The Sochi Network

Sochi Summary Day 15: Double Dutch and ‘sadistic’ slaloms

HOT TOPIC

How clean are the Winter Olympics?

Ukrainian cross-country skier Marina Lisogor tested positive for the banned substance trimetazidine today after on Friday, it was revealed that German biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle and Italian bobsledder William Frullani had both failed dope tests.

Lisogor, who finished 58th in the 10km classic, at least held her hands up and blamed the positive test on negligence rather than an attempt to cheat. She cited a prescription for preductal - an over the counter medication - which contains components that were added to the banned list at the start of the year.

Since drug testing was introduced in the mid-60s, this takes the tally to 17 offences at the Winter Olympics in 13 Games. A far cleaner pro rata figure than the Summer Games.

Just as doping has blighted endurance summer sports such as Cycling, over half the offences at the Winter Games have come in Cross Country Skiing.

There has not yet been a positive test in Curling although the buff Canadian men's team certainly indicate even the top-level participants in that sport hit the gym hard.

GOOD DAY

Marit Bjoergen - The Norwegian won the 30km Cross Country to become the most successful woman in Olympic Winter Games history. The 33-year-old earned a record-tying sixth gold and 10th medal in any Winter Olympic sport.

The four-time Olympian and 12-time world champion matches speed skater Lidia Skoblikova (former USSR) and cross-country skier Lyobov Yegorova (United Team and Russia) with a sextet of wins. The 10 medals - three silvers and one bronze - of any colour equals Stefania Belmondo and Raisa Smetanina. She did it in the best possible style as Norway's women swept the medals for the first time in the event.

Double Dutch - Since team pursuit was added to the Olympics at the 2006 Turin Games, remarkably the Dutch had failed to win gold in either the men's or women's events until today. The Dutch were heavily favoured in 2006 when Sven Kramer hit a lane marker and fell. In Vancouver, they were again favoured but botched their tactics and left one of their skaters behind.But they capped their remarkable Games at the Adler Arena with two gold medal performances, both of which came in a Olympic record time. Victories in eight of the 12 events and 23 medals in total for the skaters in orange was simply remarkable.

Yohan Goncalves Goutt - The slalom contained 117 skiers including some from non-traditional skiing powers such as Mexico, the Cayman Islands, Lebanon, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Peru and Thailand. But a special word for Timor Leste's first-ever Winter Olympian. Timor Leste, or East Timor, became the first new sovereign state of the 21st century after Indonesia relinquished control of the territory and Sochi was their first Winter Games.

Goutt, who has a French father and learned to ski at Val d’Isère, is a one-man team and qualifies as his mother is from East Timor. He did what so many others failed to do and finished both runs. He was 45th of the 117 starters albeit over 49 seconds behind winner Mario Matt and nine seconds slower than the man from Lebanon who was 44th.

BAD DAY

Ante Kostelic - The Croatian coach, and father of multi Olympic medalist Ivica, set the course for the second run of the slalom and was savaged for the set-up. "Sadistic. Stop the slalom. Set a new course and kick Kostelic out in the sea," was one reaction on Twitter as the unedifying site of the world's top slalom skiers missing gates one after another played out. It was beyond tough and was borderline farcical with a number of off angle vertical gates, creating something BBC commentator Graham Bell described as a forest of poles.

Beeb colleague Emma Carrick-Anderson went a little further and said Kostelic had drunk too many vodkas while a user on the Eurosport live updates summed up the general feeling by saying: "What a complete fool. What he did to slalom today will take years to repair. Slalom just went down the drain as an interesting sport for television. If he ever sets a slalom course again the FIS are even bigger fools."

Emil Hegle Svendsen - The Norwegian bounced back from a disappointing first week to win two gold medals in biathlon but ruined Ole Einar Bjoerndalen's farewell in the men's relay. Norway looked in a good position to defend their title when former overall World Cup champion Tarjei Boe and his younger brother Johannes Thingnes combined to give them the lead at halfway.

Bjoerndalen, who picked up a record 13th medal in the Winter Olympics by leading Norway to gold in the first-ever mixed relay on Wednesday, hit all 10 shots and passed over to Svendsen with a narrow advantage. However there would be no ninth gold for the 40-year-old as Svendsen had a meltdown in the final shoot, missing four attempts. A penalty loop followed and Norway were well down in fourth.

Justin Kripps - A real scary moment in the second run of the four-man bobsleigh as Canada III pilot Kripps saw his sled flip halfway down the track, resulting in a nasty crash. Kripps, Jesse Lumsden, Cody Sorensen and Ben Coakwell were carrying so much speed that they still crossed the line and will get a third run tomorrow. But they are likely to be carrying some nasty ice burns after a bump on the track threw them sideways into the corner. There was an inadvertent choice of music playing in the background as they crashed - 'It's No Good' by Depeche Mode.

BRITS IN ACTION

In the four-man bobsleigh event, John Jackson piloted the Great Britain I crew of Joel Fearon, Bruce Tasker and Stuart Benson to seventh place at the halfway stage.

Lamin Deen, a Lance Sergeant in the Grenadier Guards, pilots GB II and alongside John Baines, Andrew Matthews and Ben Simons are in joint 18th after two of the four runs.

Dave Ryding finished 27th in the slalom at Vancouver 2010 and improved to 18th place in his one and only event at the Games despite a big mistake early in his second run.

GOLD MEDALS AWARDED TODAY

Cross Country - Ladies' 30km Mass Start Free: Marit Bjoergen (Norway)
Snowboarding - Ladies' Parallel Slalom: Julia Dujmovits (Austria)
Snowboarding - Men's Parallel Slalom: Vic Wild (Russia)
Speed Skating - Men's Team Pursuit: Netherlands
Speed Skating - Ladies' Team Pursuit: Netherlands
Biathlon - Men's 4x7.5km Relay: Russia
Alpine Skiing - Men's Slalom: Mario Matt (Austria)

IMAGE OF THE DAY

Hubertus von Hohenlohe, the 55-year-old German prince and six-time Mexican Olympian, bows at the finish after crashing out of the slalom on the opening run.

TWEET OF THE DAY

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DON'T MISS TOMORROW

Final Medal Table - Russia and Norway are locked together on 11 golds and the hosts have strong gold chances in two of day 16's three events. Norway have not topped the medal table since 2002, Russia since 1994.

BIG NAMES IN ACTION

Dario Cologna - Switzerland's top Cross Country skier will be looking for a third gold medal of the Games over the longest distance, the 50km freestyle.

Alexander Zubkov - The Russian bids for an Olympic Bobsleigh double and it has started well as he leads the four-man event at halfway at the Sanki Sliding Centre.

Sidney Crosby - The Canadian captain will try to lead his side to their first Olympic ice hockey gold medal outside North America in 62 years. He scored the golden goal that gave Canada victory over the United States in the Vancouver final.

YOU HAVEN'T HEARD OF THEM BUT YOU SHOULD HAVE

Forward Jimmie Ericsson of Swedish Hockey League team Skelleftea is the only man on either of the 25-man rosters for the ice hockey final that does not play in the NHL.

GOLD MEDALS ON OFFER

07:00 Cross Country Skiing - Men's 50km
11:00 Bobsleigh - Four-man
12:00 Ice Hockey - Men's