The Sochi Network

Sochi Summary Day 7: Time to scrap the Super Combined?

HOT TOPIC

The future of the Super Combined.

The very first Olympic Alpine competitions, from 1936, were combined but the event was dropped for 40 years after 1948 until being reintroduced in 1988.

The format was changed in Vancouver, reducing the slalom phase from two legs to one but critics of the event still say it is too skewed in favour of those who are good on short skis.

Especially when today's slalom was run on a tight, icy piste and included a rare "Royal Flush" - four gates set straight. Ivica Kostelic's father set the course and it is fair to say the course didn't do much to hinder the Croat who won his third silver in the event.

Downhill champion Matthias Mayer said "It just isn't an event that represents skiing to the outside world" while Kostelic retorted with "the Alpine combined is the oldest discipline ... so if we want to throw this away, for whatever reason, and while we have snowballing coming to the Olympics soon, we must be crazy."

GOOD DAY

British Skeleton - Britain have now won a medal on each of the six occasions that the sport has been held in the Games and Lizzy Yarnold did it in the best way possible manner, taking an emphatic gold medal to follow up Amy Williams' triumph in Vancouver. It is a triumph for the push-start training facility at Bath University and the British Skeleton development programme. Skeleton athletes can practice their crucial starting skills at the Sports Training Village’s 140m push-start track, the only one of its kind in the country.

Joselane Santos - Freestyle Skiing aerials has advanced so much that the top women are landing quad-twisting triple somersaults. Joselane Santos did a straight back flip and could not have been happier. She became the first freestyle skier from Brazil to make the Winter Olympics - even more remarkable as she only took up skiing five months ago. The 29-year-old does most of her training at a dry-slope ski park outside Sao Paulo but landed both her jumps and broke down in tears of joy, just for competing.

Czech Veterans - The first match of the day between the Czech Republic and Latvia featured three over-40s with 42-year-old Czech Petr Nedved and his 41-year-old team mate Jaromir Jagr plus 41-year-old Latvian Sandis Ozolinsh on show. Jagr, competing in his fifth Games, scored in his second consecutive game in the Czechs' 4-2 win over Latvia. Nedved had an assist and is competing in an Olympics a record 20 years after his last appearance at the 1994 Lillehammer Games, where he won a silver medal for Canada.

BAD DAY

Ondrej Bank - The advantage of an early start put veteran Bank in with a real shout of a medal in the Super Combined as he placed second after the Downhill portion of the event. After years of near-misses - four top seven finishes at Olympics and World Championships in the Combined without a medal - he was on verge of winning the first ever male Olympic alpine medal for the Czech Republic. But a cautious slalom leg saw him finish seventh, just as he did in Vancouver, and his reaction said it all. He threw a ski pole into the crowd like a javelin as he pulled up after finishing, nearly taking out some cameramen in the process.

Felix Neureuther - The German slalom specialist is being examined for whiplash following a car accident on an icy road on his way to the airport to Sochi. He is reported to have left the scene to get medical attention, leading to speculation in Germany that he could be charged for leaving the scene of an accident. The 29-year-old is a big medal chance in Wednesday's giant slalom and next Saturday's slalom.

Danielle Scott - The Sydneysider was the international rookie of the year in 2012 and the bronze medallist from the 2013 world championships was looking to maintain Australis's strong record in women's Freestyle Skiing aerials in her first Games experience. Things started well as she was third in qualifying before suffering the narrowest of eliminations in the first phase of the final. She and Kazakh Zhanbota Aldabergenova both scored 76.23 via an identical degree of difficulty and identical judges' scores. With the best and worst scores discarded, it all came down to an errant 7.7 from the American judge to eliminate Scott from the second final.

BRITS IN ACTION

Lizzy Yarnold won Britain's first gold medal when she powered to victory in the women's skeleton, sliding quickest throughout the four heats to win by 0.97 seconds. Shelley Rudman finished 16th at the Sanki Sliding Centre.

At the halfway point in the men's event, Kristan Bromley is joint eighth in his fourth Olympic appearance with Dominic Parsons 10th equal.

In curling, the women’s quartet of skip Eve Muirhead, Vicki Adams, Anna Sloan and Claire Hamilton recorded back-to-back victories for the first time in Sochi as they thrashed Japan 12-3.

David Murdoch’s men’s rink of Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews and Michael Goodfellow made it four wins in a row after a big comeback against Denmark. Trailing 5-1 at halfway, GB prevailed 8-6

In Cross Country Skiing, Andrew Young finished 37th in the 15km classical, seven places higher than Andrew Musgrave with Callum Smith down in 67th.

Amanda Lightfoot completed her biathlon campaign at her maiden Winter Olympics in the 15km individual and placed 71st after hitting 15 of 20 shots.

GOLD MEDALS AWARDED TODAY
Cross Country - Men's 15km: Dario Cologna (Switzerland)
Alpine Skiing - Men's Super Combined: Sandro Viletta (Switzerland)
Biathlon - Women's 15km: Darya Domracheva (Belarus)
Skeleton - Women's: Lizzy Yarnold (Great Britain)
Figure Skating - Men's: Yuzuru Hanyu (Japan)
Freestyle Skiing - Ladies' Aerials: Alla Tsuper (Belarus)

IMAGE OF THE DAY

Norway's Chris Andre Jespersen takes the unusual step of wearing shorts in the Cross Country Skiing as temperatures reached 14 degrees celsius.

TWEET OF THE DAY

DON'T MISS TOMORROW

It was 34 years ago in a small arena in Lake Placid that a group of American college players faced off against the former Soviet Union's 'Big Red Machine' in an ice hockey
mismatch of David and Goliath proportions and scored a shock 4-3 victory to take gold in the 'Miracle on Ice'. The two sides meet in front of a raucous Sochi crowd.

BIG NAMES IN ACTION

Maria Hoefl-Riesch goes for her second gold of the Games and her fourth in total in the Super-G which also features downhill co-champions Tina Maze and Dominique Gisin.

Shani Davis is one of the few American Winter Sports athletes who transcends into the US public consciousness and goes in the 1500m where he has won silver in the past two Games.

Kamil Stoch looks to become just the third man in history to do the Olympic normal hill-large hill double on the bigger ski jump.

YOU HAVEN'T HEARD OF THEM BUT YOU SHOULD HAVE

Koen Verweij - the former inline speed skater has failed to join the Dutch speed skating medal rush so far but 1500m is his favourite distance and could edge Davis and Denis Yuskov for gold.

GOLD MEDALS ON OFFER

07:00 - Alpine Skiing: Ladies' Super-G
10:00 - Cross Country: Ladies' 4 x 5km Relay
12:12 - Short Track: Ladies' 1500m
12:25 - Short Track: Men's 1000m
13:30 - Speed Skating: Men's 1500m
16:15 - Skeleton - Men's
17:30 - Ski Jumping: Men's Large Hill