Switzerland’s Dominique Gisin and Slovenia’s Tina Maze tied for women’s downhill gold in a first for Olympic Alpine skiing.
There was barely a snowflake between the two after 2,713 metres down the gleaming Rosa Khutor slope, with the timing system showing both had clocked one minute, 41.57 seconds.
“I made everything to achieve that great race today, but it’s crazy,” said Gisin, lost in amazement.
“Maybe all the problems and setbacks I had to face in my career have contributed to make me skiing so fast today. I attacked hard from top to bottom,” added the 28-year-old, who has had her share of injuries over the years.
|Sochi 2014 Medals (Top 3)|
Of the winners, Maze – redeeming a relatively poor season by becoming the first Slovenian to win Olympic gold – was the one who let outright success slip from her grasp in the final metres of the glistening Rosa Khutor slope.
Although she and Gisin were united on the podium, last year’s runaway overall World Cup winner was ahead of the Swiss on the split times until the finish.
Like clockwork for orange skaters
Elsewhere, Stefan Groothuis was as surprised as anyone after continuing the golden speed skating run of the Dutch by winning the men’s 1,000 metres title, as Shani Davis’s bid for a rare Olympic hat-trick fell way short.
Groothuis tripped in his 500m heat on Monday but his strides were perfect in his pet race on Wednesday as he clocked one minute 8.39 seconds for his two-and-a-half laps in the 16th heat of 20 at the Adler Arena.
He then watched on from the side of the ice as one-by-one the final eight challenges fell short, with American pre-race favourite Davis surprisingly eighth.
“It was really unexpected. The last two Olympics weren’t my favourite thing, and I was happy to go home, but now it’s different,” Groothuis said.
|Tobias Artl and Tobias Wendl kept up Germany’s winning habit in the luge [Reuters]|
The victory meant a fourth speed skating gold in five events for the Dutch, who have 10 medals in total in Sochi – all from speed skating.
Germany’s “Bayern Express” of Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt lived up to their nickname by powering to a first Olympic doubles gold on Wednesday, denying Austrian brothers Andreas and Wolfgang Linger a hat-trick of titles.
The duo continued Germany’s gold rush in luge, following up Felix Loch and Natalie Geisenberger’s victories in the men’s and women’s singles.
Germany can make it a clean sweep of luge gold at these Games if they win the inaugural team relay on Thursday.
Earlier, Germany’s Eric Frenzel won the men’s Olympic Nordic Combined normal hill, landing the longest jump of the day and then beating Japan’s Akito Watabe to the line on the cross-country track.
The German and Japanese athletes shadowed each other along the length of the 10 km course before the 26-year-old world number one made his move with about 300m to go, pulling away to finish in a time of 23 minutes, 50.2 seconds.
Watabe was 4.2 seconds behind in second and Magnus Krog of Norway, who started the cross-country section more than a minute behind Frenzel, skied magnificently to win the bronze.
American Kaitlyn Farrington beat three former champions to win the Olympic goldmedal in the women’s snowboarding halfpipe.
The 24-year-old scored 91.75 on her second run to claim the title ahead of Australia’s defending champion Torah Bright, who scored 91.50, and 2002 champion Kelly Clark of the United States, who was awarded 90.75 for the final run of the night.