The Sochi Network

Sochi Summary Day 4: Flying Tomato goes splat on ‘retarded’ half pipe

HOT TOPIC: The condition of the half pipe for the Snowboarding event

Official training for the event was postponed on Monday as warm weather turned packed snow to slush and organisers failed to get the pipe in good enough shape for the men's competition.

The IOC salted and watered the pipe with a sprinkler because they didn't want the pressure of the water to leave indents in the snow but problems remained.

Edges were still sinking into the wall and the rut-filled slushy tube slowed the boarders down and prevented them from getting the big air they need to perform their best tricks.

The brother and coach of the defending women's champion, Torah Bright, described the set-up as “s***” and “f****** retarded” after the Aussie crashed in training.

GOOD DAY

Natalie Geisenberger - In a sport normally settled by hundredths or thousandths of a second, the German blasted her opponents out of the water in the women's luge. Her victory margin of 1.139 seconds over the four runs was the biggest since the inaugural Olympic event in 1964.

German women have monopolised Olympic luge medals, having won every gold medal since the Nagano 1998 Olympics and now 12 of the last 15 medals of any colour. The performance of the Bavarian police officer was the best of the lot.

Emil Joensson - The Swede has pedigree with World Cup victories but he had his own Steven Bradbury moment in the Cross Country sprint. Bradbury was the Australian who took gold in Short Track in 2002 when everyone fell ahead of him and Joensson was 100m behind his rivals at halfway in the final, the toll of skiing the 1.8km course on four occasions hitting him hard.

But he watched Anders Gloeersen, Sergey Ustiugov and Marcus Hellner crash on the descent as they went over each other like dominoes, giving him a free passage to a medal. He crossed the line 19.8 seconds behind the winner to take bronze and promptly collapsed over the line before being carried off the course.

Margot Boer - The first women's medal for the all-conquering Dutch speed skaters in 500m in Olympic history. She was fourth in Vancouver in two events and also one place outside the medals at the recent World Sprint Championships. Not always the bridesmaid as Boer took bronze.

BAD DAY

Shaun White - The American is the greatest snowboarder in history but failed to win a third straight Olympic title in the half pipe. The pressure was on the Californian after he withdrew from the slopestyle event in case an injury jeopardised his triple gold.

The 27-year-old failed to land his final trick on the first run and then going last in the second run the "Flying Tomato" was unable to produce an error-free run and not only missed out on goal but missed out on a medal as Iouri Podladtchikov took his crown ahead of two Japanese teenagers.

Canadian Slopestylers - Kaya Turski had claimed gold in the last two X Games and was the favourite going into the inaugural Freestyle Event in this discipline but she crashed heavily on her first run in qualifying and dislocated her shoulder. Amazingly she popped it back in place but fell again and went out.

Compatriot Yuki Tsubota did reach the final but struggled to maintain enough speed in the soft snow before hitting the last kicker and took a horrible hit on the knuckle on the landing. A broken jaw resulted.

Olympic Champions - Last weekend Marit Bjoergen and Dario Cologna were on cloud nine after winning the Skiathlon. Today they saw their hopes of sprint gold in Cross Country undone by falls. The Norwegian, who won the individual sprint in Vancouver four years ago, was seeking her fifth Olympic title but fell with 50m to go in the semi-finals. Swiss Dario Cologna went down once not once but twice in his quarter-final on melting snow in warm conditions at the Laura Biathlon and Cross-country Complex.

Matteo Guarise - The strains of their Samson and Delilah music had barely begun when Italian pairs skater Guarise was seen wildly flapping his arms trying to catch his partner Nicole Della Monica's hand as he went flying on to his backside. Did he fall trying to do a triple Salchow or a throw triple Salchow or even a double twist lift? No he fell doing absolutely nothing. "I was so busy thinking about the elements that I forgot to think about my feet," explained Guarise.

BRITS IN ACTION

Katie Summerhayes was the latest Brit to reach a slopestyle final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park – 48 hours after Jenny Jones won a historic bronze in the snowboard - but the Freestyle Skier finished seventh with 70.6 points.

Expectations were high after Andrew Musgrave won the sprint at the Norwegian Championships last month and although he produced the best-ever performance by a British cross-country skier, he was disappointed after finishing sixth and last in his quarter-final. Andrew Young and Callum Smith were 42nd and 62nd in qualifying respectively.

Skips David Murdoch and Eve Muirhead bounced back from defeats to the strongly-fancied Swedish rinks as they beat Germany and the USA respectively. Murdoch stole a 7-6 win as Germany skip John Jahr failed to push the British stone out of the house scoring zone in the final end. The women crushed the States 12-3 after picking up seven in the fourth end.

Ben Kilner and Dom Harington failed to reach the semi-finals in the snowboard halfpipe as they struggled in the conditions and finished 16th and 20th respectively out of 20 in qualifying.

Pairs couple Stacey Kemp and David King fell in the Figure Skating pairs short programme, as they did in the team event, and their score of 44.98 left them 19th of the 20 duos and they do not progress to the free.

GOLD MEDALS AWARDED TODAY

Freestyle Skiing - Ladies' Slopestyle: Dara Howell (Canada)
Cross Country - Ladies' Sprint: Maiken Caspersen Falla (Norway)
Cross Country - Men's Sprint: Ola Vigen Hattestad (Norway)
Speed Skating - Ladies' 500m: Lee Sang-hwa (South Korea)
Biathlon - Women's 10km Pursuit: Darya Domracheva (Belarus)
Luge - Women's Singles: Natalie Geisenberger (Germany)
Ski Jumping - Ladies: Carina Vogt (Germany)
Snowboarding - Men's Halfpipe: Iouri Podladtchikov (Switzerland)

IMAGE OF THE DAY

Italy's Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise compete during the figure skating pairs.

TWEET OF THE DAY

Following Jenny Jones' bronze medal, the BBC received complaints regarding Ed Leigh and Tim Warwood's Snowboarding commentary. "It's a medal! I'm sure it's a medal!" screamed Graham Bell as Katie Summerhayes crossed the line. She was seventh.

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DON'T MISS TOMORROW

Maria Hofl-Riesch goes for a fourth Olympic victory in the women's downhill. The German will equal the record for women's Alpine Skiing gold medals if she powers to victory.

BIG NAMES IN ACTION

Shani Davis is the face of American Speed Skating and is the favourite to achieve history and win the same event at three consecutive Games in the 1000m.

Torah Bright, Australia’s biggest star at Sochi 2014, looks to retain her half pipe title.

The men's ice hockey gets underway with Erik Karlsson, Henrik Lundqvist and Henrik Zetterberg some of the NHL stars in action as Sweden play the Czechs.

YOU HAVEN'T HEARD OF THEM BUT YOU SHOULD HAVE

Germany's Eric Frenzel has dominated the World Cup for the past two years and is the strong favourite for the normal hill event in Nordic Combined.

GOLD MEDALS ON OFFER

07:00: Alpine Skiing - Ladies' Downhill
12:30: Nordic Combined - Normal Hill
14:00: Speed Skating - Men's 1000m
15:45: Luge - Doubles
15:45: Figure Skating - Pairs
17:30: Snowboarding - Ladies' Halfpipe