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Olympics: Germany enjoys historic clean sweep

February 15, 2022

Germany swept the medals in the two-man bobsleigh as Francesco Friedrich successfully defended his title. Elsewhere, Germany's ice hockey team failed to replicate the success of 2018 as they were dumped out by Slovakia.

Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis celebrate their gold medal in the two-man bobsleigh at the Winter Olympics in Beijing
Friedrich and Margis led a German one-two-three in the two-man bob, with the four-man providing another chance for goldImage: DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP

Francesco Friedrich retained his Olympic two-man bobsleigh crown with a storming display of piloting on Tuesday as Germany won gold, silver and bronze in Beijing - the first time a single nation has swept all the medals in a bobsleigh event at the Winter Olympics.

He said he was "proud" that Germany dominated the podium at the Yanqing National Sliding Center. "We all gave our best."

However, the police officer from Dresden is already plotting the defence of his four-man title when the heats start on Saturday.

He had little time to celebrate his two-man gold "because we carry straight on, tomorrow morning we have four-man training. It's been a really tough competition so far."

Friedrich only held a slender overnight lead over German team-mate Johannes Lochner and his teammate Florian Bauer, but stamped his authority in Tuesday's first heat with a new track record.

The 31-year-old and his brakeman Thorsten Margis then built up their lead, clocking a winning combined time of 3:56.89 as Lochner took silver at 0.49 back. Christoph Hafer and Matthias Sommer took bronze 1.69 seconds back, a huge margin in the high-speed sport.

German racers have now won 12 of the 24 medals awarded in Yanqing, including seven of the eight golds, after sweeping the luge and skeleton events

However, Kaillie Humphries broke the Germans' domination on Monday when she won gold in the inaugural monobob.

Germany's Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis celebrate on the podium with their gold medals with Germany's Johannes Lochner and Florian Bauer with their silver medals and Germany's Christoph Hafer and Matthias Sommer who won the bronze medals during the venue ceremony after the 2-man bobsleigh event at the Yanqing National Sliding Center during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games
Clean sweep: Germany won all six medals on offer in the men's two-man bobsleigh.Image: DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP

Ruthless Slovakia knock out Germany

Germany are out of the men's ice hockey tournament at the playoff stage following a humbling 4-0 defeat at the hands of a ruthless Slovakia.

Toni Soderholm's team had entered the knockout round in a confident mood on the back of a positive performance in the narrow 3-2 group stage defeat against the United States.

But their hopes of setting up a quarterfinal against the Americans were quickly snuffed out by Slovakia, who raced into a 3-0 lead thanks to goals from Libor Hudacek (12'), Peter Cehlarik (28') and Michal Kristof (29').

Germany rallied, but Marek Hrivik (58') sealed their fate in the third period with a fourth goal while Germany played without a goalie. Tempers then boiled over when David Wolf came to blows with Slovakia's Hudacek and was forced to sit out the closing stages.

Four years ago in Pyeongchang, the playoff stage proved to be a springboard for Germany as a dramatic extra-time win against Switzerland set them on their way to a historic silver medal, electrifying fans at home.

But there was to be no repeat in Beijing.

A golden day for Norway

Norway have also had a golden day: Vetle Sjastad Christiansen surged dramatically from fourth to first in the Men's biathlon 4 x 7.5km relay, leading his team to gold ahead of France and the ROC with a 10 out of 10 on the range. Philipp Nawrath's late effort was in vain as Germany finished just outside the medals.

The Norwegians also held off the ROC to defend their title in the final of the men's team pursuit speed skating, finishing 2.39 seconds ahead of the Russians with a time of 3:38:07. Still, silver represented a first Olympic medal for the ROC in this event after they dramatically beat Team USA in the semifinal. The Americans saw off the Netherlands in the bronze medal race.

And finally, there was Norwegian gold in the Nordic Combined courtesy of Joergen Graabak, with teammate Jens Luras Ofterbro making it a one-two with silver. There might have been even more glory for Norway had Jarl Magnus Riiber not taken a wrong turn at the start of the first lap.

Germany's late replacement callup Manuel Faisst dropped out of the podium on the final straight as he finally ran out of strength.

Golds for Switzerland and Austria

Anna Gasser of Austria won snowboarding gold in the women's snowboarding big air with a total score of 185.50, beating off competition from New Zealand's Zoi Sadowski Synnott (silver) and Japanese duo Kokomo Murase (bronze) and Reira Iwabuchi (fourth).

Gasser, who only started snowboarding 12 years ago at the age of 18, defended her Olympic title from Pyeongchang by landing the first double cork 1260 in women's snowboard history.

Gold medalist Anna Gasser of Austria reacts to her run during the women's snowboard big air finals of the 2022 Winter Olympics
Ann Gasser won her second Olympic goldImage: Jae C. Hong/AP Photo/picture alliance

Gold in the men's big air went to Su Yiming of China with a score of 182.50.

On the piste, Corinne Suter of Switzerland took gold in the alpine downhill, edging out tough Italian competition from Sofia Goggia (silver), Nadia Delago (bronze) and Elena Curtoni (fifth). Germany's Kira Weidle finished just outside the medals in fourth.

Compatriot Mathilde Gremaud added to the Swiss gold medal haul in the women's freestyle.

Skating drama between Canada and Japan

Ivanie Blondin, Valérie Maltais and Isabelle Weidemann won Canada's second gold medal of the Games in the women's team pursuit speed skating. A catastrophic slip from Japan's Nana Tagaki on the final corner allowed the Canadians to stroll in front for the win.

It was also a special personal achievement for Valérie Maltais, who became just the third athlete in the world to win an Olympic medal on the short track and long track.

Edited by Janek Speight

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