Figure skating glory for Russia
A review of the action on day five of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, including Russian gold in the figure skating pairs and the women's downhill title being shared.
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Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov led home a Russia one-two as they swept to Winter Olympic gold in the figure skating pairs on Wednesday.
The duo added a free-skating score of 152.69 to their short-program tally of 84.17 for an overall score of 236.86, finishing over 18 points ahead of their second-placed compatriots Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov (218.68) in front of a raucous Sochi crowd.
German pair Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy claimed another bronze medal to add to the one they won in Vancouver with an overall score of 215.78, having fallen twice during Wednesday's free skating performance.
American snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington edged out defending champion Torah Bright by a quarter of a point to claim gold in the ladies' halfpipe.
The 24-year-old's score of 91.75 on her second run ensured she pipped Australian Bright, gold medal winner at Vancouver 2010, by the narrowest of margins at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
It is the first time the relatively unknown Farrington has topped the podium at a halfpipe event and she could not have chosen a better time to land the run of her life.
Bright, whose brother and coach Ben earlier this week criticised the halfpipe course, did at least have the consolation of emerging as Australia's first medal winner in these Games.
Kelly Clark (90.75) made it an American one-three as she earned bronze although the 2014 Winter X Games winner entered the event as the favourite.
"I think watching the three gold medallists (Bright, Clark and Hannah Teter) come down after me was a crazy feeling," Farrington said afterwards.
"I was happy they all landed their runs because that's what I wanted to do. But I did not expect to come down on top."
Earlier, Dominique Gisin and Tina Maze made Winter Olympics history in the women's downhill as they shared the gold medal in Sochi.
Switzerland's Gisin and Slovenian Maze both recorded a time of one minute, 41.57 seconds at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center to become the first athletes to share the top of the podium in the Winter Games.
Gisin was the first to set the benchmark before Maze matched her, with another Swiss, Laura Gut, earning bronze after finishing 0.10 seconds adrift of the pair.
"I have no words. This doesn't feel real. I will have to see my team to get myself together and realise how much this means to us," Maze, who claimed silver in the Super-G and giant slalom four years ago, said.
The soft conditions were just right for 28-year-old Gisin, who said: "This is incredible. I'm overwhelmed with emotions.
"I'm so happy - what a day. I don't think I even dreamt about this. Now that I have won, I'm living the dream, but this is better than dreaming."
Germans Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt claimed gold in the men's doubles luge at the Sanki Sliding Center.
The pair set a track record en route to victory, with Austrian brothers Andreas and Wolfgang Linger taking second and another pair of brothers, Latvia's Andris and Juris Sics, winning bronze.
Austrians Peter Penz and Georg Fischler saw their medal chances slip away after grazing a wall on their second run.
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Holland continued their dominance in the speed skating competition, with Stefan Groothuis a surprise winner of the 1000 metre final at Adler Arena.
Groothuis was in fine form, with the 32 year old posting a time of one minute 8.39 seconds for his first Olympic honour and Holland's 10th speed-skating medal of the Games.
Canada's Denny Morrison was a close second, just 0.04secs off the pace, with Dutchman Michel Mulder adding a bronze to the gold he won in the 500m two days ago.
Two-time defending champion Shani Davis had been expected to challenge for another title in Sochi, but the American was unable to match his rivals and could only place eighth.
Groothuis finished fourth in the same event in Vancouver four years ago and admitted he thought his chance for glory had gone.
"It was really unexpected," he said.
"The last two Olympics weren't my favourite thing, and I was happy to go home, but now it's different.
"I was focused on the race only. When I started I didn't know the results of the other skaters. I threw all my aggression that I had in me in (the start). You can make a big deal out of it. I didn't do a trial start, just went for it.
"I'm 32 now. The next Olympic Games I will probably not be there, so it had to happen now and it did."
Germany's Eric Frenzel held off a strong challenge from Akito Watabe to win the Nordic combined 10km-normal hill gold medal.
Frenzel scored 131.5 points in the opening ski jump event, which was converted to a 0.6-second advantage over his Japanese rival heading into the cross-country skiing element.
The pair were then neck-and-neck for much of the 10-kilometre course until Frenzel pulled away down the home stretch to claim the gold.
Watabe secured Japan's first medal in the event for 20 years, finishing four seconds behind Frenzel to claim silver.
Norway's Magnus Krog completed the podium places, crossing the finish line just ahead of Italian Alessandro Pittin, the bronze medallist from Vancouver four years ago.
The early momentum of China's men's curling team showed no sign of slowing on day three of the round-robin stage as they posted two more victories - a 5-4 triumph over European champions Switzerland and an 11-7 defeat of Germany.
Next behind them in the rankings is Norway, who have the only other 100 per cent record with three victories out of three after seeing off Germany 8-5 in the early session.
Great Britain were 4-2 victors over Switzerland, world champions Sweden were defeated 8-5 by Scandinavian rivals Denmark and Vancouver 2010 gold-medallists Canada overcame Russia 7-4.
There was one women's session on Wednesday, in which Canada joined Switzerland at the top of the rankings and on three wins from three matches after Jennifer Jones' rink beat world champions Great Britain 9-6.
China enjoyed a 7-4 victory over the United States, Japan were 8-4 winners over Russia and reigning Olympic champions Sweden saw off South Korea 7-4.
Wednesday also saw the start of the men's ice hockey competition, with Sweden beating the Czech Republic 4-2 and Switzerland snatching a 1-0 victory over Latvia with a goal eight seconds from time from Simon Moser.
In the women's qualifiers, Canada came out on top in the battle of the powerhouses, defeating the United States 3-2 to top Group A. Finland needed overtime to see off Switzerland 4-3.