Snowboarder Ricker bags home gold

Maelle Ricker doubles Canada's gold medal tally as Alpine schedule delayed by weather.

    Ricker brings home the gold for Canada on a rain-drenched Cypress Mountain [GALLO/GETTY]

    Snowboarder Maelle Ricker secured Canada's second Olympic gold medal as she cruised to victory in the snowboard cross at Cypress Mountain.

    The gold was the first for Canada's women on home soil and was particularly welcome after a disappointing loss in the men's snowboard cross – American Seth Wescott powered past local rider Mike Robertson in the final metres to rob him of gold.

    Ricker's win on the hills above her native Vancouver was sweet revenge for her compatriot.

    "I'm so overwhelmed, I can't even believe it," Ricker said after winning before a wildly happy Canadian crowd.

    "The way my day started ... and the way it all went through."

    Jacobellis disqualified

    Ricker had fallen in her opening qualifier but took the opportunity on her second run to progress.

    It helped that her main rival Lindsey Jacobellis, the American who cost herself a gold medal at Turin four years ago when she tried to show off near the end, was disqualified in the semi-finals.

    More than a dozen women snowboarders' careened off a course likened to "mashed potatoes" by Jacobellis, a reflection on the poor weather conditions.

    The start of qualifying was delayed because of rain and fog, and spectators who bought tickets for her event did not get to see Ricker, with organisers having to close a standing area at Cypress Mountain because it became too dangerous due to a lack of snow required to pack down a temporary platform.

    Organisers have pledged to refund a total of 28,000 tickets at the freestyle skiing venue, at a cost of $1.44 million.

    Too much snow at the Olympic venue Whistler overnight continued to play havoc with the Alpine schedule, with the men's super-combined postponed and the women's downhill training cancelled.

    Only one race - the men's downhill - has been completed, but organisers assured that there would be plenty of time in the schedule to accommodate all events.

    At the luge track, where the training death of a Georgian slider overshadowed last Friday's Olympics opening ceremony, Tatjana Huefner's victory gave Germany their ninth women's gold medal in 13 Olympic competitions.

    Huefner's win also gave Germany a sweep of singles luge gold, after Felix Loch won the men's event.

    South Korea's Lee Sang-Hwa celebrates her gold in the speed skating 500m [GALLO/GETTY]
    South Korean gold

    In women's speed skating 500 metres, South Korea's Lee Sang-hwa edged out world champion Jenny Wolf of Germany.

    Germany now have three gold medals, equal with South Korea and Switzerland, and one clear of Canada, France, Sweden and the United States.

    Indoor events will come more heavily into focus in Vancouver now that men's hockey – the national obsession - and curling have started.

    The hockey team opened with an 8-0 win over Norway, while Russia defeated
    Latvia 8-2, and the United States beat Switzerland 3-1.

    The Canadian men's curlers held off a Norwegian team 7-6, with team captain Kevin Martin sealing the win with the last stone in the extra end.

    Martin again starred in an easy second win for Canada, with a three-point shot in the 9-4 defeat of Germany.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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