Alexei Voyevoda and Alexander Zubkov won gold in the two-men bobsleigh competition. Source: Mikhail Voskresenskiy / RIA Novosti
Emma Terchenko, special to RBTH
Feb. 17 brought Russia not only another gold medal but also an important historic achievement. The two-man bobsled team of Alexander Zubkov and Alexei Voyevoda took Russia’s first-ever gold in their discipline.
The team also set a new world record of 56.08 seconds on their third run. Their aggregate time in all four runs was 3 minutes, 45.39 seconds. Shortly before the pair’s winning performance on Monday, Zubkov told the website championat.com that he was not merely counting on good luck. “This is our job. We are well aware that our opponents are very strong,” Zubkov said.
Switzerland’s Alex Baumann and Beat Hefti took silver, and the Americans Steven Holcomb and Steven Langton bronze. Another Russian pair, Aleksandr Kasyanov and Maxim Belugin, came in fourth.
Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White took gold in ice dancing as expected after a winning performance in the free dance program. They scored a combined 195.52 in the short and free program. Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were second, and Russia's Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov took bronze, with 183.48 points. The Russian pair set a personal record in the free dance and the combined score.
Darya Domracheva took yet another gold for Team Belarus in the women's 12.5 km biathlon mass start. This was Domracheva’s third gold medal in Sochi; she also won the 10 km pursuit and 15 km individual. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has given her the National Hero award for this unprecedented achievement.
The Czech Republic’s Gabriela Soukalova was second; like Dolmacheva, she missed her last shot from the prone position. Norway’s Tiril Eckhoff was third.
Team Russia’s achievements, meanwhile, were much less impressive. Olga Vilukhina came in 22nd after missing two shots.
Olga Zaitseva had a single miss, and finished 24th. Zaitseva fell trying to overtake a competitor and then had her pole broken by another skier as she was trying to get back on course. Interviewed by the Sportbox website, Zaitseva said that she was looking toward the next races. “We are determined to fight, and all the other girls are determined as well. The important thing is that we can do it. I know we can because we have worked very hard, and it was not for nothing. I am sure that this work will pay off."
The Olympic dream of Russia’s women’s curling team has come to an end with a 6:9 loss to the UK in the ninth round. The outcome of the match was decided in the eighth end, which the Russians lost 0:4. The team’s overall results were three victories and nine defeats in Sochi.
Meanwhile, the men’s team has defeated Germany 8:7. This, however is only their third victory after nine matches, so they are 7th in the team ranking so far.
The men’s snowboard qualifying runs that were scheduled for Monday were cancelled as a result of thick fog. The competition will resume Tuesday morning in a shortened format starting from the 1/8 finals. Racers will be seeded by their points in the FIS competition. Team Russia will be represented by Andrey Boldykov, Anton Koprivitsa, and Nikolay Olyunin.