(MENAFN -Arab News) SOCHI: Belarus’ Darya Domracheva put in a phenomenal skiing performance Friday to win her second biathlon gold of the Sochi Olympics and become the first person from the ex-Soviet state to win multiple Winter Games golds.
Domracheva, who already clinched the pursuit gold this week, was simply in a class of her own in the women’s 15 km individual at the Laura biathlon center.
She was penalized for one missed target in her first standing shoot but was simply too fast on skis for her opponents to get near.
The Belarussian, 27, known as “Dasha” to her friends, finished in 43min 19.6sec, 1min 15.7sec ahead of her nearest rival Selina Gasparin of Switzerland who took a surprise silver and shot clear.
Fellow Belarussian Nadezhda Skardino, who was born in Russia but switched allegiance to Belarus, took bronze in 44min 57.8sec.
Home favorite Olga Zaitseva thrilled the crowd with a strong early performance but two missed targets buried her hopes and she finished 15th.
Domracheva’s victory makes her the first Belarussian athlete ever to win more than one gold medal at Winter Games.
Swiss outsider Sandro Viletta won men’s super combined Olympic gold as the big Alpine ski stars failed to fire while soaring temperatures sent organizers scrambling to re-jig training schedules.
World champion Ted Ligety could only finish 12th while French tyro Alexis Pinturault crashed out of the afternoon slalom when well-placed on the mountain course at Rosa Khutor.
As temperatures nudged 14 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit), Viletta, 14th after the morning downhill, swept down the increasingly slushy course to post a winning time of 2min 45.20sec.
Croatian veteran Ivica Kostelic (2:45.54) won his third consecutive Olympic silver in the event while Italy’s Christof Innerhofer won bronze to add to his silver in the downhill.
Victory for Viletta — who has not had a single World Cup podium finish in the event — came just two days after compatriot Dominique Gisin won a shock gold in the women’s downhill.
“This is amazing. It’s perfect. It’s also a big shock. I didn’t think I would come first. I’m so happy,” said the 28-year-old Swiss.
The spring-like weather was so warm that cross-country skiers had to strip down to stay cool — some wearing short-sleeves and even shorts.
Organizers brought forward the start time of the morning downhill element of the super-combined while a series of freestyle skiing training sessions were later canceled.
Officials have expressed confidence that there is more than enough snow in place and the warm weather should not impact the race timetable at the Sochi Games.
Down in the Olympic Park on the Black Sea coast, the men’s figure skating competition gold will be decided on Friday — without Russian veteran Yevgeny Plushenko, who withdrew injured on Thursday before calling time on his illustrious career.
Japanese star Yuzuru Hanyu put himself in pole position for gold after setting a new world record score in the men’s short program on Thursday to open up a 3.93-point lead over three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Canada.
In other medal action on Friday, Switzerland’s Dario Cologna won his second gold of the Games with a dominant performance in the men’s 15km Nordic skiing classic.
Belarus’ Darya Domracheva put in a phenomenal display to win her second biathlon gold of the Sochi Olympics in the women’s 15 km individual.
A strong Chinese team headed by Li Nina could dominate the women’s freestyle aerials, although defending champion Lydia Lassila of Australia will have her sights set on a second triumph.
Britain’s Lizzy Yarnold is the hot favorite to succeed retired compatriot Amy Williams as women’s skeleton champion and medals are also up for grabs in the women’s 15km biathlon.
Sochi Games organizers said a bobsleigh track worker injured when a sled smashed into him on Thursday is in a stable condition after an operation, emphasising that the track was not to blame.
The Russian icemaker was hit by the forerunner bob which is used to clear and test the track.
The accident came four years after the death of 21-year-old Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili in a crash during a training descent at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.