Sochi 2014 speed skating


By Duncan Mackay and Nick Butler in Sochi, and Zjan Shirinian in London
Click refresh for latest updates. All times stated are Russian

BREAKING: Lviv 2022 admit to insidethegames that Ukrainian protests are harming bid (see 14:34, 13:17, 12:51 and our article here for more)

00:12 It promises to be another great day  of Olympic sport but for now - please go and enjoy your evening - and we will see you back here tomorrow for day 13 of the insidethegames blog at 09:00.


00:10 Six sets of medals to be won tomorrow including women's titles in curling and ice hockey and the conclusion of women's figures skating. Two are up for grabs in freestyle skiing and one in Nordic combined.

23:40 On that note we are going to wrap things up here on the insidethegames blog. Eight gold medals have been won today - two for Norway and one each for Finland, Switzerland, Russia, Canada, Czech Republic and the United States.

This has included a record 13th Winter Olympic medal for Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, while there as also been gripping action in both ice hockey and curling - with the headline from a host nation standpoint being Russia's shock 3-1 loss to Finland.

23:22 The short programme has concluded and Yuna Kim remains in the lead for South Korea. Adelina Sotnikova is second for Russia and Carolina Kostner of Italy is thirdn- with the other great home hope in Yulia Lipnitskaya down in fifth place.

22:38 Canada have broken the deadlock and take the lead courtesy of Shea Weber. They lead Latvia 2-1 and are heading for a semi-final with the US.

22:25 We have completed the medals action tonight but still plenty going on elsewhere. The US have beaten the Czech Republic 4-1 but it remains 1-1 between Canada and Latvia - while Gracie Gold of the US has moved into second place in the figure skating. 

22:11 Zach Parise scores to put the US 4-1 up over the Czech Republic and seemingly well on course for an ice hockey semi-final berth. It is still very tight in the other match though - locked at 1-1 between Canada and Latvia deep into the second period.

Bobsleigh gold for Canada by the narrowest of margins

Sochi 2014 gold medal22:07 Canada win the gold medal - by 0.10 of a second. Huge pressure inflicted on Meyers and Williams by the time of 57.92 seconds set by the Canadians. It's spell-binding tension and the US do not quite do enough.

It is scant consolation that the US wins both the silver and the bronze medals.

22:04 Kaillie Humphries' Canadian team slides into the bobsleigh lead ahead of US-2 driven by Jamie Greubel. Will it be enough for gold?

Chants of USA-USA around the Sanki Sliding Centre as the final pair take to the ice.

21:59 The Netherlands lead ahead of Germany and Belgium at the moment with just the top three in the overall standings still to come.

In the figure skating meanwhile Yuna Kim remains well ahead of the field - with the chasing pack still headed by Polina Edmunds. In third place now is Nathalie Weinzierl of Germany.

Russian sensation Yulia Lipnitskaya is among those still to come.

21:55 So after a few moments to calm down after the excitement of the curling we are into the final stages of the women's bobsleigh.

twitter logoFINAL STONE SHOT FOR AN OLYMPIC FINAL! Remain calm! Remain Calm! @DMurdoch17 MAKES IT! #TeamGB are in the OLYMPIC FINAL! #lovecurling
- The British Olympic Association are just as calm and composed as Canadian Curling after the British win is secured...

21:48 They have only gone and done it again. Magnificent final two shots by David Murdock and final stone oh so gently knocks the Swedish one off the ice and Britain secure two points to win their semi-final 6-5. They will face Canada in the final!

21:47 US now lead Czech Republic 3-1 in ice hockey. David Backes with the latest goal. On to the last shot in the curling...

21:44 We are well into the final run of the women's bobsleigh, in case you are wondering, with the pairs taking to the ice in reverse order. The top 10 overall are still to come - so we will focus on that in a moment. 

Got another ice sport to get out of the way first. Of the sweeping kind...

21:41 But who will they play? Six stones left. Sweden lead but Britain have the hammer. Absolutely gripping stuff. A poor stone by Britain Scott Andrews midway through the end, and Sweden take a time-out. 

21:38 Canada may have been pegged back in ice hockey but at the next door stadium in the Olympic Park they have won in curling - 10-6 - over China and will join their female counterparts in the gold medal match.

twitter logoHeaded to the FINAL, BABY! @TeamBradJacobs beats China 10-6 and will play for GOLD on Friday! #curling #wearewinter #wearepumped
- The mellow reaction of Canadian Curling to their men following the example of their women and winning their semi-final today.

21:35 An equaliser for Latvia from Lauris Darzins and they are 1-1 with Canada in the ice hockey quarter-final. 

21:31 Niklas Edin launches the final stone of the ninth end for Sweden and sends the British stones spinning off the ice to give his team a 5-4 lead with one to play. But Britain have the hammer in the 10th. It couldn't be tenser.

Of course it couldn't, this is curling, surely the most nail-biting sport ever invented. 

It looks increasingly likely that Canada face the winners of this one in the final.

21:29 Yuna Kim takes the lead in the figure skating with a superb score of 74.92 for her short programme. She has the hopes of the 2018 Winter Olympic host country on her shoulders but delivered superbly there. 

At almost the same moment Dustin Brown scores to put the US 2-1 up over the Czech Republic, while Canada score three points in their curling semi-final to move 10-6 ahead of China. 

21:20 There are two goals in the first five minutes at the Shayba Arena as the US take the briefest of leads through James van Riemsdyk before Ales Hemsky pins them back to make it 1-1.

And Patrick Sharp scores to make it 1-0 to Canada over Latvia.

21:18 China are also showing good fighting qualities in their semi-final. They are still behind but have trimmed the deficit to 7-6 against Canada after eight completed ends. 

21:16 It was a wonderful victory for Sweden's female curlers earlier on as they set up a final with Canada. 

All the emotion of the sport is conveyed as Sweden sweep their way to victory over Switzerland ©McClatchy-Tribune/Getty ImagesAll the emotion of the sport is conveyed as Sweden sweep their way to victory over Switzerland ©McClatchy-Tribune/Getty Images

But their men are up against it and remain 4-3 down to Great Britain in the ninth end.

Polina Edmunds of the US remains the leader in the ladies figure skating short programme ahead of Kaetlyn Osmond and Canada and Kexin Zhang of China.

Exactly half - 15 out of 30 - of the field have now performed with gold medal favourite Yuna Kim of South Korea taking to the ice very soon. 

21:05 Just to wrap up the cross country men's sprint classic result from earlier on, Finland have survived that German appeal we mentioned earlier on (16:40) and have won the gold medal ahead of Russia and Sweden. 

20:59 Two more quarter-final ties to come in ice hockey this evening. And after the drama of earlier you cannot take anything for granted. It is Canada v Latvia at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, while over at the Shayba Arena the US face Czech Republic.

Remember that the Czechs have in their team one of the greatest players of all time in Jaromir Jagr.

20:54 Huge move for Canada. They score three points in the seventh end and move into a 7-4 lead over China. Still 3-3 in the eighth end between Britain and Sweden. world #1 in oil, if not ice hockey

twitter logoIt's OK Russia, as of 2013 data you're now firmly the top provider of crude oil to the world at 13.25%. | Saudi: 12.77%, USA 9.73%.
- Energy and economics journalist Gregor Macdonald provides some consolation to Russia following their ice hockey loss. I'm not sure if that will cheer them up too much at the moment, but you never know...

insidethegames Olympic historian Philip Barker on the origins of curling 

philip barker"Great Britain first met Sweden in the very first curling tournament in 1924 and, according to the official report, they won 38-7. This was a three team tournament - it was very low key and for many years was thought to have been a demonstration sport. But the IOC confirmed it as a full gold medal in 2006."

What would Britain give for  another 38-7 victory over the Swedes tonight? They lead by the more paltry margin of 3-2 at the moment...

20:43 Polina Edmunds of the US is the new leader in the women's figure skating. She notches up a total of 61.04 points. 

20:39 Lauryn Williams won 100m silver on the track at Athens 2004 and then took Olympic gold at London 2012 in the 4 x 100m relay although only by virtue of running in the semi-final. She would become the first women, and second person to win gold in both Summer and Winter Games if she does hang on - following in the path set by compatriot Eddie Eagan, who won gold in boxing at Antwerp 1920 then in four-man bobsleigh at Lake Placid 1932.

The second run will follow later tonight. 

20:31 And they still lead after run three - but only just. A bumpy ride from the US pair and their advantage is trimmed from 0.23 seconds to just 0.11. Hot on their heels are Canadian rivals Kellie Humphries and Heather Moyse with the second US pair - driven by Jamie Greubel - lying third. 

20:28 Heat three of the women's bobsleigh has begun. After Ted Ligety becoming the first non-European giant slalom winner, and Ole Einar Bjoerndalen winning a record 13th Olympic biathlon medal, will we have more history tonight?

Lauryn Williams is bidding to become the first women to win Summer and Winter Olympic gold medals and, along with partner and driver Elana Meyers, they held the overnight lead. 

Is Finland in Scandinavia?

20:22 A rather throwaway comment on on the prospects of an all Scandinavian ice hockey semi-final earlier (see 18:45) has opened a whole can of worms over whether Finland is in fact part of Scandinavia?

The honest answer is we are not sure and are hearing different answers from different people about this, so please tweet @insidethegames with your answer to enlighten us!

twitter logo@insidethegames Whoever wrote it'll be an all-Scandi semi-final on your live blog... Finland isn't in Scandinavia...
- Is Finland in Scandinavia, or is it not? Please let us know and, for that matter, which other countries are as well?

Record medal haul for Bjoerndalen after Finland stun Russia in ice hockey

20:18 As close and tense as ever in curling in the early stages. Great Britain skip David Murdock, who played what some are calling the "shot of the century" to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against Norway yesterday, is looking cool again as he pulls his side back to 2-2 against Sweden.

It is 3-2 now to Canada over China in the other semi-final. 

20:12 Meanwhile, the ladies figure skating is one of the most eagarly anticipated events of the whole Games. Most of the gold medal contenders - including world champion Kim Yuna of South Korea - are yet to come, but the leader at this stage is Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada. 

20:01 There have various reactions over the last hour or so to Russia's loss in the Ice hockey earlier.

twitter logoSad that the Russian Mens' Hockey Team lost to Finland. Based on performance, they probably would not have won the Gold anyway.
Saint Lucian IOC member Richard Peterkin reflects on the Russian loss.

Quote graphic"We started the game well and scored a goal but after that we made two mistakes, which resulted in two goals. We tried to gather ourselves back but we were not able to do it. We attacked, we had our moments, we fought until the end to score, but it just hasn't worked for us. We lost our Olympic games. There is no one to blame"
- Russia star Alexander Ovechkin, who was the first Russian to carry the Olympic Torch in Ancient Olympia last October, is philosophical after his side crash out of the ice-hockey tournament. 

The Norwegians, including Bjoerndalen, win the first ever gold medal in mixed team biathlon ©AFP/Getty ImagesThe Norwegians, including Bjoerndalen, win the first ever gold medal in mixed team biathlon ©AFP/Getty Images

19:53 Canada and Sweden will meet later in the week in the women's curling final. Will they meet in the men's as well? They each hold the lead in their respective semi-finals in the early stages...Canada 3-1 up on China and Sweden edge 2-1 clear of Great Britain. 

Record medal haul for Bjoerndalen as Norway win mixed biathlon relay and lead table

norway19:48 And that gold medal for Norway also means that they extend their lead at the top of the medals table ahead of Germany and the US. 

It is also the fourth gold medal, and fifth medal, for anchor-skier Emil Hegle Svendsen, while it is a 13th medal - but also an eighth gold- for the imperious Bjoerndalen. 

Emil Hegle Svendsen crosses the line for his second gold medal in as many days in a historic victory for Norway ©Getty ImagesEmil Hegle Svendsen crosses the line for his second gold medal in as many days in a historic victory for Norway ©Getty Images

Sochi 2014 gold medal19:40 NORWAY win the first ever mixed team biathlon Olympic gold and it is a record 13th Olympic medal for Ole Einar Bjoerndalen!!

The team of Tora Berger and Tiril Eckhoff, Bjoerndalen and Emil Hegle Svendsen finish 32 seconds clear of the Czech Republic with Italy taking the final place on the podium.

19:38 Scores on the doors in the curling after two ends. China and Canada locked at 1-1 while Britain go 1-0 up on Sweden.

19:37 Tora Berger and Tiril Eckhoff provided the perfect platform on the two opening legs for the men to complete the job, and, although Moravec has trimmed the gap to 31 seconds to second placed Czech Republic, it is not going to be enough.

19:33 Emil Hegle Svendsen remains some 37 seconds out in front and Norway are closing in gold. 

19:31 Ole Einar Bjoerndalen won gold and silver at Nagano 1998, gold, gold ,gold and gold at Salt Lake City 2002, silver, silver and bronze at Turin 2006 and gold and silver at Vancouver 2010. He already boasts one gold at Sochi 2014 and looks set to win his 13th and record breaking Olympic medal in a matter of moments. 

19:28 Svendsen has a 36 second lead over Ondrej Moravec of the Czech Republic - with the Czech coming third in yesterday's mass start race behind the Norwegian. Italy still lie third and the gaps seem pretty large at the moment. 

Brilliant shooting by Svendsen. He goes clear and surely that is going to be enough for gold.

19:26 But we are going to focus on the conclusion of the biathlon as Emil Hegle Svendsen enters the shooting range in the lead on the final leg for Norway. 

19:23 Action has begun in the ladies short programme in figure skating as well as in the two semi-finals in curling where Sweden face Britain and Canada face China. 

19:20 A majestic performance by Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic to take her third Olympic gold medal and defend one of the two titles she won in Vancouver. 

Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic breaks the Dutch streak and wins the 5000m speed-skating title ©AFP/Getty ImagesMartina Sablikova of the Czech Republic breaks the Dutch streak and wins the 5000m speed-skating title ©AFP/Getty Images

19:18 It is Norway, then the Czech Republic, then Italy at the moment in the biathlon relay and with Bjoerndalen passing over to yesterday's mass start winner Emil Hegle Svendsen, can Norway be stopped?

19:14 All four members of the Norwegian team in the biathlon have won medals so far in Sochi and they are looking on course to do it again. Ole Einer Bjoerndalen is underway - and he is in the lead. 

Sochi 2014 gold medal19:06 Germany's Claudia Pechstein may be the Olympic Record holder in this event but she can only finish fifth today and Martina Sablikova takes the gold medal for the Czech Republic.

Forget the ice hockey shock, surely the Netherlands not winning gold is the bigger story? They still get silver and bronze however - a third runners-up sport for Ireen Wust in Sochi to go with her one gold - while Carien Kleibeuker takes bronze. 

19:04 We are also underway in the biathlon mixed relay. Seen as the best chance yet for Ole Einer Bjoerndalen to win a 13th Olympic medal. His team lie second behind the Czech Republic on the second leg. What a few minutes for the Czech Republic...

19:02 Two of the biggest names in the sport...and its Sablikova who wins by three seconds and, as expected, the pair go first and second on the leader board. 

Revenge for Sablikova there for her defeat to Wust in the 3,000m earlier in the Games. There is only one more pair left who can snatch gold away from the Czech.

18:56 But, after a relative lull during that match the medals action is heating up now elsewhere in Sochi.

In speed skating the two gold medal favourites are currently on the ice. Martina Sablikova, the defending champion from the Czech Republic and Ireen Wust of the Netherlands  who has already won a gold and two silver medals this week in Sochi.

18:52 Jubilation for Finland who after securing their first gold medal of the Games, have had a pretty good afternoon. But a huge, huge disappointment for Russia who have never found their best form in this tournament.

It is fair to say that tomorrow's newspapers here will not be happy reading for the players.

Despondence for Russia as they crash out of the ice hockey competition ©Getty ImagesDespondence for Russia as they crash out of the ice hockey competition ©Getty Images

18:45 And there it is. The Fins celebrate wildly on the ice. They are saying that this is a huge shock. I am not so sure and always thought people were wrong to write off the Finns. But there is no doubt, it was a brilliant performance by the country and they were fully deserving of their victory. 

Finland will now play Sweden in an all Scandinavian semi-final.

18:44 Into the final minute of the ice hockey and Russia are about to be knocked out of the men's competition here.

18:37 We have a new leader in the speed skating and, would you believe it, it is an orange clad skater representing the Netherlands. Carien Kleibeuker iis the first to break the seven minute barrier today as she clocks 6 min 55.66 sec. 

It is also her first race in Sochi and her only previous Olympic participation was 10th place in this same event during Turin 2006.

18:33 This really has been a master-class by Finland. Russia are pushing forward but the Finns are standing firm and if I was picking the most likely scorer right now I would probably pick Finland on the counter.

twitter logo2 more medals for @swissteam! Gold for @PatriziaKummer from my home canton Valais & silver for Nevin Galmarini. Very proud of you all!
- Swiss IOC member and President of FIFA Sepp Blatter congratulates Swiss snowboarders on their medal success today in Sochi.

18:27 Back in the Bolshoy, Russia need a goal and they need it quickly. There are less than ten minutes left and they remain 3-1 down against Finland. 

18:19 Mari Hemmer of Norway remains out in front in the speed skating as Stephanie Beckert of Germany slots into second place. All the Dutch skaters are still to come though...

What does the Netherlands make you think of? Tulips, clogs, windmills, bicycles? Well, add speed skating to that list. They have so far won 19 medals and six golden ones in the sport and have more chances to come...

18:16 This picture says it all. Disappointment etched on the face of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and President Vladimir Putin as their team continues to trail Finland 3-1 in the third period. 

The emotions of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin will be seen on the faces of most Russians at the moment ©TwitterThe emotions of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin will be replicated on the faces of most Russians at the moment ©Twitter

18:06 Russia lead Finland on the shot count 24-17 after two periods in the ice hockey. But it is not shots that count and they trail 3-1 in the stakes that matter. Finland's goalkeeper Tuukka Rask has been outstanding so far. 

Big final period coming up though for both teams.

17:58 Mari Hemmer, of the new medal table topping country of Norway, is the current leader in the 5,000m speed skating. She went four seconds faster than Anna Chernova of Russia while Fujimura of Japan is now third. Still a long way to go though...

Mixed emotions in the ice hockey as Finland celebrate taking the lead over Russia ©Getty ImagesMixed emotions in the ice hockey as Finland celebrate taking the lead over Russia ©Getty Images

17:53 Into the final two minutes of the second period here. Russia are pushing forward but some heroic defence from the Finns and they remain 3-1 ahead.

17:45 It is the early stages of the women's 5,000m speed skating and Shoko Fujimura of Japan is the leader. She stopped the clock at 7 min 9.65 sec.

17:39 Speaking of the ice hockey - today's venue the Bolshoy Ice Dome is one of many arenas in Sochi which has had huge input from Olympic sponsors Dow in creating the perfect conditions for play. Reporter Nick Butler was taken on a tour of the Ice Dome to see just how far this involvement spans and his article, in the sustainability section of insidethegames, can be read here. 

17:36 Russia are pushing forward but Finland are still creating chances as well and currently lead 3-1 in a scoreline which is not as much of a shock as it may seem - when you remember that the Finns won Olympic medals at both Turin 2006 and Vancouver 2010. 

Quote graphic"I didn't have the support I needed. The USOC and the USSA do a great job but not everyone can be happy. I don't hold a grudge. I am here now doing what I want to do and it's all good. I woke up this morning and realised I have already made it here. I've made all my dreams come true."
-Parallel giant slalom snowboarding gold medal winner Vic Wild on his change of nationality from the US to Russia and on the delight of competing at an Olympic Games.

17:32 It has got worse for Russia. They have fallen 3-1 behind to Finland. A tap-in by Mikhael Granlund and the host nation's ice hockey medal hopes are hanging in the balance here. 

17:29 Next up in terms of medals we have the women's 5,000m speed skating and will we see more Dutch success in the Adler Arena? It gets underway in a matter of minutes.

17:25 There is a tense, tense atmosphere in the Bolshoy Ice Dome at the moment. Russia have had several chances but Finland are holding firm and - at the moment - there could be a major disappointment on the cards for the home fans here.

17:15 We have been talking about Finland's first gold medal of the Games - but maybe we should hold fire just for the moment. A jury decision is in process after a collision between Sami Jauhojaervi and Tim Tsharnke during the last leg of the men's team sprint classic final. 

Tsharnke was in the lead group at the beginning of his leg but after that collision he finished more than 40 seconds behind and well outside the medal places. We will keep you posted over the decisions of the appeal.

17:07 It gets better for Finland. As the hooter blows for the end of the first period, they lead Russia by two goals to one. The 43-year-old veteran Teemu Selanne blasts home to send the Bolshoy into stunned silence. 

Finland celebrate their first gold medal of 2014 as they hold off Russia ©Getty ImagesFinland celebrate their first gold medal of 2014 as they hold off Russia ©Getty Images

Bach offers support and sympathy to Ukrainian team

16:59 IOC President Thomas Bach has become the latest to offer his condolences to Ukraine.  

In a statement, he said: "I would like to offer my condolences to those who have lost loved ones in these tragic events. Our thoughts and sympathy are with the Ukrainian team at what must be a very difficult time.

"The way they have continued to represent their nation with great dignity is a credit to them and their country. Their presence here is a symbol that sport can build bridges and help to bring people from different backgrounds together in peace."

16:56 Amazingly that was Finland's first gold medal of the Games in the cross country. But, after a frantic afternoon, it is all change on the medals table as Norway dislodge long-time leaders Germany at the top. See the latest table here.

But there is much more to come this evening - with speed skating next up followed by biathlon and then bobsleigh.

16:53 Finland have hit back through Juhamatti Aaltonen and it is 1-1 with Russia in the ice hockey. Maybe my prediction was not quite so bad after all...

16:51 Sweden have beaten Switzerland 7-5 in the women's curling semi-final. So both matches have followed the form book and the Swedes face Canada in the final while Switzerland will face Britain - in a repeat of the Salt Lake City 2002 final - for bronze. 

16:49 There is a roar in the press room which can mean only one thing. Russia have scored - Ilya Kovalchuk with the strike - and they lead the Finns 1-0.

After predicting that Britain would shock Canada in the curling and then tipping Finland for an upset  in the ice hockey - it is fair to see I should not start visiting the bookmakers any time soon... 

16:45 And what a way to link in to the ice hockey which is just getting underway - Finland versus Russia. Will the Finns come out on top again?

Sochi 2014 gold medal16:40 A sensational finish to the cross-country and it's Finland who win the gold medal by less than a second from Russia - while Sweden take bronze.

Sami Jauhojaervi and Iivo Niskanen the winning team and 0.97 seconds the winning margin.

16:38 Finland and Russia have broken away here as Tim Tsharnke of Germany loses contact.

16:37 Canada are into the women's curling final. They hold their nerve in the final end and close out the match 6-4. But the other match is still going - with Sweden 6-5 up on Switzerland in the final end. 

16:32 Russia are leading the halfway point of the cross country relay and - if they stay in front - I think the cheers will be heard here in the Olympic Park. Wonderful atmosphere at the Laura Cross Country Centre but Germany, Finland and Switzerland are right there as well.

16:26 Meanwhile, we are into the final end in the curling - Great Britain have make it 5-4 but Canada have the hammer so it will be very tricky for Eve Muirhead's team here. 

16:19 It has been a frantic afternoon with four gold medals decided and not much time to picture them. But here are the four winners - from Switzerland, Russia, the US and Norway.

Switzerland's Patrizia Kummer slaloms her way to the first gold of the day ©Getty ImagesSwitzerland's Patrizia Kummer slaloms her way to the first gold of the day
©Getty Images

Vic Wild stayed just about stays upright to win gold for his adopted country of Russia ©AFP/Getty ImagesVic Wild stayed just about stays upright to win gold for his adopted country of Russia ©AFP/Getty Images

Ted Ligety celebrates after his historic giant slalom victory for the US ©AFP/Getty ImagesTed Ligety celebrates after his historic giant slalom victory for the US ©AFP/Getty Images

 Marit Bjoergen crosses the line first as Norway win the team sprint classic cross country ©AFP/Getty ImagesMarit Bjoergen crosses the line first as Norway win the team sprint classic cross country ©AFP/Getty Images

16:14 There is a big match in ice hockey about to begin as well at the Bolshoy Ice Dome - Finland against Russia. No prizes for guessing who is going to get the bulk of the crowd support, but don't write off the Finns just yet - they won silver in Turin and bronze in Vancouver and remain confident of their medal chances this time around...

We have the shortest of breaks in the medal action now until the men's cross country in a few moments time. 

In action elsewhere, it is still 5-3 to Canada in the curling in the ninth end - nervous the Great Britain as they hang on in there - while Switzerland are 5-4 up on Sweden.

16:02 Sochi 2014 gold medalNorway win the team sprint classic gold medal by nine seconds from Finland as Sweden take the bronze.

It is a Scandinavian clean sweep as Marit Bjoergen and Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg claim the gold medal for Norway. Bjoergen - who since winning skiathlon gold on the opening day of the Games,has endured a frustrating time - holding her nerve to win.

15:58 Marit Bjoergen is inching ahead now on the final leg - in pursuit of what will be her second gold of the Games.

15:54 Norway are leading in the women's cross country relay at the moment with Finland chasing them hard and Germany battling Sweden for bronze.

Sochi 2014 gold medal15:51 Ted Ligety wins the giant slalom gold medal for the US - the first ever non European Olympic champion in the event. He goes slower in his second run but still 0.48 seconds quicker than anyone else overall. 

Silver and bronze go to France. Steve Missillier stays in second place while in third it is Steve Pinturault.

15:46 Into the closing stages of the giant slalom with Steve Missillier of France in the lead - the women's cross country relay is just beginning.

15:40 We have cross country, giant slalom and curling to entertain us after that snowboard excitement - on this most medal strewn afternoon yet in Sochi.

It is not looking good for Britain in the curling. They trail Canada 5-3 after eight ends. But it remains locked at 3-3 between Sweden and Switzerland. 

Parallel slalom snowboard medal races

15:32 In case you are wondering, Wild was born in the US and formerly competed for the US until, after failing to land sponsorship, he married Russian girlfriend Zavarzina and gained citizenship in time for Sochi - where he has just won gold!

Sochi 2014 gold medal15:27 Will it be double gold for Switzerland? No - Galmarini loses pace in the tricky bottom section and Wild crosses the line two seconds ahead. Gold for Russia!

Gold medal winner Wild is married to Alena Zavarzina who won bronze moments ago. What a moment for the couple! 

15:23 Zan Kosir wins again to take bronze for Slovenia - and amend the ice hockey loss for his country earlier on.

15:22 And as the curlers break for water - or in the case of the British team, chocolate biscuits, between ends - we are straight on to the men's slalom snowboarding finals.

Sochi 2014 gold medal15:20 Drama! Takeuchi slides and falls and Switzerland's Patrizia Kummer crosses the line seven seconds ahead to win the gold. 

15:17 The cheers will tell you that Alena Zavarzina of Russia has fought back to win the bronze medal by 0.82 seconds after the times are combined. 

Meanwhile, it is now 4-3 to Canada in the curling. 

15:15 We are into the deciding medal races now...

15:14 On the men's side Galmarini holds his nerve for Switzerland over the crowd favourite Vic Wild - while Kosir of Slovenia wins the first bronze race.

15:11 So - the first of two medal races for the women and men and for gold and bronze. On the women's side Tomoka Takeuchi of Japan wins the first race for gold while Meschik of Austria leads in the battle for bronze. 

Afternoon sport and updates in Ukraine

15:04 We are also well into the second and final run of the giant slalom and, with the skiers going in reverse order from the first run, Benjamin Reich of Austria is the current leader. 

14:58 On the men's side Nevin Galmarini of Switzerland will face Vic Wild of Russia for gold. The battle for bronze will be between Zan Kosir of Slovenia and Patrick Bussler of Germany.

14:55 Our two finalists in women's parallel halfpipe snowboarding are Tomoka Takeuchi of Japan and Patrizia Kummer of Switzerland. 

Ina Meschik of Austria will face Elena Zavarzina of Russia in the bronze medal "small final"

Both are imminent. 

14:53 In curling Sweden lead Switzerland 3-2 while the British have fought back but still trail Canada 4-2 in the other match. 

14:50 Once again the sport has fallen by the wayside a little on the insidethegames radar at least this afternoon - but you are about to receive a round-up to rival or round-ups.

14:34 Lviv 2022 chief executive Sergej Gontcharov has admitted that "without doubt" the situation in Ukraine is affecting their Olympic bid.

"I am shocked and deeply saddened by the violent escalation of the conflict in Ukraine," he tells insidethegames.

"Without doubt, it affects our bid as well: It is hard to focus on our bid operations under such circumstances. Events at home right now are of course our most important concern.  Obviously, the conflict needs to be resolved before we can seriously be considered as hosts of the Winter Games.

"Still, I remain confident that we will come out of this conflict stronger as a nation. I do hope for a quick and peaceful resolution while I remain very concerned about the current events.

"We have worked very hard on our bid and of course we still dream of hosting the Games in Lviv. We remain hopeful that the dream of hosting the 2022 Winter Games will help further a peaceful dialogue in Ukraine.

"The project Lviv-2022, the concept that is based on real needs and the legacy that it can create is something that we still strive for. It is a project that is needed for our country regardless of bidding and would benefit generations to come, irrespective of current events.

"The bid, our dream of hosting the Winter Games, has the potential to unite our people. This is the power of sports and the beauty of the Olympic ideals. But, before we can continue our path successfully, we need to peacefully resolve the situation in our home country."

Read out evolving article here for more information.

twitter logoDeep condolences to victims in Kyiv. My appeal to all sides: please remember the tradition of Olympic Truce, lay down weapons!
- The latest tweet by Sergey Bubka reacting to developments in Ukraine.

14:16 But it is Canada who strike first and go 2-0 up after one end. Swedish success continues as they take a 1-0 lead over Switzerland at a similar stage in the other semi-final.

14:12 The women's curling semi-finals have begun. Compared to that with Australia, Germany, the US, Argentina,  and France, it is fair to say that Britain's sporting rivalry with Canada is not that fierce. 

It will be this afternoon. It is the tournaments only unbeaten team up against the world champions (albeit in Scottish rather than British colours)

A second goal from Hagelin and Sweden eventually win their quarter-final 5-0 after something of a Slovenian capitulation in the final period. The Swedes will face either Russia or Finland in the semi-finals.

It is relay day in cross country skiing as conditions improve on the mountains ©Getty ImagesIt is relay day in cross country skiing as conditions improve on the mountains
©Getty Images

13:58 More good news for Sweden as they finish second behind Norway in the women's cross country relay semi-final. The Swedes have already won double gold in biathlon relays, can they continue their run?

The first two from each semi-final qualify automatically and are joined by the six fastest other teams. These "lucky losers" are Russia, the United States. Germany, Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland - with Finland and Poland the two automatic qualifiers from the first race.

13:56 Make that 4-0. The Slovenian defence has cracked and then completely given way as Carl Hagelin bursts through to tap home and make it 4-0. Sweden are heading into the semi-finals...

13:53 Sweden's class has told in the ice hockey as they score twice in third period to move 3-0 ahead of Slovakia. Daniel Sedin and Loui Eriksson the two to find the net. 

13:48 A message, in a similar vein to the one posted earlier by Sergey Bubka, has been posted on behalf of Ukrainian athletes competing at Sochi 2014 on the National Olympic Committee website. After beginning by expressing shock at the events that occurred yesterday in Kyiv, it includes an "appeal for peace and mutual understanding and to find a positive way forward for Ukraine." Read the full message here.

Sporting update

13:44 I am getting nervous just typing this but - in 15 minutes - we have the women's semi-finals in curling: Switzerland v Sweden and unbeaten Canada v Great Britain. 

13:39 After a couple of days with no cross-country action we are back underway in earnest this afternoon with both the men and women's classic sprint relay events. First up it is the women's. 

Two in a team - six legs with skiers alternations so skiing three time each. Get it? The two automatic qualifiers from the first of two semi-finals are Finland and Poland. 

13:34 We are also underway in the women's parallel giant slalom snowboarding quarter-finals. Tomoka Takeuchi of Japan, Caroline Calve of France and Marianne Leeson of Canada winning the first three heats.

13:30 Sweden remain 1-0 against Slovenia in the ice hockey - the Slovenians giving a good account of themselves at the Bolshoy Ice Dome but Alexander Steen's goal still separates the sides.

13:25 Right, after a while where we were sidelined by the reaction to the Ukraine developments, it is back to the sport this afternoon as we prepare for a gold medal crescendo over the next few hours.

Bubka ready to do everything he can to stop violence in Ukraine (see 12:51 for more)

 'I'm ready to do everything I can to stop violence in Ukraine, claims Sergey Bubka in his latest blog post on his personal website this afternoon. The full piece can be read here.

12:58 Returning to the sport this afternoon - we have the knock out runs in both the men and women's slalom snowboarding underway while the women's team sprint event in cross country starts in half an hours time. 

Criticism of violence in Ukraine from Sergey Bubka - see our latest article here.

These words come as Ukrainian police launch a new attack on protesters in Kyiv this morning as President Viktor Yanukovych blames opposition leaders for violence which caused an estimated 25 deaths yesterday.

twitter logoOur athletes are competing hard in Sochi, but peacefully and with honour. Violence has no place in the World.
IOC member and President of the Ukrainian Olympic Committee Sergey Bubka tweets following the further deterioration of the situation in his country yesterday.

twitter logoI want to bring Olympic Truce to my country.Dialogue is power, violence is weakness.
The first of two messages posted in the last few minutes by Sergey Bubka.

Afternoon sport in Sochi 

12:41 Sweden have broken the deadlock. Alexander Steen scores his first goal of the tournament with only 90 seconds remaining in the first period. The world champions lead surprise package Slovenia 1-0.

12:35 Considering this is the 17th edition it is quite a statistic that there has never been a non-European winner of the men's giant slalom. There has only ever been one non-European medal winner before. That was Bode Miller who took US silver at Salt Lake City 2002. 

Ted Ligety could make history this afternoon.

Quote graphic"Sometimes my best or fastest run doesn't feel like that. Today I actually felt at times that I was going a little too cautiously, but I managed to get a nice buffer."
"I'm 50 per cent of the way there, I have to go hard the second run. This is skiing - it's the least guaranteed sport for getting a medal. Anything can still happen, I just have to stick with my skiing."
US leader Ted Ligety after the first run of the giant slalom. He is bidding to become the first non-European Olympic champion in this event.

12:27 It remains 0-0 in the match incidentally as we near the end of the first period. The winner of this match will face either Finland or Russia - who are on next at 16:30.

The other matches are both this evening at 21:00. Canada face Latvia at the Bolshoy Ice Dome while the US versus the Czech Republic will take place next door at the Shayba Arena. 

So we are guaranteed at least one European team in the final. 

12:20 First IOC member related post of the day as Swedish member Stefan Holm enjoys the first of the ice hockey quarter finals - between his country and Slovenia. 

Holm is clipping at Claudia Bokel's heels in the race to be the most active IOC member tweeter - after Bokel has been less vocal in recent days. Too many German gold medals to enjoy I expect...

IOC member Stefan Holm watches his Sweden team take on Slovenia ©TwitterIOC member Stefan Holm watches his Sweden team take on Slovenia ©Twitter

12:12 An unchanged top three in the giant slalom as we come towards the end of the first run. Ligety from Bank from Simoncelli. Matthias Mayer of Austria is equal fourth. It seems a very long time ago that he won the downhill title. 

11:59 The first ice hockey encounter of the day is also just about to start at the Bolshoy Arena and it should be a cracker as world champions Sweden take on the surprise package of the tournament so far, Slovenia.

A busy press briefing this morning then - with a whole range of issues discusses - but we will turn our attention back to sport now where Ted Ligety of the US still leads by a distance in the first run of the giant slalom. 

In second place lies Ondrej Bank of the Czech Republic while Davide Simoncelli of Italy is third. 

Ted Ligety leads the way in the first run of the giant slalom ©AFP/Getty ImagesTed Ligety leads the way in the first run of the giant slalom ©AFP/Getty Images

IOC press briefing and slalom snowboard and skiing action

Final question on the condition of injured Russian skier Maria Komissarova in hospital in Munich. "We have no latest update, but will try and find out and get back to you on that," concludes Adams - before giving us the latest on the whereabouts of Thomas Bach.

The President is at snowboard, cross country and biathlon mixed relay today. Busy day then in the mountains. 

Impact on Lviv 2022? "At the moment we should focus on what is happening," says Adams. "The Games would be seven years away, and it is not really right to be speculating on an Olympic bid when this is going on." 

More on Ukraine. Adams knows no details on communication with the Ukrainian NOC as of yet, and of how the athletes are bearing up in the weight of the escalation of protests yesterday - where up to 20 protesters were reportedly killed.

Interesting question here - Does the IOC want to leave a human rights legacy from the Olympic Games?

Our primary ambition is to respect the Olympic Charter, says Adams. But he adds that the Olympics sheds light on a whole range of issues. This is not our fundamental aim, but can only be a good thing, and it is up to you - the press - to decide how much you want to focus on this."

Lumme is now describing broadcasting success in East Asia, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa - we are getting into new markets for winter sports, he says, before playing down the impact of "fragmentation" of viewing figures due to the ever-escalating amount of ways to watch the Games. 

"Yes there is a fragmentation but there is a growth in the overall audience because thy can access the Games that was never possible before anywhere and anytime."

Questions now on figure skating judging, conditions in the skiing and the future of the Olympic television channel.

Ted Ligety of the US is the early leader in the giant slalom. The American is yet to win a medal in Sochi but stops the clock at 1 min 21.08 sec. Thomas Fanara and Alexis Pinturault of France lie second and third. 

After condolences on deterioration of the political situation in Ukraine, we are onto the non-payment of migrant workers. An example of us working with the authorities, says Adams. 

"Probably not absolutely everyone has been paid, but we have shown really firm action and demonstrated a real will to remedy this situation," he adds. "More than eight million dollars has now been paid." It is explained how the fact that many workers do not have a bank account has not prevented payments from going through.

Questions about pins and how engaged youth is in Sochi 2014...and now on a Belgian medal winner wearing a rainbow lining to her coat. Mark Adams is "very relaxed" and unconcerned about this. You may even see a rainbow over the Park at times, he adds. 

First question is on discrimination in the wake of those arrests yesterday of human rights activists including two members of Pussy Riot. IOC spokesman Mark Adams insists that have had assurances that the Olympic Charter will be respected - and says, as far as he understands, the arrest of the Pussy Riot members was not in relation to the Games.

We have had good results when we have raised things with the Russian authorities, says Adams, but he also reiterates the fact that the IOC is not a supranational organisation like the United Nations with the power to inflict rules on countries. 

11:11 Lumme also reflects about the shift from black and white to colour television before reflecting that today's equivalent is the switch from television to mobile platforms. 

The renewal of TOP sponsorship with Panasonic and Atos is also praised as well as the broadcasting success of Sochi 2014 organisers.

The theme this morning is broadcasting and Timo Lumme, managing director of IOC television & marketing services, begins with a whole repertoire of impressive statistics.

In the most successful WInter Olympic broadcasting ever, with 464 television channels compared with 240 during Vancouver 2010, with 310 of those free to view. On all platforms this reaches a total of 102,000 hours of coverage.

In Russia three quarters of the population have watched some of the Games, as have half of the US populations, 90 per cent of the Canadian one - and a whopping 190 million people in China.  

It is 11:00 and you know what that means. The start of the giant slalom skiing - but also the daily IOC and Sochi 2014 press briefing.

The scene is all set. The Australian Olympic team post a beautiful picture of the snowy mountains ahead of the men's giant slalom competition.

The scene in the mountains ahead of the men's giant slalom competition ©TwitterThe scene in the mountains ahead of the men's giant slalom competition ©Twitter

10:43 No change at the end of the men's parallel giant slalom snowboard qualification. The two Russians Wild and Sobolev remain quickest and we are straight on into the women's elimination action...

720 Japan's, water-skiing and eating for Australia: best quotes of Day 11...

Quote graphic"Right-side 900 tail grab, left-side dub (double-corked) 1260 mute, right 720 opposite mute, switch left 720 Japan, right dub 1260 mute."
Ski halfpipe judge Simon Tjerstroem when asked how David Wise of the US claimed the gold medal.

Quote graphic"My dad and I had to set up the BVI ski association. We are pretty much the ski association. When we first went to the BVI Olympic Committee, they thought I was talking about water skiing."
Ski halfpipe athlete Peter Crook, the first representative from the British Virgin Islands in 30 years. He still finished 21st.

Quote graphic"We will try and take a little bit of weight out of the sled. We managed to eat maybe a little bit too much over the past few days and didn't realise we had gone that heavy."
Driver Astrid Radjenovic on how Australia's two-man bobsleigh team can improve on 14th place. "We ate for Australia," team-mate Jana Pittman adds.

10:22 If you cannot get enough of this slalom action you won't have long to wait for more - the men's giant slalom skiing variety is getting underway at 11:00.

Another highlight later today which we have yet to mention is the biathlon mixed relay. Surely this will mark the moment where Norway's Ole Einer Bjoerndalen wins his record 13th Olympic medal. But we have predicted that with similar confidence before... The likes of Sweden, France, Russia and the Czech Republic will be out to stop him.

10:17 Back in the slalom, and the quickest performers have now been Russians down both sides of the course as Andrey Sobolev clocks 47.19 seconds for the blue run

10:14 A couple of beautiful scenery shots are the best of the daily selection of Instagram photos that we have seen this morning...

A stunning snap of th

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About the author

Duncan Mackay Editor

Duncan Mackay

Duncan Mackay is the founding editor of, the world’s leading and most influential independent Olympic news website. He was voted the British Sports Writer of the Year in 2004, British News Story of the Year in 2004 and British Sports Internet Reporter of the Year in 2009. Mackay is one of Britain's best-connected journalists and during the 16 years he worked at The Guardian and The Observer he regularly broke several major exclusive stories. He was also the only newspaper journalist in Britain to correctly predict that London would win its bid for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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