Sochi 2014 fans


By Duncan Mackay and Nick Butler in Sochi
Click refresh for latest updates. All times stated are Russian insidethegames LIVE from Sochi

Good night 

00:23 And of course, insidethegames will be there for every slide, swerve and skip (do winter sport athletes skip, I wonder?) 

But, we'll be back to answer that, and every other Olympics and non-Olympics related question tomorrow morning - see you then!

And on day three?

00:12 Five medal events tomorrow.

Alpine skiing gets underway for women with the super combined as does short-track speed skating for men with the 1,500m.

Men's moguls freestyle sking, men's pursuit biathlon and 500m speed skating are also on the agenda. 

After the speed of downhill and luge, the relatively sedate curling also begins tomorrow ©AFP/Getty ImagesAfter the speed of downhill and luge, the relatively sedate curling also begins tomorrow with the opening round robin matches ©AFP/Getty Images

23:50 It's been another great day of action here in Sochi. Pride of place has to go to the Russian figure skating team for the host nation's first gold medal of the Games.

Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland all opened their gold medal accounts in ski-jumping, biathlon and cross-country respectably, while United States in slopestyle snowboard and the Netherlands in speed-skating made it two from two.

It seems along time ago now but - after the big-name winners of day one, there was a shock in the downhill when Austria's unheralded Matthias Mayer claimed gold at the expense of all the pre-event favourites.

twitter logoMany Americans talking of "medalling" also winningest and ghastly threepeat. language of Shakespeare is beautiful .lets keep it that way.
- A diplomatic incident is likely if insidethegames historian Philip Barker has his way.

Final stages of ski-jumping action

Sochi 2014 gold medal23:24 But no. It's the man in form, Kamil Stoch of Poland, who takes gold with a brilliant last jump to secure a score of 278.0, more than 12 points clear of the field. The Pole has also won the last two World Cup events before Sochi 2014.

Peter Prevc of Slovenia takes the silver with Anders Bardal of Norway securing the bronze.

Kamil Stoch wins the final gold medal of the day for Poland ©AFP/Getty ImagesKamil Stoch wins the final gold medal of the day for Poland ©AFP/Getty Images

23:22 Peter Prevc takes the lead in the ski-jumping. He is guaranteed a medal of some colour.

23:21 Interesting piece here by insidethegames historian Philip Barker about the return to the Olympic fold of Austrian skier Karl Schranz 42 years after he was sent home from Sapporo 1972 for being a "professional". Read more here.

Tokyo 2020

23:14 Another non-sporting highlight today in Sochi was an, ahem, interesting Tokyo 2020 press conference. See our article here

Also in the article is today's news that Japan's former health minister Yoichi Masuzoe has been elected the new Governor of Tokyo, promising to make the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics "a success".

Russia leap on to the podium to collect the first ever team figure skating gold medal ©Toronto Star/Getty ImagesRussia leap on to the podium to collect the first ever team figure skating gold medal ©Toronto Star/Getty Images

Sochi 2014 gold medal
We can, of course, confirm that Russian victory in the team figure skating. A great performance in which Canada and the United States claimed silver and bronze.

Wonderful performance by the host nation - with a team combining the experience of Evgeni Plushenko with the youthful vigour of 15-year old Yulia Lipnitskaya.

22:59 Kamil Stoch of Poland tops the score-sheets early in the second round of the ski-jumping final.

Best spill of the day though goes to Germany's Severin Freud. He was fine...

Great image this of Severin Freud crash-landing, quite literally, in the ski-jumping ©Getty ImagesGreat image this of Severin Freud crash-landing, quite literally, in the ski-jumping ©Getty Images

22:30 Disappointment in the ski-jumping for Switzerland's big hope Simon Ammann as he chases a historic fifth gold medal. He lies down in 13th place after one of two jumps with the scores of the two combined. Tough ask from there.

Norway's Anders Bardal currently leads.

Bach getting behind his country as well as Putin

 IOC President Thomas Bach was also there. He's had a busy day today...

Thomas Bach witnesses the first German gold medal of Sochi 2014 ©Getty ImagesThomas Bach witnesses the first German gold medal of Sochi 2014 ©Getty Images

twitter logo

Hah, medal #1 for Germany, way to go @LochFelix chapeau! And a big congrats to your coach as well! #georghackl #sochi2014 #wirfuerd
- IOC Athletes Commission chair Claudia Bokel gets behind her fellow German

Felix Loch led throughout the two day luge event ©Getty ImagesTop marks for celebration as well by Felix Loch ©Getty Images

Sochi 2014 gold medal
22:14 Russia will have one soon but for now its Germany who claim gold after Felix Loch wins the men's luge. A super quick start and the result was never in doubt.

Russia's 42 year old Albert Demchenko gives it a good go but has to settle for silver, while 40 year old Armin Zoeggeler takes bronze. Who said speed sports were a young man's game?

That's remarkable by Zoeggeler who become the first athlete to win Winter Olympic medals at six different Games. His first one came at Lillehammer 1994 when insidethegames reporter Nick Butler was barely three years old. 

twitter logoJust finished presentation of Lviv 2022 bid concept and logo. It was received well, good news.Sure Ukraine will surprise by great bid.
IOC Executive Board member Sergey Bubka is optimistic about Lviv's 2022 chances

We agree about the good concept and logo. But the challenge conrinues to be the political protests which hang over the country. Read our report here.

21:49 Technically Russia have now won the gold medal in the team figure skating. The ice dancing is still to come, but mathematically they cannot be caught. We will hold off with the gold medal caption just for a moment though...

Action hotting up in the luge now. The final 15 sliders now underway.

Opening Ceremony statistics

The Opening Ceremony statistics we posted earlier (15:06) have received some criticism - mainly from our insidethegames colleague David Owen. 

Quote graphic
"I'm sorry, those viewing figure numbers for various Opening Ceremonies on the live feed are plainly rubbish. How many in China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Brazil would really have been watching?"
chief reporter David Owen is sceptical about the statistics.

Owen also casts a reminder to this article on insidethegames ahead of London 2012 where Kevin Alavy, managing director of Futures Sport + Entertainment, suggests that timing and population issues will make it hard for the numbers tuning in for Beijing 2008's Ceremony to ever be matched.

Putin spotted at figure-skating

21:20 An obvious sign that Russia are likely to win a gold medal because President Putin has been spotted in the crowd.

As a judo black belt, Putin is more associated with rough and tumble forms of sport. But he is not going to miss out on a gold medal for the host nation...

He is sitting next to Italy's International Skating Union President, and IOC member, Ottavio Cinquanta.

Vladimir Putin checks in to watch Russia - almost certainly - take figure skating gold ©Getty ImagesVladimir Putin checks in to watch Russia - almost certainly - take figure skating gold, and to his left sits ISU President Ottavio Cinquanta.©Getty Images

More reaction to Andy Miah's blog from earlier

twitter logo
Some journalists in Sochi told me lots of nice things there. No idea why some keep saying negative things
- Norman Li, chief sports journalist at Tencent, which is China's largest and most used Internet service portal.

We agree Norman. You will notice no stories complaining about media hotels on insidethegames. Though perhaps only because there is nothing wrong with ours, I suppose.

Evening Session

Yulia Lipnitskaya extends Russia's team figure skating advantage ©Getty ImagesYulia Lipnitskaya, aged 15, extends Russia's team figure skating advantage ©Getty Images

21:07 Yulia Lipnitskaya comfortably wins the ladies free skating section, ahead of American Gracie Gold, to extend Russia's team figure skating advantage.

Barring catastrophe in the concluding ice dancing section we will have the first home gold of Sochi 2014 in around an hours time.

20:38 We have ski-jumping, luge and figure skating all underway now as we prepare for a medal deluge later on. Switzerland, Germany and Russia respectably, is my prediction.

twitter logoJenny Jones ‏@GreenJennyJones
For the avoidance of any doubt, I haven't won a bronze medal at #Sochi but send huge congrats to @jennyjonessnow who has. Brilliant!
- The wrong Jenny Jones receives congratulatory messages as Great Britain continues to bask in the euphoria of its first ever medal on snow earlier on today.

Does the Rings malfunction matter?

20:27 Interesting blog by Andy Miah published on insidethegames today about why a broken Ring matters in the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony? Click here to read it.

twitter logo@insidethegames You'll have forgotten this in 4 years - just like you forgot to mention the 4th pillar of Vancouver's flame failing to rise!
Tweeter DreyerChina has already pledged his disagreement. What do you think?

Biathlon domination for Kuzmina 

 Sochi 2014 gold medalSlovakia's Anastasiya Kuzmina obliterates the field by 19.9 seconds to win gold in the women's 7.5km sprint biathlon. 

The wait for a Russian gold goes on but they have won another medal courtesy of Olga Vilukhina, who took silver, while Ukraine's Vita Semerenko claimed bronze.

Great performance by Kuzmina in defending her title. The 29-year old, who was born in Russia, has a brother, Anton Shipulin, who finished 4th in yesterday's men's 10km race. Kuzmina's husband, Daniel Kuzmin, is also a cross-country skier for Israel.

19:06 But what a comeback in the ice-hockey. Russia now lead Germany 4-1.

Loch-ing the door in luge final

Back in Sochi and ice-cool German Felix Loch still leads in the luge after three of four runs. He broke his own track record, set yesterday, in round three and leads Russia's Albert Demchenko by 0.388 seconds. 

In third place is Italian veteran Armin Zoeggler.

Felix Loch leads after three of four rounds in the men's luge final ©Getty ImagesFelix Loch leads after three of four rounds in the men's luge final ©Getty Images

18:56 Believe it or not there is other sport going beyond Sochi this weekend. For a report on Japanese success at the Judo Grand Slam in Paris, click here.

18:38 The pair would probably not be so friendly at the ice hockey right now - where Bach's Germany continue to lead Medvedev's Russia 1-0.

Or at the luge for that matter...where Germany's Felix Loch is 0.294 seconds clear of home favourite Albert Demchenko ahead of the final two runs of the competition - about to begin at the Sliding Center Sanki.

18:33 Fancy meeting you here... IOC President Thomas Bach bumps into Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev during the men's downhill earlier on today.

Thomas Bach and Dmitry Medvedev share a conversation, I assume, about the technicalities of downhill skiing ©Getty ImagesThomas Bach and Dmitry Medvedev share a conversation, I assume, about the technicalities of downhill skiing ©Getty Images

18:30 More on the story, reported by L'Equipe, that Russian and US judges were colluding so as to ensure Russian team gold and a US ice dancing victory. (See 14:38)

IOC spokesman Mark Adams dismissed the claims as merely "gossip" and said it was a matter for the International Skating Union to deal with rather than the IOC.

"Cooperation between the US and Russia? In this case absolutely not," said Adams.

"I have seen absolutely no evidence apart from the claim, so we would treat that as a bit of gossip, frankly, which is groundless."

18:05 Disaster for the home crowd in the ice hockey. Some strong German build up and Franziska Busch scores the opener. 1-0 Germany. They were under pressure earlier but if there is one rule I've learnt in team sports it is never, ever, write off the Germans.

Royalty back at the Adler Arena

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands cannot get enough of the speed-skating action at the Adler Arena. And why would they? Their country has now won two from two...

The King and Queen of the Netherlands enjoyed are becoming a good luck charm to their speed skaters ©Getty ImagesThe King and Queen of the Netherlands are becoming a good luck charm to their speed skaters ©Getty Images

17:49 After taking their first medal earlier on, it could be a big evening for Russia. Chances in luge and team figure skating... and they are currently locked at 0-0 with Germany in the women's ice hockey. Atmosphere is electric I'm hearing. 

This is not say, of course, that this rather incompetent insidethegames reporter had hoped to watch Russia play but had got a bit confused with the time zones - after eight days here - and ended up at Sweden versus Japan four hours too early.

That would be a lie...

A fan of Ireen Wust sports this jumper ahead of the 3,0000m final...a felt tip pen is now need to colour in gold in Sochi ©Getty ImagesA fan of Irene Wust sports this jumper ahead of the 3,0000m final...a felt tip pen is now needed to colour in gold in Sochi ©Getty Images

17:20: Sochi 2014 gold medalBut its ice skating of a speedier kind to the fore at the moment as Irene Wust stays on top over 3,000m to continue the Dutch winning streak in speed-skating.

Czech defending champion Martina Sablikova has to settle for silver while Olga Graf wins Russia's first medal of the Games with bronze.

Still only level on the medals table with Great Britain though...

17:14 Great little Winter Olympic historical story on insidethegames today about how Christopher Dean's "little ploy" in warm-up helped the Bolero to work wonders at the Sarajevo 1984 Olympics. Read more here.

17:10 Sabilkova of the Czech Republic, as predicted, takes the lead but wait - Turin 2006 champion Ireen Wust has just gone one and a half seconds quicker. The Dutch are back on top 

Flying Dutchwomen

We're finally back underway in the speed skating and the Netherlands Annouck van der Weijden has taken a three second lead with a near-course record performance. With Ireen Rust also in the field, could another Dutch clean sweep be on I wonder?

Cross country protest rejected

The battle for the finish in the men's cross country earlier on today ©AFP/Getty ImagesThe battle for the finish in the men's cross country earlier on today ©AFP/Getty Images

16:45 Hearing reports from Ria Novosti that the International Ski Federation has rejected a Russian protest of the men's skiathlon result from earlier on. Maxim Vylegzhanin narrowly missed out on a medal after finishing last in a four way dash for the line.

Vylegzhanin appealed against bronze medal winner Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway, claiming that he was illegally blocked from a possible overtake.

But a Norwegian coach told reporters that the protest was not upheld and that Sundby would keep his medal.

Olympic Park

16:42 A good atmosphere over in the Olympic Park with most looking forward to Russia's first gold medal bid in the team figure skating later...

Speaking of the host nation - their ice hockey women were busy warming up - in full view of the spectators - ahead of their ice hockey clash with Germany.

Russian ice hockey squad warming up ©ITGRussian ice hockey squad warming up ©ITG

Speed skating

Bit of a quiet time in the mid-afternoon action wise in Sochi as the ice gets re-laid in the speed-skating. 

Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic is the defending 3,000m and 5,000m champion, and was dubbed the "Queen of Skating" by then IOC president Jacques Rogge in 2010.

As in pursuit cycling on the track, the skaters are  racing in pairs and compete against he clock on a 400m oval.

Kim Bo-reum of South Korea is the current leader in the women's 3,000 metres speed skating at the Adler Arena in the Coastal Cluster.


 While US and British focus might be on the slopestyle, highlight of day two so far was Matthias Mayer of Austria winning the downhill this morning...

Matthias Mayer celebrates after his downhill victory ©McClatchy-Tribune/Getty ImagesMatthias Mayer celebrates after his downhill victory ©McClatchy-Tribune/Getty Images

twitter logoWatching downhill skiing this morning. A little colder in the mountains but absolutely beautiful. 
Zimbabwe's IOC member Kirsty Coventry enjoyed the men's downhill earlier on today

Swiss gold in cross country

Sochi 2014 gold medal
Swiss ace Dario Cologna powers over the line first to win the men's 30km skiathlon. Marcus Hellner of Sweden takes second place and Norway have to settle for another bronze medal courtesy of Martin Johnsrud Sundby.

Opening Ceremony flashback

The worldwide audience of the bombastic Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Olympics at the Fisht stadium stood at three billion, organisers said.

Attendance of the Opening Ceremony at the previous Winter Games in Vancouver was put by organisers at one billion. Between one billion and four billion, by various estimates, watched the show that kicked off the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

The Opening Ceremony was the second most watched Winter one ever ©Kommersant/Getty ImagesThe Opening Ceremony was the second most watched non-live Winter one ever on NBC ©Kommersant/Getty Images

An impressive 31.7 million viewers in the United States watched the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony on Friday night, which was aired 10 hours after it actually took place, NBC has said.

The figure ranks Sochi as the second all-time most-watched non-live Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony since Norway's Lillehammer Games in 1994 (33.8 million), the network said Saturday citing national data released by The Nielsen Company.

The viewership was just slightly below the 32.7 million Americans who watched the Olympics Opening Ceremony in Canada's Vancouver in 2010, which was aired live by NBC.

Britain above Russia on medals table

At London 2012 a female J Jones also won a medal for Britain. On that occasion it was gold for taekwondo teenager Jade... That's the last British platitude I promise, but we don't win these too often...

Spare us a bit of Great Britain bias for a moment here. But that bronze medal for Jenny Jones was the first ever British medal won on snow.

Slalom skier Alain Baxter did initially win bronze at Salt Lake City 2002 only to be stripped of it after a - Vicks inhaler induced - positive drugs test.

Apparently it is also the earliest point in a Winter Olympic Games that Britain have won a medal since Tony Nash and Robin Dixon won the two-man bobsleigh at Innsbruck 1964.

It also - dare I say it - puts Britain above host nation Russia in the medals table. It's like London 2012 all over again...

Jade Jones won Britains first ever medal on snow ©Getty ImagesJenny Jones won Britain's first ever medal on snow ©Getty Images

Judge-rigging allegations in figure skating

French sports newspaper L'Equipe has reported on an alleged deal between judges from Russia and the US to help Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White win in ice dancing - at the expense of 2010 Canadian Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir - and thereby help Russia win the gold in the first Olympic team event.

Barbara Reichert, director of communications for U.S. Figure Skating, issued a statement: describing that "comments made in a L'Equipe story are categorically false. There is no 'help' between countries. We have no further response to rumours, anonymous sources or conjecture.".

The skaters in question have also played down the rumours. 

"That's the first time we're hearing that so that's unfortunate that there's an article", said Meryl Davis. "But we're so focused on our jobs, and we really don't know a whole lot about anything else. I think we're confident that what we're putting out on the ice kind of speaks for itself".

This, of course, comes twelve years after the judging scandal in figure skating that rocked the Salt Lake City 2002 Games...

Slopestyle double for United States

Sochi 2014 gold medal
More problems for the final competitors and US hope Jamie Anderson wins the gold medal. Enni Rukajarvi of Finland takes silver and - yes Andy - Jenny Jones holds on for bronze.

Jamie Anderson after completing a gold medal winning run ©Getty ImagesJamie Anderson after completing a gold medal winning run ©Getty Images

twitter logoJenny jones! Is it wrong to hope everyone left falls?
Tennis player Andy Murray is caught up in the excitement of the women's slopestyle final.

But Jones slips to third as Jamie Anderson of the US takes the lead.

Skiathlon under way 

14:20 After the disappointment of Aksel Lund Svindal missing out on the gold in the downhill, Norway will be hoping for better fortunes in the men's 30km skiathlon just getting underway.

Athletes prepare to start in the men's skiathlon ©AFP/Getty ImagesAthletes prepare to start in the men's skiathlon ©AFP/Getty Images

More on edited NBC coverage

More on the story we brought you earlier on today (11:23) about NBC omitting IOC President Thomas Bach's speech from their delayed Opening Ceremony coverage. They have issued a statement, but not an apology, for the move.

"The IOC President's speech was edited for time, as were other speeches, but his message got across very clearly to viewers," said an NBC spokesperson.

I think the viewers should be the judge of that...

 Loads going elsewhere at the moment including the women's slopestyle final. Finland's Enni Rukajarvi has just pulled off a 720 flip to take the lead ahead of Jade Jones - bidding to become the first ever British medal winner on snow...

Live sport in Sochi! 

After well over a week in Sochi a member of the insidethegames team is finally watching some sport. Japan v Sweden in the women's ice hockey.

Swedes are 1-0 up at the moment. But great support in the Shayba Arena from both set of fans. Plenty of Mexican waves and what can only be described as "circus-music" in the breaks in play...

Strong Japanese support in the Shayba Arena ©Getty ImagesStrong Japanese support in the Shayba Arena ©Getty Images

Sibling first at the Olympic Games?

After the one-two finish yesterday for Canadian sisters Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe, the hunt is underway for the last sisters to take Olympic gold and silver in the same event. Please tweet @insidethegames if you have an idea...

Our historian Philip Barker is on the case. He has got close (ish) by citing Beth Heiden winning a 3,000m speed skating bronze medal at Lake Placid 1980 at the same Games that brother Eric won five gold medals.

"Get in", the great man chuckles, before scuttling off to do some proper research.

We will keep you posted...

Quote graphicI feel disappointed. I skied hard and well, and that's the most important thing. It just didn't go all right. It's tough, obviously I was looking to win and I thought I had a good chance of it. I was well prepared so it's tough when you don't get things to go your way.
- US hope Bode Miller reflects on a disappointing performance in the men's downhill

The three medal winners celebrate in the mens downhill ©Getty ImagesThe three medal winners celebrate in the men's downhill ©Getty Images

Sochi 2014 gold medal
13:05 And now it is confirmed. GOLD in the men's downhill for Matthias Mayer of Austria, silver for Christof Innerhofer of Italy and bronze for Norway's Kjetil Jansrud.

13:03 No change on the slopes with Matthias Mayer still leading with only much lower ranked competitors to come. Looking good for Austria's first men's downhill Olympic victory since Fritz Strobl at Salt Lake City 2002...

Lviv 2022 fight off claims protests in Ukraine will ruin their bid. Or try to anyway...

A brief break while the insidethegames team attend the Lviv 2022 press conference. Report to follow but I can tell you that one topic dominated the question, and it wasn't the smartness of the delegation jackets...

12:23: Matthias Mayer's entry on Wikipedia is just two sentences long. I can safely guess it will soon be a little bit bigger...

No win for Svindal or Miller

No Norwegian has ever won the Olympic downhill title and that will not change after favourite Aksel Lund Svindal can only go into third. Matthias Mayer of Austria still leads, ahead of Christof Innerhofer of Italy. Still some big names to come though...

12:10 Bode Miller smashes through two gates and is sixth. Out of the medals.

Spectacular scenery in the men's downhill as Kjetil Jansrud flies down the slopes ©Getty ImagesSpectacular scenery in the men's downhill as Norway's Kjetil Jansrud flies down the slopes ©Getty Images

Gender equality in Iran

11:51 Sochi 2014 is breaking boundaries with the news that Leily Khorsand, 37, is the first female sports journalist from Iran to cover a Winter Olympic Games.

"Women need to be heard, seen and taken seriously, and prove how qualified they are. Girls will look at reports from me and other female colleagues and think - women can do the same things as men - that's the goal", she said.

Click here to read the story on the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) website.

Slopestyle semi-final round-up

Czech Republic's Sarka Pancochova, Switzerland's Sina Candrian, Great Britain's Jenny Jones and Norway's Silje Norendal have made it through the slopestyle semi-final and will join the eight stars already qualified for the final - at 13:15.

Action heating up on the slopes as Austria's Matthias Mayer takes the lead - shaving a mammoth 0.1 of a second off the time of Norway's Kietil Jansrud.

All go at Rosa Khutor

11:32 The men's downhill is underway. US star Bode Miller is 15th to start with Norwegian rival Aksel Lund Svindal out the gate three places later.
IOC President Thomas Bach has also arrived for the men's downhill...after his Opening Ceremony speech was edited out of NBC's coverage ©Getty ImagesIOC President Thomas Bach has also arrived for the men's downhill...after his Opening Ceremony speech was edited out of NBC's coverage ©Getty Images

NBC in Putin's pocket?

It seems to be a story which permeates every Olympic Games but US television station NBC have got themselves in a mess again after their edited and 10-hours delayed coverage of the Opening Ceremony managed to omit the speech of IOC President Thomas Bach when he spoke about non-discrimination and tolerance

Some saw this as NBC bowing to Russian President Vladimir Putin, due to a fear to bring up the anti-gay rights laws introduced in Russia last year, but his does seem unlikely - particularly as Bach's speech was more critical of those leaders who stayed away than Putin 

NBC denied there was anything intentional but it revives memories of London 2012, when the channel eliminated a tribute to the victims of the 2007 terrorist attacks and instead chose to air an interview with American swimmer Michael Phelps.

Royalty on the slopes

The downhill has been delayed by 15 minutes. Not sure why yet.

Presumably its not because of the arrival of IOC member, and former bobsleigh Olympian, Prince Albert of Monaco and Olympic swimmer wife Princess Charlene...

IOC member Prince Albert arriving for the men's downhill ©Getty ImagesIOC member Prince Albert arriving for the men's downhill this morning ©Getty Images

twitter logoHelmet-cam, broadcasting on TV how does it look racing down on Men's Downhill. Absolutely startling. #Sochi2014

- Olympic Movement guru Stratos Safioleas is getting as excited as anyone ahead of the "100m of the Winter Olympics"...

Racist tweet-gate

Unsurprisingly its not all harmony however - as the furore over the choice of former figure skater Irina Rodnina continues after she posted an allegedly racist tweet about US President Barrack Obama last year. Read more here.
The choice of Irina Rodnina of flamellighter has received criticism due to her allegedly racist tweet she posted about Barrack Obama ©Getty Images
The choice of Irina Rodnina of flamellighter has received criticism due to her allegedly racist tweet she posted about Barrack Obama ©Getty Images

Spirit of brotherhood in Sochi

10:52 In a good example of true Olympic ideals, Russian Olympic skiers have helped out the German team by lending them the equipment to prepare the skiing gear, since the Germans had problems with their own gear, it has been reported.

The President of the German Olympic Sports Union, DOSB, Alphonse Hermann, said that it's the first time that he's come across this kind of display of solidarity since he was elected to his current office.

He called attention to the fact that the Russian team has helped their immediate rival. If the Russians had refused to help, the German skiers would have had 40 pairs of brand new non-ground skis to compete on.

Downhill all the way

We are almost ready to go in the men's downhill - with action in slopestyle and ice hockey already underway.

The Main Press Centre quieter than usual this morning with most of the media cohort already up the mountain.

But its all got a bit too much for one journalist as he grabs a few moments rest...

One journalist gets a few minutes rest in the Rosa Khutor Press Centre ©AFP/Getty ImagesOne journalist gets a few minutes rest in the Rosa Khutor Press Centre ©AFP/Getty Images

Quote graphicIt's very treacherous. If you are not totally focused and paying attention, this course can kill you.
-US hope Bode Miller whets the appetite for the men's downhill, which starting at Rosa Khutor in 30 minutes time

While other publications might be on "celebrity watch", here at insidethegames we will be on IOC member and politician watch throughout the day.

For starters, here is Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, along with deputy Dmitry Kozak and sports minister Vitaly Mutko, enjoying the cross country action yesterday...

Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at the cross country yesterday ©Getty ImagesRussia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at the cross country yesterday ©Getty Images

Away from the ice and snow there is lots else going on here in Sochi - with updates from both Pyeongchang 2018, Tokyo 2020 and various of the bidders for the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic race going on today. 

The applicant cities - Almaty, Beijing, Krakow, Lviv and Oslo - are here as "official observers" throughout both the Olympic and Paralympics in Sochi.

In terms of Lviv, their bid may be facing the challenge of the political trauma currently engulfing Ukraine, but insidethegames revealed a shrewd appointment as chief executive yesterday in Sergej Gontcharov. Read more here.

09:35 In almost 12 hours time the final medal of the day will be decided - under floodlights - in the men's normal hill ski jumping. And take the term "normal"'s still pretty huge.

Also coming up later on we have the men's skiathlon in cross country skiing and the women's 3,000m speed-skating and 10km biathlon. Then this evening we have the conclusion of the men's luge and the team figure skating - with both events providing a huge opportunity for the first Russian gold medal, or medal of any colour, of Sochi 2014.

9:13 There are eight gold medals up for grabs on day two across eight different sports.
First up will be the semi-finals and finals of the women's slopestyle snowboard before perhaps the showpiece event of any Winter Olympic Games - the men's downhill.

Not sure how best this conveys it...but this course is steep I tell you ©Getty ImagesNot sure how best this conveys it...but this course is steep I tell you ©Getty Images

United States Bode Miller is he name most being talked about but perhaps the favourite is Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal - the reigning world champion and apparently a huge fan of this course.

09:05 After the excitement of Friday's Opening Ceremony, we had plenty of fireworks of the sporting kind yesterday including United States slopestyle glory, gold and silver for two Canadian sisters in the moguls, a Dutch speed-skating clean sweep and a US bobsledder smashing down his bathroom door. Click here for a reminder of day one.

09:00 Hello and welcome back to insidethegames' exclusive daily update from day two of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.