The Sochi Network

Sochi Summary Day 10: Style v Substance in Ice Dance

HOT TOPIC

Style v Substance in Ice Dance

It has been 30 years since Torvill and Dean performed the Bolero and the sport has changed considerably since.

The judging system has been overhauled since a scandal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics when French judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne confessed to, then denied, scoring the pairs contest according to her federation president's dictum. As a result of the scandal, the old 6.0 scoring system was axed and replaced by an accumulative points system.

Skaters are now given a 'grade of execution' score depending on how well an element is performed. The skaters are also judged on five elements - choreography, skating skills, transition, execution, and interpretation.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White produced a faultless performance to become the first American Olympic champions in ice dance. They were technically sound, dynamic, quick, consistent and in control.

No-one was arguing they did not deserve their victory but, as Robin Cousins stated, watching the US pair creates a 'different emotional connection' than the Vancouver champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir who had to settle for silver this time.

You are lost in the performance when watching the Canadians who produced a beautiful routine with a more classical style and romantic approach. But the judges have signalled a changing of the guard at these Games.

It seems now that athletes more than aesthetics is pivotal in ice dance.

GOOD DAY

Ivar Michal Ulekleiv - With all the furore back in Norway about their Cross Country relay disasters due to bad waxing, it is ironic that it is one of their own who has powered Darya Domracheva to treble gold in Sochi. Domracheva became the fifth woman in Winter Olympics history to win at least three gold medals in individual events in a single Games as she claimed the 12.5km mass start. Ulekleiv revealed that he makes his own ointment with a pestle and mortar and has used the same recipe for 20 years. Ulekleiv explained the reasons for leaving his homeland: "It was the only offer I had. Now I will get a small bonus.”

Alexander Zubkov/Alexey Voevoda - Russia continued their fantastic run at the Sanki Sliding Centre with gold in the two-man bobsleigh. Zubkov won a silver in the four-man in Turin in 2006, and then after securing a bronze in the two-man in 2010 announced his retirement. But he was coaxed back and the 39-year-old had the honour of bearing the Russian flag into the opening ceremony before winning Russia's first ever gold in this event. However it is unlikely they will be celebrating together tonight, the pair do not get along in the slightest. It is probably not best to challenge Voevoda over a drink either, he has won multiple Russian arm wrestling championships.

David Morris - A rags to riches story saw the Australian upset more favoured Chinese Freestyle Skiers to take silver in the aerials. For two-and-a-half years, he received no money from the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia who only funded a women's team. He trained with other teams, borrowed their equipment and stayed on their sofas and in their garages. His performances finally gained their attention and he saw some dollars. Morris kept to his usual routine of not training the day before a big event, choosing to relax as others went through their paces on Sunday and it paid off as he produced a massive improvement on his 13th in Vancouver.

BAD DAY

Organisers - The organising committee were helpless against a winter fog that caused several events to be postponed or rearranged. The men's biathlon 15km mass start was called off for a second straight day due to thick fog and also forced the postponement of the men's snowboard cross competition. The women's biathlon did go ahead but the course was affected by morning rain which led to the snow being extremely slushy with the salt on the tracks not working. Problems have rolled over to Tuesday with no seeding round in the snowboard cross and the start of the women's giant slalom brought forward by 90 minutes due to the threat of rain, fog and rising temperatures.

Aksel Lund Svindal - The Norwegian flagbearer at the opening ceremony was tipped as a multiple medallist as a five-time world champion, a winner of two overall World Cup Crystal Globes and seven World Cup event titles. But he failed to claim a medal in his three races. He was fourth in the downhill, which he had been favourite to win, equal eighth in super combined and seventh in super-G. He will now not compete in Wednesday's giant slalom or Saturday's slalom after suffering an allergic reaction.

Politics - Had been kept out of the Olympics until today but Russian police detained a man for protesting in Sochi against the jailing of an environmentalist angered by Olympic construction work. David Khakim was led away by police after holding up a placard saying "Freedom for Yevgeny Vitishko" beside a sign depicting the Olympic Games logo near the city administration's offices. Meanwhile a transgender former member of Italy's parliament said she had been detained by Russian police for about three hours for trying to stage a gay rights protest. She was led away by two men in plain clothes when she held up a sign saying "Gay is OK" in Russian in the Olympic Park.

BRITS IN ACTION

The women’s curling team of skip Eve Muirhead, Vicki Adams, Anna Sloan and Claire Hamilton reached the semi-finals. They guaranteed at least a play-off spot after beating Russia 9-6 in the morning and although they threw away a 7-4 lead against Denmark in the final end, going down 8-7 in the 11th, a combination of other results meant they will face Canada on Wednesday.

David Murdoch's men lost 6-5 to China and will take on Norway on Tuesday morning in a play-off for a place in the semi-finals.

European bronze medallists Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland returned to the ice for their free dance and moved up a place to finish in 10th position in the ice dance.

Pilot Lamin Deen and brakeman John Baines completed their campaign in the two-man bobsleigh and stayed in their overnight 23rd position. Only the top 20 had a fourth run.

GOLD MEDALS AWARDED TODAY

Biathlon - Women's 12.5km Mass Start: Darya Domracheva (Belarus)
Bobsleigh - Two-man: Alexander Zubkov/Alexey Voevoda (Russia)
Figure Skating - Ice Dance: Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA)
Freestyle Skiing - Men's Aerials: Anton Kushnir (Belarus)
Ski Jumping - Men's Team: Germany

IMAGE OF THE DAY

What do you do when fog wipes out your event?

TWEET OF THE DAY

British freestyle skier Rowan Cheshire gets some support after suffering a concussion.

DON'T MISS TOMORROW

It is do or die for Britain's men curlers as they face Norway in a tie-breaker. David Murdoch's men could have booked their semi-final place on Sunday but they were beaten 7-6 by Thomas Ulsrud's rink

BIG NAMES IN ACTION

Anna Fenninger, Tina Maze, Maria Hoefl-Riesch and Dominique Gisin aim for a second gold of these Games in the Giant Slalom and the Austrian has the best chance based on World Cup form.

Sven Kramer made a successful defence of the 5000m title in an Olympic record time and goes for the third gold in his career and the long distance double in the 10000m.

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen will hopefully final get the chance to become the most successful Olympian in the history of the Winter Games as he bids for a 13th medal in Biathlon's mass start which has been twice delayed due to fog.

YOU HAVEN'T HEARD OF THEM BUT YOU SHOULD HAVE

David Wise - The American Freestyle Skier is the current world champion in the Halfpipe and has won three X Games in a row. He will start as a strong favourite for the inaugural Olympic competion.

GOLD MEDALS ON OFFER

07:18 Snowboarding: Snowboard Cross
09:00 Alpine Skiing: Ladies' Giant Slalom
10:30 Biathlon: Men's Mass Start
11:04 Short Track: Ladies' 3000m Relay
12:00 Nordic Combined: Large Hill
13:00 Speed Skating: Men's 10000m
17:30 Freestyle Skiing: Men's Halfpipe