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Dublin: 10°C Saturday 24 October 2020
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Winter Olympic Village, Day 14

We revisit the penultimate day of action in Sochi

Pic of the day

Sochi Olympics Figure Skating Source: Bernat Armangue

(Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the United States perform during the figure skating exhibition gala – AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Talking points

  • More success for record-breaker Matt: Mario Matt became the oldest Olympic skiing champion on Saturday when he won a chaotic men’s slalom. The 34-year-old Matt, a two-time slalom world champion, proved unbeatable over the two runs, finishing with a combined time of 1min 41.84sec to close the skiing competition. His Austrian compatriot Marcel Hirscher, the reigning world champion, finished second at 0.28sec, with young Norwegian sensation Henrik Kristoffersen taking bronze at 0.83sec.
  • Lisogor caught up in doping scandal: The Olympics were hit by a third doping case after Ukrainian cross country skier Marina Lisogor tested positive for the banned substance trimetazidine. The Ukrainian Olympic Committee said Lisogor, 30, told a disciplinary hearing that she had unwittingly consumed the substance in a medicine. The case came a day after news of failed tests for German biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle and Italian bobsledder William Frullani.
  • Koreans question judging: Saturday was also a day of protests with the Korean Skating Union asking the International Skating Union to review the judging that saw women’s figure skate gold go to Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova rather than Kim Yu-Na. France’s podium sweep in the freestyle ski cross was also in jeopardy after Canada and Slovenia protested to the Court of Arbitration for Sport that the winners had altered the aerodynamic features of the competitors’ trousers.
  • Bjoergen claims sixth gold: Norwegian cross country skier Marit Bjoergen won the women’s 30km mass start, taking her sixth Olympic gold to become the most successful woman in Olympic Winter Games history. In a clean sweep for Norway, Bjoergen showed her usual supremacy in the sprint finish, coming home ahead of Therese Johaug and Kristin Stoermer Steira. Bjoergen has now equalled the record of Soviet speed skater Lidia Skoblikova and Russian cross country skier Lyubov Yegorova in taking six golds at the Winter Olympics.
  • Russia goes wild: Russia’s American-born snowboarder Vic Wild claimed his second gold in Sochi as he stormed to parallel slalom victory while Austria’s Julia Dujmovits took the women’s title.
  • Dutch dominate speed skating: The Dutch speed skaters won both the men’s and women’s team pursuit titles in a fitting end to a dominant showing in Sochi. The Netherlands won 23 of the 36 medals on offer, bagging eight of the 12 golds.

You said what?

Marina Lisogor on testing positive for a banned substance: “I ask forgiveness from those who will see this and be disappointed or upset. But there was no intent or desire to take a banned substance.”

Newly crowned giant slalom champion Ted Ligety expresses reservations with Sochi’s challenging conditions: ”(It’s) borderline unsportsmanlike to set those kinds of courses on these kinds of hills.”

Moment that took our breath away (not in a good way)

Footage has emerged of Olympic gold medalist Adelina Sotnikova hugging a Russian figure-skating judge just minutes after her highly controversial victory.

h/t Business Insider.

Hero of the day

It’s a tie between Mario Matt, who became the oldest Olympic skiing champion ever, and Norwegian cross country skier Marit Bjoergen, who took her tally of gold medals to six.

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Irish eye

Conor Lyne produced a highly commendable performance, as he finished 40th in the men’s slalom.

The best thing we read today

This piece by Owen Gibson on Sochi’s legacy is well worth a few minutes of your time.

(Via the official site of the Winter Olympics)

What’s happening tomorrow

The Cross country skiing — men’s mass start starts at 7am. Norway’s Petter Northug is the clear favourite, though Johan Olsson is also among the contenders.

Firm favourites Canada take on Sweden in the ice hockey — men’s final — at 12pm. Whoever prevails will have the honour of claiming the last gold medal of the Winter Olympics.

The lowering of the Olympic flag, among other occurrences, is set to take place during the closing ceremony at 4pm  tomorrow.

Additional reporting by AFP

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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