Sat, Feb 22, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Canada make free skiing clean sweep

DRAMA ON ICE:The figure skating gold won by Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova over South Korean champion Kim Yu-na caused an avalanche of fury over the judges’ scoring

AP and AFP, KRASNAYA POLYANA and SOCHI, Russia

Canada’s second-placed Kelsey Serwa, left, and winner Marielle Thompson, center, celebrate with Sweden’s third-placed Anna Holmlund during a flower ceremony after the women’s free ski cross finals yesterday at the Winter Olympics in Rosa Khutor, Russia.

Photo: Reuters

Marielle Thompson and Kelsey Serwa won gold and silver for Canada in women’s ski cross yesterday, giving their country bookend gold-silver performances in Olympic freestyle skiing.

Freestyle opened on Feb. 8 with sisters Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe of Montreal finishing 1-2 in moguls.

In between, Canada sent two people to the podium twice — in men’s moguls and women’s slopestyle — and also had the men’s silver medalist in the halfpipe.

This marked Thompson’s third and biggest win of the season. Serwa is a regular on World Cup podiums herself.

The final pitted the four fastest women in qualifying. Thompson, ranked third, took an early lead against the first-ranked Serwa and never let it slip.

Ophelie David of France wiped out about two-thirds of the way down the course, which gave the bronze to Sweden’s Anna Holmlund.

Meanwhile, simmering controversy over the figure skating gold won by Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova on Thursday threatened to overshadow the Olympics yesterday as Canada geared up for a blockbuster men’s ice hockey semi-final against the US last night.

Sotnikova, 17, dethroned South Korea’s Vancouver 2010 champion Kim Yu-na, with Italy’s Carolina Kostner taking bronze after the free skating final at the Iceberg Skating Palace.

However, the judges’ scoring was immediately the talking point.

Despite an error when she two-footed a double loop in her combination jump, Sotnikova improved her free skate score by a huge 18 points from her previous best a month ago at the Europeans.

The delighted gold medalist batted away questions about the judging in the glowing aftermath of her triumph.

“Any questions are for the judges, not for me. I did my job. I gave a gift to Russia,” the skater from Moscow said.

Kim, 23, who confirmed she was retiring from competition after a glittering career, also refused to be drawn into the swirling debate about the scoring, saying “there is nothing that will change with my words.”

Kim skated last, shortly before 4am Korean time, and Korean TV commentators voiced surprise verging on shock at the final result, with suggestions that the judges may have been swayed by the partisan Russian crowd.

Within hours, the Web site of the popular online campaigning forum Change.org crashed as hundreds of thousands logged on to sign a petition calling for a review of the judges’ scores.

CURLING

Reuters, SOCHI, Russia

World champions Sweden beat China 6-4 in a dramatic extra end to take the bronze medal in the men’s Olympic curling tournament yesterday.

Chinese skip Liu Rui had the chance to win the game, but his last stone was off target in the extra end after the teams had been tied 4-4 after the regulation 10 ends.

It was a first men’s curling medal for Sweden since the sport returned to the Olympic program in 1998.

Canada were to play Great Britain in the gold medal match later yesterday.

WOMEN’S ICE HOCKEY

Reuters, SOCHI, Russia

Canada won their fourth consecutive Olympic women’s ice hockey gold medal with a wild 3-2 overtime win over the US on Thursday.

Trailing by two goals with less than four minutes to play in regulation, Canada scored twice, including one with 55 seconds to play, before going on to win on Marie-Philip Poulin’s goal eight minutes into the sudden-death overtime period.

The win capped an undefeated run in Sochi for a Canadian team that have won four of the five gold medals awarded since women’s ice hockey made its debut at the 1998 Nagano Games.

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