SOCHI, Russia – Different American, same result for Maria Hoefl-Riesch – another Olympic gold in the super-combined.
Just as she did four years ago at the Vancouver Games, Hoefl-Riesch found herself trailing an American after the downhill leg before using her slalom skills to vault into first place and successfully defend her Olympic title in the dual-run event.
The German finished less than a second ahead of both silver medalist Nicole Hosp of Austria and Julia Mancuso of the United States, who won the bronze, just as she did in 2010.
Lindsey Vonn had the fastest downhill time in Vancouver, but when Vonn skied out on the slalom, Hoefl-Riesch roared back to claim gold. This time, Vonn is out with an injury, and Mancuso replaced her at the top of the standings after the downhill.
At the Olympic Park, Charles Hamelin of Canada raced to the 1,500-meter short track speedskating gold, and Viktor Ahn earned the bronze to give Russia its first-ever short track medal; Michel Mulder of the Netherlands earned the 500-meter speedskating gold; and Martin Fourcade won the 12.5-kilometer biathlon pursuit.
Another medal was being awarded in men’s moguls on Day 4 of the Sochi Olympics.
ALPINE SKIING: Hoefl-Riesch was fifth fastest in the opening downhill leg, trailing Mancuso by 1.04 seconds. The German’s two-run time of 2 minutes, 34.62 seconds was 0.40 seconds faster than Hosp. Mancuso, who finished 0.53 behind Hoefl-Riesch, won her fourth career Olympic medal in Alpine skiing. No other American woman has won more than two.
SHORT TRACK SPEEDSKATING: At 29, Hamelin was the oldest skater in the first final of the short track competition. The wily veteran maintained a top-three position throughout most of the 14-lap race, leaving enough at the end to defeat a loaded field, including Ahn and silver medalist Han Tianyu of China. Ahn was a three-time gold medalist for his native South Korea, but after missing the Vancouver Games he changed his name and became a Russian citizen. When he stepped on the medals podium, the mostly Russian crowd erupted in wild cheers.
SPEEDSKATING: Mulder’s 500-meter speedskating victory earned him the title of fastest man on skates. Teammate Jan Smeekens was 0.01 seconds behind for silver, and twin Ronald Mulder took bronze in a Dutch sweep.
BIATHLON: Fourcade’s win earned France its first medal. Ondrej Moravec of Czech Republic took the silver, and Jean Guillaume Beatrix of France earned bronze. Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway finished fourth, missing out on a record 13th Winter Olympic medal.
CURLING: In a heavyweight matchup between two favorites for the women’s curling gold medal, Sweden defeated Britain 6-4. Also, Canada routed 2010 bronze-medalist China 9-2 in a shortened game that was conceded because of the huge differential. Switzerland beat the United States 7-4 and Russia topped Denmark 6-4 in other first round-robin games.
ICE HOCKEY: The United States romped to a 9-0 victory over Switzerland to all-but clinch a spot in the Olympic women’s hockey semifinals.