Skiing Sochi 2014


By Duncan Mackay and Nick Butler in Sochi, and Zjan Shirinian in London
Click refresh for latest updates. All times stated are Russian.

Goodnight until tomorrow

00:27 You will not want to miss out on that. Or anything else on day four in Sochi. And you won't because you will be right here checking out the insidethegames live blog.
In the words of Sage Kotsenburg you will be "super stoked." I promise

See you then. 

Looking ahead...

00:25 But highlight of the day should undoubtedly come in the men's halfpipe when "flying tomato" Shaun White goes for a third successive gold. He pulled out of the slopestyle to focus on this one...

Shaun White goes in the men's halfpipe ©Getty ImagesShaun White goes in the men's halfpipe ©Getty Images

00:20 Eight more gold medals up for grabs tomorrow. The women's pursuit biathlon men and women's sprints in cross country skiing and women's normal hill ski jumping.

The slopestyle continues, albeit of ski's instead of 'boards with the women's final. We also see the women's singles luge and the women's 500m speed skating.

End of day three

00:16 It was Canada and the Netherlands day in Sochi on the third day of action

Canada took two gold medals - for short-track speed skater Charles Hamelin and moguls freestyle skier Alex Bilodeau, while the Netherlands claimed yet another clean sweep in the long-track speed skating. Michel Mulder winning gold over 500m.

Gold medals also for Austria and France on day three. 

Men's moguls medals decided

Bilodeau becomes the first multiple Olympic champion in freestyle skiing and, on that note, he will retire having decided to do so before the Games.

One of the first people to congratulate him was elder brother Frederic who has cerebral palsy.

When he won gold in Vancouver, Bilodeau dedicated his victory to his brother and he said again earlier this week that it is Frederic who keeps him motivated to go out and train.

It certainly paid off tonight...

Alex Bilodeau sinks to his knees and will retire on a golden high ©Getty ImagesAlex Bilodeau sinks to his knees and will retire on a golden high ©Getty Images

Sochi 2014 gold medal23:27 Never write off a champion. Despite a poor start Alex Bilodeau comes storming back to claim the final gold of the day in the men's moguls.

It is Canadian gold and silver after Mikael Kingsbury takes second place while Russia's Alexandr Smyshlyaev does get a medal but will have to be content with bronze. 

23:22 A stunning run by defending champion Alex Bilodeau with a score of 26.31. He's got better with every run and will get a medal for sure with that. There will be no home gold as Alexandr Smyshlyaev lies second.

Who let the dogs on the ice?

23:19 It seems a long time ago when the story occupying everyone's attention in the Main Press Centre was the amount of stray dogs on the streets of Sochi. But The New Yorker Cartoon has not forgotten and produced its hilarious take on the story...To see more of their collection click here

The New Yorker Cartoon

Men's moguls "final" final

23:12 The six qualifiers for the third and final round of the men's moguls final can now be confirmed. They will consist of three Canadians in Mikael Kingsbury, Marc-Antoine Gagnon and Alex Bilodeau along with Kazakhstan's Dmitriy Reiherd, Patrick Deneen and the United States and Russia's Alexandr Smyshlyaev.

Apparently the Canadians may be competing in the same kit but do not train together and do not necessarily get on. No team tactics expected then...

Sibling success

23:04 Given that the Mulder brothers became just the second set of twins to win Winter Olympic medals in the same event in the speed skating earlier on today, it seems an appropriate time to bring you that long awaited, and much anticipated, statistic about sisters claiming gold and silver...

We can confirm that Canada's Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe were actually the third set of sisters to do this when they claimed a moguls one-two on Saturday.

At Innsbruck 1964 Christine and Marielle Goitschel of France claimed gold and silver in alpine skiing slalom before reversing these positions in the giant slalom then, 28 years later at Albertville 1992, Doris and Angelika Neuner of Austria did so in the luge.

How about that. 

But there is still medal action to come

Alex Bilodeau is wobbling in the defence of his moguls title under floodlights ©AFP/Getty ImagesAlex Bilodeau of Canada is wobbling in the defence of his moguls title under floodlights ©AFP/Getty Images

22:56 Perhaps we should not be thinking about the Heineken House quite yet because there is still medal action to come here in Sochi. 

We're on the second of three runs in the final of the men's moguls in freestyle skiing. And could there be a second gold medal for Russia - with Alexandr Smyshlyaev leading after the first round?

Canada's defending champion Alex Bilodeau had a poor first run, but much better in the second and he leads at this stage with several contenders - including the Russia - still to take their second run. 

This event is so tough on the knees...

We know the place to be tonight...

As the third day of competition at Sochi 2014 begins to draw to a close athletes, officials, journalists and spectators are beginning to make plans where to go this evening. After the day the Dutch have had, surely their can only be one place? Holland Heineken House...

The House, which as you might have guessed, is sponsored by the country's most famous beer manufacturer, has been a temporary meeting place for supporters, athletes and other followers at the Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics organised by by Heineken and NOC*NSF since Barcelona 1992. 

Here in Sochi, it is located at the Azimut Hotel Resort and, judging by the celebrations for Ireen Wurst, winner of the women's 3,000 metres speed skating last night, the party lasts long into the night...

Ireen Wurst celebrates with Dutch supporters after her speed skating 3,000 metres victory last night ©Holland Heineken House/FacebookIreen Wurst celebrates with Dutch supporters after her speed skating 3,000 metres victory last night ©Holland Heineken House/Facebook  
Rodnina apology for Barack Obama racist tweet

22:16 Olympic Flame lighter Irina Rodnina posted two messages apologising for her racist tweet about US President Barrack Obama earlier today. Last September the 64-year-old posted a doctored photo of Obama and wife Michelle in front of someone holding a banana. The former triple Olympic pairsskating champion also tweeted today that her account being hacked was responsible. Read our latest report here.

Norwegian Olympic legend happy to lose record if helps Oslo 2022 bid

Bjørn Dæhlie, winner of a record 12 Olympic medals, including eight gold, is set to lose his title as the most decorated athlete in Winter Games history to his compatriot Ole Einar Bjørndalen here at Sochi 2014. But he claimed he would be happy if that means it helps Oslo's bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. Lack of public support is a major issue for the campaign. Read more here

The second runs in the women's luge are complete, and Germany now have a 1-2. Natalie Geisenberger has extended her lead over second position, held by Tatjana Huefner, to 0.766 seconds. Erin Hamlin of the United States lies in third ahead of tomorrow's final two runs.

Netherlands flag21:18 If you are wondering how come the Dutch are so good at speed skating then this statistic will help. The country has 17 Olympic-sized ovals, whereas the United States has two. Another two are due to open in the Netherlands after Sochi 2014.

Quote graphic"You always want what you don't have and that's the one medal in my trophy case that I don't have. So I'm going to be dropping the hammer - and the sickle."
- Nate Holland of the United States stakes his claim for glory in the snowboard cross, and shows off his knowledge of Soviet history.

Dutch skating stardust

20:47 A little known factor in the remarkable success of the Dutch speed skating team at these Olympics is Charles van Commenee, the former head coach of UK Athletics before he quit after London 2012 following the team's failure to reach its medal target. He has been working as a technical director with the team since last October after being given the role by Dutch Skating's sporting director Arie Koops. No problems here about failing to meet targets, it seems...

Mascot versus mascot

The Sochi 2014 official mascots, the Leopard, the Polar Bear, and the Hare, perform during the Opening Ceremony ©Getty ImagesPete the mountain lion And Earl the raccoon have been revealed as the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships mascots ©FIS

20:42 Pete the mountain lion and Earl the raccoon (pictured right) have been unveiled as the official mascots of the 2015 International Ski Federation (FIS) Alpine World Ski Championships in the United States.

Now, far be it from us to pit cuddly bear against cuddly raccoon, but we wondered how the pair matched up to Sochi's three mascots the Leopard, the Polar Bear, and the Hare (pictured left). Which do you prefer? Tweet us your thoughts at @insidethegames, or visit our Facebook page.

20:31 The second runs in the women's luge are underway at the Sanki Sliding Centre. Leading after run one is Germany's Natalie Geisenberger. She has a significant 0.465 second advantage over Erin Hamlin of the United States. Tatjana Huefner of Germany lies third. The third and fourth runs are tomorrow. The luger with the best cumulative time after all the runs wins the gold.

Netherlands flag20:19 So impressive was that speed skating performance by the Dutch, that we're rolling out the flag of the Netherlands in their honour. That 500m 1-2-3 was their second of Sochi 2014, after Sven Kramer led home his team-mates in the 5,000m on Saturday. In fact, of the nine medals up for grabs in the speed skating so far for the men and women, the Netherlands have won seven of them. Mind boggling.

Sochi 2014 gold medal20:11 Well, well, well. The Dutch aren't too bad at this speed skating lark are they? Just a 1-2-3 in the 500m as their Orange-clad fans in the crowd roar with approval. Michel Mulder wins the gold with Jan Smeekens in second. Ronald Mulder (yes, Michel's brother) takes the bronze.

Quote graphic"I'd like to compensate with a margarita, chips and salsa, but that will have to wait till after competition."
The warm weather in Sochi is putting Nordic combined athlete and United States flag carrier Todd Lodwick in holiday mood.

Problems? What problems...

IOC member Richard Peterkin is not the only one impressed by the first few days of Sochi 2014 (see quote below). insidethegames' reporter Nick Butler has also praised the Russian organisers and volunteers. Read what he had to say here

Biathlon gold for France

Martin Fourcade en route to biathlon gold ©AFP/Getty ImagesMartin Fourcade en route to biathlon gold ©AFP/Getty Images

Sochi 2014 gold medal19:36 And there it is. Martin Fourcade of France wins the men's 12.5km pursuit. Czech Republic's Ondrej Moravec takes silver while there is another French medal courtesy of Jean Guillaume Beatrix with bronze.

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen was fourth and the wait for a 13th Olympic medal goes on.

Could France be about to win their first gold medal of Sochi 2014? Martin Fourcade leads in the closing stages of the biathlon.

Ole Einar Bjorndalen still in contention for a record 13th Olympic medal.

Johnny Quinn stuck again

19:28 Simply unbelievable. After having to smash down a bathroom door on Saturday, US bobsledder Johnny Quinn has got stuck again. In a lift this time.

twitter logoNo one is going to believe this but we just got stuck in an elevator. Ask @BOBSLEDR and @Crippsee who were there...
- Johnny Quinn has been stuck in a bathroom and in a lift. Where next? Will he get stuck halfway down the bobsleigh track I wonder...

Johnny Quinn stuck in a lift ©TwitterJohnny Quinn stuck in a lift today ©Twitter

Suspected militants killed

19:20: It is being reported that Russian police today killed four suspected militants in a shoot out at a house in the volatile North Caucasus region - where much of the terrorist fears which have clouded the build-up to Sochi 2014 originate.

But despite toothpaste bomb fears and rumours of a failed plane high-jacking attempt and diversion to Sochi, which leaked through during the Opening Ceremony on Friday, there has been refreshingly little focus on security here over the last week. 

19:15 Big match just beginning over at the Ice Cube Curling Centre as Great Britain's men take on the world champions Sweden.

Britain's men will be seeking to avenge their female counterparts who lost out 6-4 to the Swedes earlier on.

On this day

19:08 At Nagano 1998 Masahiko Harada completed his remarkable transformation from zero to hero to help the host nation win team gold in ski jumping in front of thousands of ecstatic fans. Four years earlier at Lillehammer 1994, Harada had succumbed to pressure with an abject final jump which cost Japan gold when only an average one was required to win.

Check out a fascinating insidethegames blog by Mike Rowbottom last month on this, and the wider role of "sporting jinxes"

twitter logoMy 6th day in ‪#‎Sochi2014‬ & have to say Russians are doing fantastic job. Obtrusive security? Nah. Organization? Smooth & efficient. Bravo.
- St Lucia's IOC member Richard Peterkin is clearly impressed so far with Sochi 2014

The item at 18:04 about Vladislav Tretiak reminds insidethegames of the occasion at Turin 2006, during Sochi's bid campaign to host these Games when, along with several other journalists, we were invited along to interview him. A colleague asked him if he had played in the Soviet Union team beaten to the gold medal by a United States team made up of amateur and college players at Lake Placid in 1980 - the "Miracle on Ice". His face growing visibly redder Tretiak threw his arms up in the air and shouted: "I played in four Olympic medal winning teams! I won three gold medals!! And all you people want to talk about is the one I lost!!!"

It is probably safe to assume that Miracle, the Kurt Russell film about how the United States won the Olympic ice hockey gold medal at Lake Placid at 1980, is not one of Vladislav Tretiak's favourite movies ©Walt Disney PicturesIt is probably safe to assume that Miracle, the Kurt Russell film about how the United States won the Olympic ice hockey gold medal at Lake Placid at 1980, is not one of Vladislav Tretiak's favourite movies ©Walt Disney Pictures

Video - Russian Police Choir sing Daft Punk's Get Lucky

18:26 Last Friday's Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony continues to trend on social media networks with the Russian Police Choir's performance of Daft Punk's Get Lucky continuing to attract a lot of comments. Miss it on the night? Or just want to see it again? Check it out below.

18:18 Surprise, surprise, it's a Dutch one-two as their athletes continue their reign of dominance at the Adler Arena Skating Centre after race one of the men's 500m speed skating. Jan Smeekens leads Michel Mulder by 0.04 seconds. Japan's Keiichiro Nagashima is third. Their times will be combined to their result in race two, which begins at 6.55pm, to decide the medallists.

Russian nerves for ice hockey gold

18:04 Vladislav Tretiak, President of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, has been at Sochi Airport greeting the Russian team's North American-based players who have come back for the Games.

A gold medal for the Russian team would be their first since the split up of the Soviet Union, who were Olympic champions seven times in nine Games between 1956 and 1988. Tretiak played in three of the winning teams - Sapporo 1972, Innsbruck 1976 and Sarajevo 1984.

The pressure on the Russian team here is huge. "I'm always nervous, but everybody will be nervous," said Tretiak, who lit the Olympic Flame at the Opening with former skater Irina Rodina. "We're all nervous because everybody wants to win, especially against us. All the teams want to face us in the final."

17:59 The first of two qualifying rounds in the men's moguls begin in a few moments. The three-stage finale will be on later.

©Twitter"These guys are FAST! The Polish skater just skated 500m in 35.01 seconds!"
- Philippines IOC Member Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski

English the "enemy's language" says Tokyo 2020 President - your reaction

Yoshirō Mori has rounded on critics who have questioned his age and lack of language skills ©Getty ImagesYoshirō Mori has rounded on critics who have questioned his age and lack of language skills ©Getty Images

17:55 Plenty of reaction to our story yesterday that Tokyo 2020 President Yoshirō Mori claims he does not speak English because it is the "enemy's language". A couple of comments, posted on Facebook, below.

Quote graphic"Tokyo takes a step backwards, but it's their gig. Where'd all those young people go?
- Terence Burns, who has worked on several successful Olympics campaigns, including Sochi 2014.

Quote graphic"I found Chairman Mori was eight years old when the war was over in 1945 and he had a plenty of opportunities to learn English under the US-occupied democratised post-war Japan. He has very misconstrued and warped views of history. Embarrassing."
- Hidenori Arai

17:45 Halfway through race one of the men's 500m speed skating. Poland's Artur Was leads, with another 20 still to take to the ice. Roman Krech of Kazakhstan is second. Race two will begin just before 7pm.

"Stoked" Sage

Sage Kotsenburg is "stoked" after his slopestyle gold ©Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for USOCSage Kotsenburg is "stoked" after his slopestyle gold ©Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for USOC

17:12 American Sage Kotsenburg, winner of the first gold medal at Sochi 2014, when he won the slopestyle snowboard, has been appearing before the world's press at the Main Press Centre here today. He used the word "awesome" a lot and appears to spend a lot of time "stoked". Of Jenny Jones' bronze in the women's event yesterday, Kostsenburg said: "Great Britain, it's pretty sick to see on the podium in a slopestyle event." We think that means he thinks it is good...

Ticket sales

17:06 The number of tickets sold for yesterday was 59,395, Sochi 2014 spokeswoman Aleksandra Kosterina has revealed. "In most stadiums more than 90 per cent of the tickets were sold out," she said. "We have almost a complete sellout with figure skating, and 100 per cent sellout with luge.

"The medal ceremony celebration in the [Olympic] Park was massive. More than 70,000 people were there."

17:03 The first of two races in the men's 500m speed skating has begun at the Adler Arena Skating Centre. Forty men will race in pairs. The skater with the fastest combined time after the two races wins the gold. Will the Netherlands bag another skating gold?

IOC's helmet sticker ban

Helmet stickers were won by many at the Winter X Games last month out of respect for Sarah Burke ©Getty ImagesHelmet stickers were won by many at the Winter X Games last month out of respect for Sarah Burke ©Getty Images

16:58 The International Olympic Committee have defended their decision not to allow athletes competing here to use helmet stickers as a mark of respect for Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke, who died in an accident last month.

"For us it is a question of what is appropriate," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. "We have huge sympathy and she [Burke] needs to be well remembered either individually or collectively. The competitions themselves are not the right place to do that and we would like to keep that separate."

He said the IOC could help organise another event or news conference to remember multiple X Games champion Burke, who died in January from injuries sustained in a training crash in Park city, Utah. She had successfully lobbied for the inclusion of the superpipe event at this year's Sochi Games.

But snowboarder Tora Bright hit out at the decision. "I ride with a Sarah sticker on my snowboard and helmet always. The IOC however, consider Sarah stickers 'a political statement' and have banned them. WOW," Bright wrote on social networking site Instagram.

Sweeping up the curling

Four men's and four women's matches have been played on day one of the curling competition in Sochi ©Getty ImagesFour men's and four women's matches have been played on day one of the curling competition in Sochi ©Getty Images

16:54 As tempting as it is to litter this blog entry with numerous sweeping/broom puns, we won't. What we will say is that the four women's curling round robin matches are complete. Reigning Olympic champions Sweden have got off to a perfect start up against one of the favourites, Great Britain, with a 6-4 win. Hosts Russia defeated Denmark 7-4, with Switzerland beating the United States by the same scoreline. Canada beat China 9-2.

Four more men's matches take place from 7pm.

©Twitter"My grandpa is smiling down at me from heaven and saying I can be proud no matter what happens! This one's for you Grandpa Denny:) #discotime"
- Julia Mancuso of the USA before winning bronze in the women's super combined.

16:24 That's a third gold medal for Canada's Charles Hamelin. He won 500m and 5,000m relay gold in front of his home crowd in Vancouver four years ago. He also won silver in the relay in Turin 2006.

Sochi 2014 gold medal16:18 Charles Hamelin of Canada wins the gold - fine skating from him having led for much of the race. Tianyu Han of China wins silver, Victor An of Russia the bronze.

16:16 Seven speed skaters in this 1,500m final: Charles Hamelin of Canada; Jack Whelbourne of Great Britain; Tianyu Han of China; Victor An of Russia; J.R. Celski of the Untied States; Dequan Chen of China and Han-Bin Lee of Korea.

16:14 The B final has been won by Sebastien Lepape of France. A clash between Se Yeong Park of Korea and Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands saw the Korean penalised.

16:11 The next gold medal at play is at the Iceberg Skating Palace on Sochi's Olympic Park. The finals of the men's 1,500m short track speed skating are on now.

16:07 No surprises here, but America's women are thrashing Switzerland 9-0 in the hockey. A group match, of course.

Maria's seeing double

Maria Höfl-Riesch looks to the heavens as she celebrates her gold medal ©Getty ImagesMaria Höfl-Riesch looks to the heavens as she celebrates her gold medal ©Getty Images

16:02 Back-to-back titles in the women's super combined has been achieved just once before since the event became a mainstay at the Winter Olympics in Calgary 1988. Janica Kostelić of Croatia won the event in 2002 and 2006. Maria Höfl-Riesch - who also won slalom gold in Vancouver 2010 - now joins her in that impressive feat.

Sochi 2014 gold medal15:45 Maria Höfl-Riesch of Germany successfully defends her Olympic title! Julia Mancuso has more than a second to play with on her slalom run, but it's untidy and she falls to bronze medal position. Nicole Hosp of Austria takes the silver.

15:43 Half a second in her pocket, and well up on the first split, Lara Gut is looking good before losing control. She's out.

15:42 Lara Gut of Switzerland and Julia Mancuso of the USA to come next.

15:41 Slovenian Tina Maze, third after the downhill, is third overall after an untidy slalom run. Maria Höfl-Riesch is guaranteed a medal.

15:40 No medal for Austria's Anna Fenninger, who goes sixth.

15:37 Defending champion Maria Höfl-Riesch of Germany picks up good speed in the bottom half of the run to take the lead, by 0.40 seconds. Four to go.

15:33 Nicole's countrywoman Elisabeth Goergl straddles a gate - her medal hopes are over. Lotte Smiseth Sejersted of Norway suffers a similar fate. Five runners remain, the defending Olympic champion up next.

15:31 Nicole Hosp, of Austria, eighth after the downhill, takes the lead by more than a second.

We have a new leader

Austria's Michaela Kirchgasser has been bumped down to third in the super combined ©AFP Getty Images  Austria's Michaela Kirchgasser has been bumped down to third in the super combined ©AFP Getty Images

15:29 It wasn't likely to last too long, as Norway's Ragnhild Mowinckel takes the lead from Michaela Kirchgasser of Austria.

In the next run, Dominique Gisin moves into the lead, by a narrow 0.03 seconds.

15:22 Austria's Michaela Kirchgasser remains in the lead in the super combined, still 12 women who were faster than her in the downhill to come.

Curling update

15:21 Tearing ourselves away from the slalom briefly to see how the four women's curling matches are unfolding. Canada lead China 3-0, with Switzerland 3-2 up against the United States. Russia are 3-1 up on Denmark, while Sweden lead Great Britain 3-2. All to play for.

15:16 Canada's Marie-Michele Gagnon clutches her wrist as she picks herself up from a fall. Let's hope it's not too serious. She is followed by Leanne Smith, who aborts her run after missing a gate.

15:11 The early leader is Austria's Michaela Kirchgasser, but there's a long way to go.

15:06 Another Slovakian doesn't make it to the bottom - Jana Gantnerova is out after a fall. 

15:01 And first out is Kristina Saalova of Slovakia. And first OUT is Kristina Saalova of Slovakia. She goes tumbling after pummelling a gate. She looks distraught, but doesn't look to be injured.

15:00 Here we go, the slalom run in the women's super combined is on. The top five (see 12:34), will have their runs towards the end.

Balmy Sochi

14:43 It's a balmy 14 degrees Celsius in Sochi today - warmer than London, Paris, Rome and Mardrid. Temperature are forecast to reach 19 degrees Celsius on Thursday!

14:33 The heats of the women's 500m short track speed skating have begun. There are eight races each with four competitors. The top two in each race advance to the quarter-finals.

Get the elbows out!

China's Shi Jingnani falls as he competes in the men's short track 1500m heats ©AFP/Getty Images

14:18 It's a brutal business this short track speed skating. One minute you're out in front, the next you end up flat on the ice. The 1,500m heats have been completed, with 19 making it through to the the semi-finals which begin at just after 3pm.

Crystal ballOK, this is a bit amazing... journalist and Olympic pundit Philip Barker correctly predicted who would light the Olympic cauldron in Sochi back in September 2013 in a blog on insidethegames! We're off to ask him for the lottery numbers.

©Twitter"Just waking up... Yesterday felt like a dream! So thankful it's actually reality!"
- Slopestyle gold medallist Jamie Anderson, of the USA, is still coming to terms with her historic win.

12:47 Time for a bit of a breather, before our next slice of sporting action in Sochi. The heats of the men's 1,500 metre speed skating will get underway in an hour, at 1.45pm. The semi-finals will start at 4.05pm, with the finals following on. The heats for the women's 500m will begin at 2.27pm.

The women's curling competition will be up and running soon. Four matches in the Ice Cube Curling Centre will begin at 2pm: China versus Canada; Switzerland versus United States; Russia versus Denmark and Sweden versus Great Britain.

Over at the Shayba Arena, United States and Switzerland will go stick to stick in their group stage ice hockey encounter at 2pm.

Mancuso in pole position

Julia Mancuso leads the pack heading into the slalom run later today ©AFP/Getty ImagesJulia Mancuso leads the pack heading into the slalom run later today ©AFP/Getty Images

12: 34 
America's Julia Mancuso is in pole position after the downhill run in the women's super combined. The Vancouver 2010 silver medallist is 0.47 seconds ahead of Lara Gut of Switzerland, with Slovakia's Tina Maze third and Austria's Anna Fenninger in fourth, 0.99 seconds behind Mancuso. Defending Olympic champion Maria Höfl-Riesch is fifth. The slalom run is due to start at 3pm. Can Mancuso hold on for hold?

11:47 The first four men's curling round robin matches have been completed. Defending champions Canada defeated Germany 11-8, While Vancouver 2010 bronze medallists Switzerland were beaten 7-5 by Sweden. Great Britain defeated hosts Russia 7-4, and China overcame Denmark 7-4.

11:00 The women's super combined downhill is underway at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre. The downhill runs will be held first, with the slalom runs starting at 3pm. The skier with the best combined time will win the gold. Defending Olympic champion Maria Höfl-Riesch goes for Germany, in what should be a hard-fought competition.

Wonderful picture of Dutch royalty cycling in to watch the speed skating ©TwitterWonderful picture of Dutch royalty cycling in to watch the speed skating yesterday ©Twitter

Underway on day three

10:40 Sporting action well underway on day three here in Sochi and its Great Britain 6-1 up on host nation Russia in the men's curling.

One of the hidden gems of the Olympic programme is curling I have always thought, in comparison with the speed and volatility of many other disciplines, it is a much more of a slowburner.

But, with memories of staying up into the small hours to watch Rhona Martin's team win gold for Britain at Salt Lake City 2002 leaping into my head, it can be utterly pulsating...

Doping news

10:01 One of the best, but least observed, things about Sochi 2014 so far has been the lack of doping scandals. 

The only one was the news emerging two weeks before the Games that three unnamed biathletes - two from Russia and one from Lithuania - tested positive. The two Russians - consisting of a proposed Olympic team member in Irina Starykh and former world champion Ekaterina Iourieva - were quickly identified and our report can be read here. 

The identity of the Lithuanian has now emerged as well after Karolis Zlatkauskas, who was never selected for Sochi 2014, admitted to doping and waived the right to have his B sample tested.

"Mr. Zlatkauskas admitted that he made a mistake," IBU said in a website statement. "He pointed out in a letter to the IBU that with his action he deeply disappointed the IBU, the Lithuanian Biathlon Federation and his team. He closed his comments by offering an apology to the whole biathlon family for his actions."

9:42 Five more will be won today in alpine skiing, long and short track speed skating, moguls freestyle sking and pursuit biathlon.

President Vladimir Putin was among those congratulating the Russian team after their victory this evening ©Getty ImagesPresident Vladimir Putin was among those congratulating the Russian team after their victory this evening ©Getty Images

We have just about recovered from the excitement of a first home gold medal last night as a Russian team - combining the experience of Yevgeny Plushenko and the teenage vigour of 15-year old Yulia Lipnitskaya - won in front of President Vladimir Putin.

There were eight gold medals won yesterday by eight different countries with United States, Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Switzerland and Poland also getting in on the action.

09:00 Good morning and welcome back to Sochi for insidethegames' exclusive live blog of day three of the Winter Olympic Games!