hamelin celebrates after winning the gold medal in the Men's Short Track 1500 m Final [AFP]

    Charles Hamelin of Canada won the 1,500-meter short track gold medal, raising his arms in triumph after crossing the finish line at the Iceberg Skating Palace.

    Han Tianyu of China took silver and Viktor Ahn earned the bronze, giving Russia its first-ever short track medal.

    Elsewhere, Maria Hoefl-Riesch proved she is still the world's best all-round woman skier when she

    Sochi 2014 medals (top 3)
    Country  G   S   B  Total
    Canada  2  2  1  5
    Norway  2  1  4 7
    Netherlands  2  0  3 5

    retained her Olympic super combined title with a thrilling surge in the slalom.

    Only fifth following the earlier downhill section, the German laid down a tremendous run through the 59 tricky gates on the Rosa Khutor course to win with a combined time of 2:34.62.

    Julia Mancuso, who was second to Hoefl-Riesch in Vancouver four years ago, had set the pace in the downhill section, building a one-second advantage over the tall German.

    However, despite a battling effort on her less favoured slalom discipline the American leaked time and ended up third, with Austrian Nicole Hosp moving through the field to take silver.

    Swiss Lara Gut, second after the downhill, was one of nine skiers who failed to reach the bottom of a testing slalom course  that became bumpy in the mild conditions.

    With a brass band pumping up the atmosphere at the mountain venue, Hoefl-Riesch bombed out of the starting gate for the slalom and produced a near perfect descent to capture the first women's gold of the Alpine skiing programme at the Sochi Games.

    Despite failing to hold her halfway lead, former Olympic giant slalom champion Mancuso looked delighted to cling to a podium spot, 0.10 seconds ahead of Slovenian all-rounder Tina Maze, warmly embracing Hoefl-Riesch in the finish area.

    "It wasn't good," Maze told reporters. "I was trying to find the right feeling and I didn't manage it."

    Her next chance will come in Wednesday's downhill where World Cup leader Hoefl-Reisch will again start as favourite and will have the chance to equal Croatian Janica Kostelic's record for Olympic Alpine skiing gold medals.

    US smash Switzerland

    Monique Lamoureux, Brianna Decker and Amanda Kessel all scored within 55 seconds in the first period as the United States romped to a 9-0 victory over Switzerland to all-but clinch a spot in the women's hockey semifinals.

    It was the quickest three-goal sequence in Olympic history, with the latter two coming just eight seconds apart.

    Kessel, Lamoureux and Kendall Coyne all scored twice for the Americans, and Molly Schaus made 10 saves in her Sochi debut.

    At 2-0, the U.S. is in position for a spot in the medal round regardless of what happens on Wednesday in the game against Canada, the marquee matchup of the round-robin.

    Canada was scheduled to play Finland on Monday night in its last tuneup before the North American grudge match.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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