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Olympics

Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu becomes first Asian man to win figure skating gold

Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu has become the first Asian man to win the men's Olympic figure skating title. Meanwhile, Swiss skier Dario Cologna has won his second Sochi gold and Belarus topped the podium for the third time.

Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan became the first Asian man to win the men's Olympic figure skating title on Friday, one day after smashing the 100-point barrier in the short program. The 19-year-old won with a total of 280.09.

However, the men's competition was riddled with crash landings and flawed performances that caused setbacks for several medal hopefuls.

"Oh my God, I was so nervous... I was so surprised," Hanyu said when he realized his own mistakes had not cost him the gold.

Canada's Patrick Chan, who was not immune from falling, came in second with a score of 275.62.

Kazakhstan's Denis Ten roared back from ninth place following the short program with a stellar performance to nab bronze.

The competition did not, however, see Russia's Yevgeny Plushenko perform as he stunned the skating world on Thursday by withdrawing from the men's individual event due to injury.

Viletta super-combined champion

Fellow Swiss Sandro Viletta stunned the favorites in the super-combined on Friday, finishing in a two-run combined time of 2 minutes, 45.20 seconds to grab gold. Croatia's Ivica Kostelic took his third-consecutive Olympic silver in the event, finishing 0.34 seconds behind. Christof Innerhofer of Italy added to his downhill silver by coming in third, 0.47 seconds back.

Olympiade Sotschi 2014 Sandro Viletta

Viletta was the unexpected champion Friday

Viletta stood in just 14th place after the morning's downhill run, but put in an excellent slalom performance that won him his first-ever Olympic gold medal.

It was an unexpected result from the 27-year-old Swiss skier. Favorites Ted Ligety of the US and France's Alexis Pinturault failed to meet expectations. Ligety made a costly mistake in the downhill and ended up 12th. Pinturault straddled a gate while leading the times and went out.

The 2010 champion Bode Miller did his best to make up for an eighth place finish in the downhill, but the American had to make do with sixth overall.

The course was made especially challenging by the warm temperatures, causing many skiers to straddle or catch their skies and fall.

Darya Domracheva's gold in the 15 km biathlon was one of two for Belarus on Friday. Photo: dpa

Darya Domracheva's gold in the 15 km biathlon was one of two for Belarus on Friday.

Women fire for Belarus

In the women's 15 km individual biathlon, Belarus claimed both gold and bronze. Darya Domracheva topped the podium, with countrywoman Nadezhda Skardino finishing 1 minute 38.2 seconds behind to finish third. Swiss Selina Gasparin crossed the line in between the two Belarusians to win silver. It was Domracheva's second gold medal of the Games, having already won the 10 km pursuit.

It was a superb day for Belarus, who added a third gold to their tally through Alla Tsuper's win in the women's aerials final. Tsuper held off Mengtao Xu of China and defending champion Lydia Lassila of Australia to win gold. Lassila failed to land her final jump, the highest-difficulty attempt of the day.

The United Kingdom picked up their first gold medal when Lizzy Yarnold triumphed in the women's skeleton bob. She finished .97 seconds ahead of silver medallist Noelle Pikus-Pace and 1.41 seconds ahead of third-placed Russian Elena Nikitina.

Cologna claims second gold

Cologna dominated Friday's classical-style race on Friday at the Laura Biathlon and Cross-Country Complex, winning in 38 minutes 29.7 seconds. Finishing a staggering 28.5 seconds back was Sweden's 50 km world champion Johan Olsson. A strong finish from fellow Swede Daniel Richardsson earned him third.

Many of the skiers wore short sleeves on another day of relatively warm temperatures, with highs of 14 degrees Celsius (57 degrees Fahrenheit).

The 27-year-old Cologna, who only entered the season two weeks ago after undergoing ankle surgery in November, started 30 seconds behind Olsson but had taken the lead after the 8 km mark and never looked back.

The first-place finish marks Cologna's second winning performance after his gold medal in the 30 km skiathlon on Sunday. He becomes the first skier to ever win an Olympic 15 km race twice in a row and the second double-gold medalist at Sochi after French biathlete Martin Fourcade.

"It's amazing. I couldn't believe the first gold medal, after being injured, and now the second. It was the perfect race. I knew it would be hard and I was prepared for it," said Cologna, who also won gold in the 15 km freestyle at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

"The first gold was emotional after coming back from injury, the second is unbelievable," he added.

dr,ph/hc (Reuters, dpa, AP)

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