The modernisation of the Olympic programme produced a champion for the ages yesterday when
Like the host nation
Yesterday, in the
The snowboarders are the hippest and coolest competitors in Winter sports, performing outrageously complicated stunts with a devil-may-care approach that befits their generation.
With his scraggy blonde hair, Kotsenburg was not among the favourites to win the gold, but snatched it anyway, with the same cavalier attitude that has made extreme sports so popular - unveiling |a trick he invented himself, but had never tried before.
"I just kind of do random stuff," he said.
"I had no idea I'd do itů until three minutes before I jumped."
Kotsenburg's impromptu decision went down well with the judges, who rewarded him with top marks for his four-and-a-half rotation spin, off the equivalent of a three-storey building, while the crowds roared and hooted with approval in the snow-peaked mountains on a glorious sunny day.
The silver medal went to
"An all-around amazing vibe," he declared.
Nearby, there was a sombre mood on the first full day of competition in Sochi.
Like all cross-country events, the 15km is an exhausting event where competitors reach the finish line then collapse in the snow, gasping for air in agonising pain.
Bjoergen was no different, but her pain this time was as much emotional as physical after she earned the fourth Olympic gold medal of her accomplished career.
On the previous day, the Norwegian team was hit by some devastating news. The brother of their teammate
No more details were given, but Bjoergen said the team |was shattered.
"After things like this, it is hard to focus on the race," she said.
When they finished, they wrapped their arms around each other and began to sob.
Cross-country is a lung-bursting sport and a tight-knit one as well.
After a week of build-up that has been marred by bickering between politicians and complaints by journalists about their hotel rooms, it was a solemn way for some athletes to reclaim the spotlight.
"It gives you perspective |on the value of an Olympic medal," said Kalla.
Down at the
With legs as thick and strong as tree trunks, Kramer slashed almost four seconds |off the Olympic record he set in
He become just the second man to successfully defend the 5 000m, one of the few events that has stood the test of time and been on the Winter Olympic programme since the first Games in 1924.
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