Hanyu hangs on for gold

19-year-old becomes first Asian man to win Olympic title

Published: Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 12:30 a.m.CDT
Caption
(AP)
Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan competes in the men's free skate figure skating final at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Here are some highlights from Friday's Olympics action in Sochi:

JAPAN'S FIRST FIGURE SKATING GOLD

Despite two falls, Yuzuru Hanyu won Japan's first Olympic gold medal in men's figure skating. Patrick Chan, trying for Canada's first such victory, took silver. World silver medalist Denis Ten of Kazakhstan took the bronze.

All of the medalists had flawed performances, but the 19-year-old Hanyu held on in great part because of his 3.93-point lead after the short program. He is the first Asian man to take Olympic gold.

SOMETHING TO YODEL ABOUT

It was a big medal day for the Swiss: Dario Cologna won his second gold of the Sochi Olympics with a dominant performance in the 15-kilometer classical-style cross-country race, 5 days after winning the opening 30-kilometer skiathlon.

Then, Sandro Viletta put down the second-fastest slalom run to win the men's super-combined.

Finally, Selina Gasparin shot cleanly to take the silver in the women's 15-kilometer individual race in the biathlon.

THE SILVER SURFER

Skiing in the super-combined, Ivica Kostelic of Croatia again won silver. He became the first skier to win three straight silvers in a single Alpine skiing discipline – in 2006, 2010 and 2014. Kostelic's younger sister, Janica, won four golds and two silvers at the 2002 and 2006 Games. It's the 10th Olympic medal in the family, "and this fact makes be very proud," Kostelic said.

ANOTHER LIZZY REIGNS FOR ENGLAND

Britain's Lizzy Yarnold won the women's skeleton, posting a four-run time that was 0.97 seconds faster than U.S. silver medalist Noelle Pikus-Pace. Russia's Elena Nikitina got the bronze.

Pikus-Pace entered retirement by exorcising the memory of letting a medal slip away in Vancouver 4 years ago.

BELARUS' DAY IS TSIMPLY TSUPER

Alla Tsuper delivered a stunning win in aerials that capped a golden day for Belarus.

Tsuper beat a field that included defending Olympic champion Lydia Lassila of Australia. Earlier, Darya Domracheva got her second gold medal of the Sochi Games, winning the women's 15-kilometer individual race in the biathlon, and teammate Nadezhda Skardino got the bronze. It was the first time two athletes from the Eastern European country got medals in the same Winter Games event.

WARDROBE ADJUSTMENTS

Another warm day in the Caucasus Mountains above Sochi saw cross-country skiers modifying their wardrobes in the 50 degree temperatures.

Some wore short sleeves, while Norway's Chris Andre Jespersen cut off his pants down his thigh. Said German veteran Alex Teichmann: "I became a winter athlete to do my sport in winter, not in summer. That was definitely the warmest race of my career."

PUTIN IN THE HOUSE

President Vladimir Putin visited the Olympic headquarters of the United States – even wearing a Team USA pin.

U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said: "Putin was very gracious."

Some American athletes said "Welcome!" to him in Russian, and he answered "Thanks!" in English, Russian news agencies reported. The visit was a sharp contrast with the chilly state of political relations between Washington and Moscow. Putin also visited Canada House.

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