Figure skaters Tatyana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov brought Russia its second gold medal at the Games. The silver went to another Russian pair of Ksenia Stolbova and Fyodor Klimov. Source: Alexandr Vilf / RIA Novosti
On Feb. 12, Sochi's Iceberg Arena resounded with the triumphant cheers of local fans as Russian ice skaters won both the gold and the silver medals in the pairs event.
A third Russian pair, Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov, came in a disappointing sixth. "We were seriously aiming for the top three," Larionov said. Stolbova and Klimov, for their part, had not expected to win the silver. "We aim to amaze the public," Klimov said of their goals in the competition.
Skeleton qualification rounds were also held on Feb. 12. Russian pilot Alexander Tretyakov came in first in the first round with a time of 56.08 seconds. The other two members of the Russian team, Sergei Chudinov and Nikita Tregubov, were ranked fifth and seventh, respectively. In his second try, Tretiakov came in second after American Matt Antoine.
"Everyone deserves a victory because we have all trained long and hard for these Games," Tregubov said. "The Russian skeleton pilots know the local track well. I hope our fans will help us show our best."
The men's skeleton finals will be held on Feb. 15.
The Russian ladies' curling team lost 4:8 to Japan. This was the team's second loss, although the losses are offset by two previous wins – over the U.S. and Denmark. Russia is currently sixth in the overall ranking. They will have to be ranked fourth or higher to make it to the semifinal. The Russian men's curling team lost 4:7 to Germany in the fifth session.
In downhill, Russia’s Yelena Yakovishina came in 28th in a race that ended in a tie. Tina Maze or Slovenia and the Dominique Gisin of Switzerland shared the gold. Another Swiss athlete, Lara Gut, took the bronze.
The Nordic combined race also proved difficult for Russia. The country's only representative, Yevgeni Klimov, came in third in the first part of the program, the ski jumps. The second part – a 10-km ski race – pushed Klimov back to the 45th place. The gold went to German Eric Frenzel.
Russia’s speed skaters had a difficult day on Wednesday. Denis Yuskov finished 17th in the 1,000m race, despite setting a personal record. But Yuskov’s was the best performance of the Russian squad. Alexei Yesin came in 18th; Dmitry Lobkov, 27th; and Igor Bogolyubsky, 39th. The race was won by Stefan Groothuis of the Netherlands. Canadian Danny Morrison took silver and another Dutch athlete, Michel Mulder, won the bronze.
Yuskov shared his impressions of the race: "I improved my result by half a second but I am still disappointed. The only thing that cheered me up was that I was stable for the entire race. I cannot gain my feet at 1,000m, everything is too fast and abrupt. It feels much easier and relaxed at the 1,500m distance, when you can feel through your every move."
The men’s luge pairs race was hotly contested, but in the end, the best showing by the Russian team was Alexander Denisyev and Vladislav Antonov’s fifth-place finish. Another Russian pair, Vladislav Yuzhakov and Vladimir Makhnutin, finished ninth.