The Sochi Winter Olympics have entered their final weekend, with Canada celebrating and a German biathlete wondering how she could have tested positive for a banned substance.
Canadian fans and athletes alike had reason to rejoice on Friday, having taken two more gold medals. The first came when the Canadian men won their third successive Olympic curling event; the second came when Marielle Thompson and Kelsey Serwa finished one-two in the women's ski cross.
Perhaps more important for the Canadians, however, was the1-0 victory
for the men's ice-hockey team over the United States in the event's semifinals - a replay of the final played in Vancouver four years ago. In the other semifinal, Sweden beat Finland 2-1 to reach Sunday's gold-medal game.
But it was a disappointing day for Germany. Not only did Alpine skier Maria Höfl-Riesch fail to earn a medal in the slalom, but there was also the news that biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehlehad tested positive for a banned substance.
The former cross-country skier was disqualified and sent home after her "B" sample came back positive on Friday, following the initial positive result of the "A" sample late on Thursday.
For her part, Höfl-Riesch finished fourth in the slalom, behind American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin, who took gold, and two Austrians in Marlies Schild and Katrin Zettel, who took silver and bronze respectively.
Friday also saw the second doping case of these games, when the Italian Olympic Committee announced that a bobsledder in its four-man team, William Frullani, had also tested positive and been sent home.
The Ukrainian women managed to shake of the images of the tragic events of the past few days in Kyiv to deliver a gold-winning performance in the 4 x 6 km biathlon relay. The Ukrainians led from start to finish, beating the Russians, who took gold, by 26.4 seconds. Norway took the bronze medal.
In short-track speed-skating, South Korean-born Victor Ahn won two more gold medals on Friday to take his career total to six - the most anyone has won in the sport. Ahn, who now skates for Russia, first took gold in the men's 500 m. Then, just minutes later, he was part of the Russian team that took gold in the 5,000 m relay, setting a new Olympic record in the event.
The short-track skater, previously known as Ahn Hyun Soo, was granted Russian citizenship in 2011 after he fell out with South Korean sporting officials. Shortly afterwards he took Victor as his new first name and began competing under the Russian flag, immediately becoming the country's best in the sport.
On the women's side, South Korea's Park Seung-Hi won the women's 1,000 m, adding to the gold she won in the 3,000 m relay earlier during these Games.
pfd/ph (AFP, Reuters, dpa, AP, SID)