Switzerland, Slovakia win first gold while Canada has to wait at Vancouver Winter Olympics

14:57, February 14, 2010      

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When Switzerland won the first gold medal of the 21st Winter Olympic Games and Slovakia took its first ever gold in winter Olympic history on Saturday, host Canada has to wait for an Olympic victory on home turf.

In Normal Hill ski jumping Saturday morning, Swiss Simon Ammann, No.1 in World Cup overall rankings, scored 276.5 points out of two jumps to stand out by an edge of seven points ahead of Poland's Adam Malysz, who won the silver medal as No. 6 seed, and Austria's Gregor Schlierenzauer won the bronze medal in 268.0 points.

It's the third Olympic gold medal for Ammann, who flied 108 meters in his final jump to set pace for the K90 jumping event.

"It is unbelievable that eight years later I am back here, with a lot of confidence and energy and strength," said Ammann, gold medalist in both NH and LH ski jumping in Salt Lake City.

"It is difficult to tell in words. It was almost too intense, the moment of victory. I knew how to do it and I could stay just a little bit more focused than the others," said 29-year-old Ammann.

Meanwhile, Anastasia Kuzmina handed Slovakia its first gold medal in the history of winter Olympics by winning the women's biathlon 7.5km sprint. In Slovakia's winter Olympic history, the only previous medal for the country came in 2006 when Radoslav Zidek won silver in the men's snow board cross event.

Kuzmina was more than happy to have the victory. "Very simply, it is the aim I've been working for my whole sporting life."

"I need to stay calm and forget what happened in the Sprint and take the next race as a new race," she said.

Dutchman Sven Kramer took out the 5,000 meter men's speedskating gold, finally capturing a title that had eluded him four years ago in Torino. Kramer won in six minutes 14.60 seconds, setting an Olympic record to defeat South Korean Lee Seung-hoon by 2.35 seconds with Russian Ivan Skobrev third.

"I started fast, but I was dying in the end. It was probably my hardest and best race ever," said Kramer.

With his victory in the distance, Kramer became the 13th speed skater to have won Olympic medals in all three colors.

At the 2006 Winter Olympics Kramer won a silver in the 5000m and a bronze in the team pursuit.

In men's short track 1,500m, Lee Jung-su of South Korea claimed an opening victory in the sport, crossing the finish line first in two minutes and 17.611 seconds.

The silver and bronze medals went to American pair of Applo Anton Ohno and J.R. Celski.

But other South Korean skaters had a setback when Sung Si-bak and Lee Ho-suk, who trailed Lee into the last corner, clashed with each other to surrender the medals to the Americans.

"We thought we could win not only the gold but also the other medals, but we did not manage that because of the mistake of my teammates," said the 20-year-old Lee, who was making his Olympic debut. "Despite the disappointment, my strategy went well so I am happy with my victory."

Amongst heavy rain and strong wind, the women's moguls went ahead at the Cypress Mountain, with Hannah Kearney winning the event to deny Jennifer Heil and with it Canada a first Olympic gold on home soil.

"Of course I wanted gold, but I won silver," said the 2006 winner


Kearney's win meant that Canada will still have to wait an Olympic title on home ground with the hosts having failed to do so at the 1976 Montreal Summer Games and the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

However, there was better news for Canada in ice hockey when the team crushed Slovakia 18-0 for the biggest win in women's ice hockey Olympic history.

The men's luge went ahead after International Luge Federation officials decided to shorten the course by starting lower for both men and women following the death in training the previous day of Georgian luger Nodar


But men's Alpine skiing downhill was a victim of havoc weather with the race postponed until Monday while the women's super combined was pushed back from Sunday to Thursday.

On Sunday, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen seeks a sixth biathlon gold in men's 10km sprint. Nordic combined normal hill, women's 3,000m speed skating, men's moguls skiing, men's luge will also produce gold medal winners.

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