The Sochi Network

Sochi Summary Day 3: IOC’s Burke sticker own-goal

HOT TOPIC

The International Olympic Committee's overly fastidious ways have sprung into the spotlight again as they ban athletes wearing helmet stickers as a mark of respect for Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke, who died in an accident two years ago.

"I ride with a Sarah sticker on my snowboard and helmet always. The IOC, however, consider Sarah stickers 'a political statement' and have banned them. WOW," snowboarder Torah Bright wrote on Instagram.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams did not really help their cause by being quoted as saying: "We would, for example, help them if they wanted to have a press conference."

We don't remember any worldwide TV audience of millions for a press conference, do you?

GOOD DAY

Dutch Speed Skating - Michel Mulder of the Netherlands won the men's 500 meters to make it three Dutch victories from three speed skating events at the Sochi Games so far.

He pipped compatriot Jan Smeekens by just 0.01 seconds and his twin Ronaldo took bronze. They became the first twins to win medals in the same individual Winter Olympics event since Americans Phil and Steven Mahre achieved the feat in alpine skiing at the 1984 Sarajevo Games.

After Sven Kramer and Irene Wust won the opening two events, the Netherlands have moved to 30 Winter Olympic speed skating golds and top the all-time list ahead of America.

French biathlon - Martin Fourcade had won five World Championships and two World Cups but an Olympic title eluded him until today. The Frenchman shot 19 out of 20 in the 12.5km pursuit to take gold.

He was so confident of victory, he showboated with 2.5km remaining - losing a few seconds as he waved his arms in celebration after hitting his final five shots at the range. Another Frenchman, Jean-Guillaume Beatrix, climbed from 14th to claim bronze and deny Norway's Ole Einar Bjoerndalen a record-breaking medal.

Julia Mancuso - In 18 World Cup events this season, the American had not finished higher than seventh but yet again she rose to the big occasion by taking bronze in the Super Combined.

After setting the fastest time in the downhill leg and then battling down a tricky slalom hill, the 29-year-old became the first American woman to stand on an Alpine podium at three successive Olympics and completed her set of gold, silver and bronze with the fourth medal of her career.

BAD DAY

South Korean Short Track team - Sin Da-woon was among the front runners for the 1500m but lost his balance in the semis after hitting one of the black pucks marking the track and in the impact he took out team-mate Lee Han-bin and they both slammed into the barriers. Lee was advanced into the final but, bruised and battered, failed to medal.

Park Se-yeong tripped on the final corner of the B final and took out Sjinkie Knegt who was destined to win the race. The Dutchman, who went viral when he raised both his middle fingers in the direction of Viktor Ahn after the team relay at last month's European Championship, just shrugged his head.

Aborted Challenges - Russia's Tatiana Borodulina had an outside chance of a medal in the 500m Short Track event but failed to even skate her heat after being disqualified for a second false start. Australian Daniel Greig was third in the World Sprint Speed Skating Championships and also had hopes of a medal in the 500m but stumbled within 50 metres of the start and fell flat on his face.

Women's Ice Hockey - In an effort to make the women's event more competitive, the world's top-four ranked teams were placed together in Group A. However the United States crushed Switzerland 9-0 to underline the lack of strength in depth in the women's game. Swiss goalie Florence Schelling, who made 64 saves against Canada in an opening-game loss, had another busy night as she made 44 saves.

BRITS IN ACTION

Jack Whelbourne defied his world ranking to reach the 1500m short track speed skating final but twisted his ankle and did not finish. Elise Christie and Charlotte Gilmartin came safely through their 500m heats to reach Thursday's quarter-finals.

Both British rinks were beaten by fellow medal contenders Sweden in the Curling. David Murdoch's team beat Russia 7-4 in the morning but went down to Niklas Edin's quartet 8-4. Eve Muirhead was left frustrated as the women lost 6-4 to the reigning Olympic and European champions.

Chemmy Alcott dropped out of the Super Combined after finishing 16th in the downhill run to protect her body - she has had 42 broken bones in her career - for Wednesday's downhill.

GOLD MEDALS AWARDED TODAY

Alpine Skiing: Women's Super Combined - Maria Hoefl-Riesch (Germany)
Short Track: Men's 1500m - Charles Hamlin (Canada)
Biathlon: Men's Pursuit - Martin Fourcade (France)
Speed Skating: Men's 500m - Michel Mulder (Netherlands)
Freestyle Skiing: Men's Moguls - Alex Bilodeau (Canada)

IMAGE OF THE DAY

Sin Da-woon and Lee Han-bin crash out in the men's 1500m short track.

TWEET OF THE DAY

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DON'T MISS TOMORROW

British cross-country skier Andrew Musgrave stunned his Norwegian rivals by winning their national championship sprint last month and goes in the Olympics looking to make history in a sport GB has no pedigree in.

BIG NAMES IN ACTION

Shaun White has won the last two Olympic gold medals in halfpipe, in Turin in 2006 and four years later in Vancouver. The Flying Tomato looks to make it a Snowboarding hat-trick.

Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov have already helped Russia win the team event in figure skating and will look to add the pairs title as they began their bid in the short programme.

YOU HAVEN'T HEARD OF THEM BUT YOU SHOULD HAVE

17-year-old Sara Takanashi of Japan has won 10 of 13 World Cup events this year and is the hot favourite to win the inaugural women's Ski Jumping gold.

GOLD MEDALS ON OFFER

09:00: Freestyle Skiing - Ladies' Slopestyle
13:22: Cross Country - Ladies' Sprint
13:30: Cross Country - Men's Sprint
14:34: Speed Skating - Ladies' 500m
15:00: Biathlon - Women's 10km Pursuit
16:20: Luge - Women's Singles
17:30: Ski Jumping - Ladies' Normal Hill Individual
17:30: Snowboarding - Men's Halfpipe Final