Germany has won silver in the men's Nordic combined at Sochi, falling to Norway in a thriller. Seventeen-year-old Russian Adelina Sotnikova has become her country's first-ever figure skating gold medalist.
Germany's men's Nordic combined team came from behind to take the large hill segment Thursday, capitalizing on a poor Group 4 from Austria to finish on 481.7 points. Austria, which was the gold medalist at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010, had led by 7.1 points ahead of the latest stage but scored a poor 109.5 to relinquish top spot to the Germans.
It meant Germany were handed a 7 second lead going into the cross country. But they had a battle on their hands almost immediately when the 4x5 km relay began with strong starts from Austria and Norway.
The three teams were locked together for most of the final leg, with Norway's Joergen Graabak finally holding off Fabian Riessel over the final 100 m to win by 0.3 seconds.
The other three athlete's in Germany's four-man team - Johannes Rydzek, Eric Frenzel and Björn Kircheisen - helped their country win bronze in the same event four years ago in Vancouver.
In the men's ski cross finals, France completed a clean sweep. Jean-Frederic Chapuis, 24, ensured his first Winter Olympics medal was a gold one, with countrymen Arnaud Bovolenta and Jonathan Midol trailing him in first and second place respectively.
In the women's ski halfpipe, American Maddie Bowman won gold, while France's Marie Martinod took silver and Ayana Onozuka of Japan captured bronze. Bowman's medal was the US' eighth in freestyle skiing.
Russian figure skating history
Russian Adelina Sotnikova became her country's first-ever figure skating gold medalist. The 17-year-old's score of 224.59 points was 5.48 better than 2010 gold medalist Kim Yuna of South Korea. Italy's Carolina Kostner finished third.
Despite error-free performances from Kim and Kostner, and Sotnikova's mistake of two-footing her double loop in her combination jump, the judges handed the Russian the highest score.
"Today I realized that I really love what I do and I can skate very well," said Sotnikova.
Hockey, Curling gold for Canada
Marie-Philip Poulin scored the equalizing and overtime winning goals in the women's ice hockey gold medal match against the United States. The win was Canada's fourth women's Olympic title in the sport.
Switzerland bested Sweden 4-3 earlier in the day to win bronze.
Canada won the women's curling final 6-3 over Sweden. It is the country's first women's Olympic curling gold since the 1998 Games, and revenge for the 2010 defeat to the Swedes on home soil in Vancouver.
The Canadians were led by skipper Jennifer Jones, who ensured her team finished undefeated in the tournament, winning 11 straight games.
"It's just crazy. It's a dream come true. It's just amazing," Jones said. "We just had the best week of our lives. We are gold medallists."
Great Britain won their women's curling bronze medal matchup earlier in the day against Switzerland 6-5.
Hockey shame continues for Russia
Meanwhile, host Russia's defeated men's ice hockey side was the focus of the local media on Thursday, a day after the team lost to Finland, shutting them out of the contest at the quarterfinal stage. Newspaper Kommersant said the Russian team had been "burned in the Finnish sauna," while Sovietsky Sport labeled the defeat "shameful."
Expectations of a medal were high for Russia in a marquee event in which they had never won gold after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Instead, it proved to be a poor campaign, with coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov's men underwhelming throughout.
After winning their first group match over Slovenia, Russia lost in a shootout against the USA and then needed a shootout win of their own over Slovakia to reach the knockout stage.
Russia overcame a slow start to beat Norway 4-0, but its run came to an end with its 1-3 loss to Finland.
"Inside, I'm absolutely empty," said captain Pavel Datsyuk. "There were great hopes placed on us and we didn't live up to them. All the boys did all they could today."
ph,dr/ipj (dpa, AFP)