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Norway scoop more gold as Maze shines
 
 
 
Norway scoop more gold as Maze shines

SOCHI - Snowboarders and skiers raced through fog and rain at the Winter Olympics on Tuesday, as Norway continued their impressive Games with two more golds and short track speed skating produced more of its usual controversies. After two days of delays and postponements organisers will have been delighted to get back on schedule as Frenchman Pierre Vaultier won the men's snowboard cross in a race originally due to be run on Sunday.
Tina Maze won her second gold medal, in the giant slalom, and this time did not have to share it, while Norway's Emil Hegle Svendsen claimed his third Olympic title and denied France's Martin Fourcade a golden Sochi hat-trick in a photo finish to the 15km biathlon mass start on Tuesday.
There was a second gold for Norway in the Nordic Combined large hill thanks to Joergen Graabak, while South Korea triumphed in the women's short track 3,000m relay, where China crossed the line second but were disqualified.
Up in the mountains, having had to wait two days for their moment in the spotlight, the snowboard cross men produced their usual exciting racing. However, medical staff were again in action as Italian athlete Omar Visintin was carried off on a stretcher, the latest in a series in injuries at the Extreme Park. In a close final Vaultier edged out Russian Nikolay Olyunin.
It was even tighter in the men's biathlon as Svendsen and Fourcade reached the final straight together. The Norwegian seemed home and dry when he pulled away in the sprint for home but almost paid the price for a premature celebration as Fourcade thrust a ski forward at the line.
Svendsen, who had disappointed in the first three races here, was awarded the victory after a photo finish, giving him a third gold after his 20km individual and relay success four years ago. Graabak made it another good day for Norway when, despite finishing sixth on the ski jump section, made up a 42 second deficit in the 10km cross country section to pip compatriot Magnus Moan.
In the women's giant slalom, Maze, who shared downhill gold with Swiss Dominique Gisin, was alone on top of the podium on Tuesday after making the most of starting first in slippery conditions in the first run. But it came down to hundredths of seconds in the end, as she just edged out Anna Fenninger of Austria. Ninety skiers were on the start list for a race that traditionally includes athletes from many non-Alpine nations.
In the short track speed skating, South Korea went some way to making amends for 2010 - when they were disqualified after finishing first - by taking gold and keeping it. Shim Suk-hee brought them home and said: "Even though I did not take part in the Vancouver Olympics ... when I crossed the line I thought of that moment four years ago when my country was disqualified." China inherited the gold that time, but it was their turn to fall foul of the judges on Tuesday in a sport where disqualifications are commonplace. Canada were promoted to silver - matching their performance on home ice four years ago - with Italy winning bronze.
Dutch speed skater Jorrit Bergsma took gold in the men's 10,000m to seal the Netherlands' fourth podium sweep at the Sochi Olympics. Bergsma crossed the line in a new Olympic record time of 12min 44.45sec, ahead of Sven Kramer (12:49.02) and Bob de Jong (13:07.19)
World champion David Wise of the United States added Olympic gold to his trophy collection with victory in the ski halfpipe. In awful weather, with heavy snow falling all around, Wise scored 92.00 points to head a podium made up entirely of world champions. Canadian Mike Riddle (90.60), the man Wise deposed as world champion, took silver with the man he succeeded, Kevin Rolland (88.60) of France earning the bronze. Germany lead the medals table with eight golds, one more than Norway while the Netherlands and United States were on third with six golds. Russia, Switzerland and, surprisingly, Belarus, all have five.

 
 
on epaper page 16
 
 
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