Olympics Day 8: Building anticipation

Although Team Russia had little success on Valentine’s Day, Russian competitors ended the day with solid positions after qualifying rounds in several events

Russia's Elena Nikitina won a bronze medal in the women’s skeleton finals with the gold going to Lizzy Yarnod of the UK.Source: Reuters

Emma Terchenko, spesial to RBTH

Feb. 14 brought Team Russia another bronze medal, won by Elena Nikitina in the women's skeleton final. In the meantime, qualifiers for other events give Russia reasons to hope for more Olympic medals over the next few days.


In test runs for the two-man competition on Feb. 14, run two was won by the Russian crew of Alexander Zubkov and Alexei Voyevoda; another Russian crew, Alexander Kasyanov and Maxim Belugin, came in second. In the first test run their positions were reversed. Medals in the two-man event will be awarded on Feb. 17. "It will be a tough race," Zubkov said in an interview with the website Sportbox. "I would like to show a result at the Olympics that would reflect how well prepared we are.”

Voyevoda, the only member of Team Russia who is a Sochi native, hopes to benefit from a hometown advantage.

Cross-country skiing

In the men's 15km race, classical style, the gold went to Switzerland's Dario Cologna (time 38:29.7), who was also the gold medalist in skiathlon. The silver and bronze medals went to two Swedish athletes, Johan Olsson and Daniel Richardsson respectively. The Russian team's best result was Alexander Bessmertnykh’s seventh place finish – 1:08.0 behind the leader. The other members of the Russian team, Dmitriy Japarov, Stanislav Volzhentsev and Evgeniy Belov, finished the race in the 16th, 19th and 25th places respectively. In comments for the R-Sport news agency, Bessmertnykh said he hoped his results would gain him a spot on the relay team. "A result is a result, although, of course, I was hoping for more. It was a difficult race, the snow was hard, but the conditions were the same for everybody. Today's result has shown that I deserve it to be included in the relay team, but it is for the coaches to decide."


In the seventh round-robin session, the Russian women's team beat Switzerland 6:3. It was Russia's third victory in six games.

The men's team also finished their latest game, in round-robin session 8, with a victory, beating the United States 7:6.


Darya Domracheva of Belarus won the women's 15km individual race. Her team member Nadezhda Skardino won the bronze, while the silver medal went to Switzerland's Selina Gasparin. Russia’s three-time world champion Olga Zaitseva finished the race in 15th place. With two misses, she was 3:47.3 behind the leader. Zaitseva asked her supporters not to be upset, and said that she hopes to do better in her next race. "Functionally, I am feeling much better than during the previous races. I think we are getting faster. The shooting is not that bad either now, but something is missing. We could do with a bit more of good luck and a calmer state of mind."

Olga Podchufarova, a newcomer to the Russian national team, finished the race in the 49th place, with Yana Romanova and Ekaterina Glazyrina coming in the 53rd and 61st positions respectively. Podchufarova tried to focus on the bright side: "I did not expect it to be part of the team in Sochi. I just joined the race and tried to do my best."

Alpine skiing

In the men's super combined event (downhill run and slalom), the winner was Sandro Viletta from Switzerland. Russia's Pavel Trikhichev and Alexander Khoroshilov came in 24th and 30th respectively.


Russia's Elena Nikitina won a bronze medal in the women’s skeleton finals with the gold going to Lizzy Yarnod of the UK. Two other Russian team members Olga Potylitsina and Maria Orlova came the fifth and the sixth respectively. Nikitina's Olympic medal is the first ever for the Russian women's skeleton team.

The men's skeleton final will be held on Feb. 15. So far, on the strength of two runs, Russia's Alexander Tretiakov is in the lead. Two other Russian team members, Sergei Chudinov and Nikita Tregybov, are in the fifth and the 10th place respectively. Ahead of the finals, Tretiakov is 0.56 seconds ahead of his main rival, Latvia's Martins Dukurs, which is quite a solid lead in skeleton. Still, Tretiakov has no intention of easing up. "It is not as much as it may seem. It can all be lost in a single run, so one should by no means relax. Although, to be honest, I did not expect to have such a lead," Tretiakov said in an interview with championat.com.

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