American-born Vic Wild won a second gold medal for Russia at the Sochi Games as when stormed to victory in the men’s parallel slalom final to become the first snowboarder to win two titles at a single Olympics.
Austrian Julia Dujmovits won the gold medal in the women’s final on the event’s Olympic debut but it was Wild’s second goldfor his adopted country after his giant slalom triumph on Wednesday that brought Extreme Park crowd to its feet.
Wild had looked down and out in the semi-finals but staged a remarkable second run comeback to reach the final, where he edged giant slalom bronze medallist Zan Kosir in a thriller.
The silver and bronze in the women’s event went to Germany’s Anke Karstens and Amelie Kober, the latter winning the “small” final despite riding with a badly injured arm.
Earlier in the day Marit Bjoergen claimed a record-equalling sixth Winter Olympics gold medal when she led a Norwegian sweep in the cross country 30km freestyle event.
Bjoergen, the first Norwegian woman to win a 30km event at the Games, pulled ahead of Therese Johaug with a late burst of acceleration, while Kristin Stoermer Steira took the bronze.
Norway’s supreme skiing
After 10km, Johaug, Steira and Bjoergen split from the field and never looked back, with pre-race favourite Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland retiring midway through the race.
Bjoergen joins speed skater Lidia Skoblikova (former USSR) and cross-country skier Lyobov Yegorova (United Team and Russia) as the women with the most Winter Olympics gold medals.
Bjoergen, who also won the skiathlon and the team sprint in Sochi, is also tied with Italian Stefania Belmondo and Russian Raisa Smetanina as the women with most Winter Games medals in cross-country skiing with 10.
Even before Kowalczyk abandoned the race the leading trio were already long gone and gradually increased the gap.
Steira missed her bottle at the feed zone and ran out of juice in the end, while Johaug pulled Bjoergen in the last kilometre, giving the “Iron Lady” the edge for the sprint finish.
Netherlands rule the ice
If it was Norway’s day in the cross-country, it was a Dutch day on the ice.
The Netherlands men won the team pursuit speed skating title in an Olympic record time at the Adler Arena shortly before the Dutch women set an Olympic record in their team pursuit race.
In the men’s race South Korea lost to the Dutch in the final and took silver with Poland claiming bronze.
The trio of Sven Kramer, Jan Blokhuijsen and Koen Verweij traded the lead with the Koreans in the opening stages before pulling away to win the eight lap race in three minutes 37.71 seconds, three seconds ahead.
Poland edged defending champions Canada in the bronze medal race.
In the women’s race Poland lost to the Dutch in the final and took silver with Russia claiming bronze.
The Dutch set off at a blistering pace and were over a second up on the Poles after the first of six laps, eventually crossing the line in two minutes 58.05 seconds.
Home fans were left thrilled as Russia downed Japan to take the bronze.
Austria skiing gold
Austria’s Mario Matt won the men’s slalom gold medal in a combined time of one minute 41.84 seconds.
Team mate Marcel Hirscher was second, 0.28 seconds back, with the bronze medal going to Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen.