Germany′s Maria Höfl-Riesch wins super combined gold at Sochi Olympics | The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang | DW | 10.02.2014
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Germany's Maria Höfl-Riesch wins super combined gold at Sochi Olympics

Maria Höfl-Riesch has won the super combined skiing gold medal, Germany's second of the Games. Meanwhile, Canada has picked up three more medals to put it at the top of the medals standings.

Höfl-Riesch on Monday defended the gold medal she had won in the Vancouver Olympics four years ago, clocking a combined time of 2 minutes 34.62 seconds.

The 29-year-old German won it with an excellent slalom run, posting a time of 50.90 seconds, after having been only fifth best in the downhill, with a time of 1 minute 43.72 seconds.

Nicole Hosp of Austria came in second with a combined time just 0.40 seconds slower than the German to claim the silver medal. American Julia Mancuso, who was in the lead following the downhill portion of the event, was 0.53 slower than Höfl-Riesch, and had to settle for bronze.

Höfl-Riesch, who won gold in both the super combined and the slalom in Vancouver, was overcome with emotion.

"It's an overwhelming feeling, especially after the downhill," she said shortly afterwards. "This is the best thing that an athlete can experience, winning the gold medal in your first competition here."

Höfl Riesch also confirmed that the Rosa Khutor slalom run, which four of the fastest women in the downhill failed to complete, had been a challenge.

"The course was difficult to ski, but fast at the same time," Höfl-Riesch told ARD German public television.

Dutch domination

In other action on Monday the Dutch speedskaters took their domination of the oval to a new level, not only taking all three places on the podium, but of those, two are brothers.

Michel Mulder took the gold medal, edging his Dutch team-mate, Jan Smeekens into second place by 12 thousandths of a second. The bronze went to Michel’s twin brother Ronald.

Olympische Winterspiele Sotschi 2014

Smeekens (left) celebrates with twin brothers Michel and Ronald Mulder

"It is a dream, of course, to come here, me and my twin brother," Michel said afterwards. "It would be the perfect scenario to be 1-2, but together on the podium is amazing."

Olympic biathlon legend Ole Einar Bjoerndalen went into the12.5-kilometer pursuit hoping to seize the chance to become the outright medals leader in terms of Olympic Winter Games. However, following his fourth-place finish on Monday, Bjoerndalen remains tied with his Norwegian compatriot, former cross-country skier Bjoern Daehli on 12 career medals.

Gold went to France’s Martin Fourcade, who dominated the competition, beginning his celebration after hitting all five targets in his final round of shooting. A few minutes later, he crossed the finish line at a leisurely pace.

"I knew that if I shot clean, I was Olympic champion. So my gesture was because I was so happy. It was no arrogance at all," Fourcade explained.

Ondrej Moravec of the Czech Republic took the silver medal, followed by Fourcade’s French teammate, Jean Guillaume Beatrix, who won bronze.

Canadians set the pace

Finally, a couple more gold medals put Canada top of the medals standings after Monday's action.

First, Charles Hamelin claimed his third career Olympic gold, winning the 1,500 meters in short-track speedskating. Seventeen-year-old Han Tianyu of China took the silver, while Victor Ahn earned the bronze - Russia’s first-ever medal on the short track.

In the final event of the day, Alex Bilodeau retained his Olympic men's moguls title with a stunning score of 26.31. Canada also took silver through Mikael Kingsbury, while Alexandr Smyshlyaev captured the bronze medal.

Germany finished the day in fifth place in the overall medals standings, with two medals, both of which are gold, after Felix Loch had opened Germany's account with his win in the luge on Sunday.

pfd/dr (AP, AFP, dpa, SID)

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