Skating medallist


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

BREAKING NEWS: Human rights activists and Pussy Riot members released after being arrested in Sochi (see 18:58, 14:57, 15:00 and 15:08 for more)

Until tomorrow...

 So a busy day 11 at Sochi comes to an end – just how we like it.

Sven Kramer was humbled by Dutch team-mate Jorrit Bergsma in the men's 10,000m speed skating, as he led home the fourth 1-2-3 for the Netherlands at the Adler Arena.

Emil Hegle Svendsen was involved in a photo finish with double gold medallist Martin Fourcade, before being declared the winner for Norway in the delayed men's 15km biathlon mass start.

And Vanessa Mae, a full 50 seconds behind giant slalom winner Tina Maze of Slovenia, made a harmonious, if not rapid, descent down the hill on her Olympic debut.

What does day 12 hold? Just the eight gold medals in what is set to be the busiest day of the Games so far.

Medals will be won in men's giant slalom, biathlon mixed relay, women's bobsleigh, women's and men's cross country team sprint, women's and men's parallel giant slalom and women's 5,000m speed skating.

Action will begin at 09.15 with parallel giant slalom qualifying. 

And insidethegames will, of course, be blogging all day.

Until then, goodnight.

And that's the whistle, the Czech Republic win 5-3 and join Latvia in the ice hockey quarter finals.

Latvia are through to the men's ice hockey quarter finals, after a 3-1 win over Switzerland. The Czech Republic look to have averted an embarrassing comeback in the other play-off match, with a 5-3 lead over Slovakia.

Medals table tightens
Medals table top five ©ITG
The medals table has tightened up after seven gold medals were won today. Germany remain top with eight golds, but Norway are clipping at their heels with seven. The Netherlands and United States each have six golds, while Russia, Switzerland and Belarus each have five. See the full table here.

Slovakia attempting to mount what would be a phenomenal comeback against the Czech Republic in the ice hockey. They've scored two goals to reduce their deficit to 4-3.

 The last sporting action of the night in Sochi is in the two men's ice hockey play-offs, where quarter-final spots await the winners. The Czech Republic lead Slovakia 4-1, with Latvia 2-1 up on Switzerland.

Ski halfpipe final

Sochi 2014 gold medal22:28 G
old for David Wise of the United States after Justin Dorey falls. Mike Riddle of Canada takes silver with Kevin Rolland of France in third. New Zealand's Josiah Wells almost made history for his country, but has to make do with a very respectable fourth.

David Wise wins halfpipe gold ©Getty Images

The last runner, Justin Dorey of Canada, is heading out. Can he steal gold at the death?

Leader David Wise is guaranteed a medal, but with Justin Dorey of Canada still to run, he needs to post a better score if he can. An early error though scuppers his chances.

Benoit Valentin, who fell on his first run, going for gold for France. A score of 61.00 is nowhere near enough to challenge the top three however.

Frenchman Kevin Rolland, in third heading off for his second run, makes an error. Will he hang on for a medal?

Josiah Wells of New Zealand does not improve his score - he remains fourth.

Mike Riddle of Canada goes second with a score of 90.60.

The top four remains unchanged from the first runs, with five men having completed their second runs.

Beau-James Wells of New Zealand puts in a good run, but it's only enough for fifth overall.

Another hefty fall for Thomas Krief of France. No medal for him, but he is in one piece.

Aaron Blunck is fifth overall, scoring 79.40 for his second run.

The second runs have begun, with Aaron Blunck of the United States out first.

Worth mentioning at this point that New Zealand have won just one Winter Olympic medal in their history, a silver - Annelise Coberger in the slalom in Albertville 1992.

First runs complete, and it's David Wise of the United States who leads from Kevin Rolland of France. Josiah Wells of New Zealand is third.

Big accident for Justin Dorey. The Canadian hits the top of the halfpipe with his skis and looks winded as he picks himself up.

Justin Dorey of Canada crashes out ©Getty ImagesJustin Dorey of Canada crashes out ©Getty Images

David Wise of the United States scores 92.00 to take the lead. Just Canada's Justin Dorey left to do his first run.

Benoit Valentin goes for broke on his run, and it's looking good. But he can't quite stay upright on one of his landings, and the Frenchman has it all to do in his second attempt.

It's not easy to pick out the skiers as they launch into their tricks - the heavy snow at times shielding their brilliance.

The lead keeps changing as the top qualifiers from earlier hit the snow. Kevin Rolland of France goes top.

Josiah Wells is on the edge in his run. The New Zealander takes the lead.

Noah Bowman, one of three Canadians in this final, goes top with a score of 80.40.

The snow is making it tough for the skiers as they twist and turn through a flurry of the white stuff.

A good run by Finland's Antti-Jussi Kemppainen, and he's the new leader.

Aaron Blunck of the United States the early leader with three men completing their runs.

Thomas Krief of France falls hard pulling a trick. But he's OK as he picks himself up. Each skier will get two runs, with the best score winning the gold.

Heavy snow falling as the first of 12 men take to the run in the inaugural Olympic ski halfpipe competition at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

Ice hockey and freestyle skiing

We've got two more play-off matches in the men's ice hockey being played, with coveted quarter-final spots up for grabs. The Czech Republic lead Slovakia 2-0, while Latvia lead Switzerland 1-0 in the other game.

Meanwhile, the seventh of seven golds on offer today will soon be won, as the ski halfpipe competition reaches its final stage. Justin Dorey of Canada topped the qualification standings. It gets underway at 21:30.

It gets better and better for United States 1, a tenth quick than Canada, and their overall lead at the end of day one stands at 0.23 seconds. Not insurmountable by any stretch, but a handy advantage to hold heading into tomorrow's final two runs. United States 2 are third, half a second ahead of Belgium.

A great run by Canada, who stretch their lead over United States 2 to 0.33 seconds. Just United States 1 to hit the track.

"Heading to the Medal Plaza to pick up some hardware! #Sochi2014"
- Steven Langton of the United States, who won bronze in the two man bobsleigh/

Better luck for the Belgians, who go top of the cumulative time sheets with the top three next up. One tenth separates Belgium in first to the Netherlands in third.

No skates on their feet, but the Netherlands are giving a good account of themselves in the bobsleigh. After a whack against the wall, they slip behind Germany 1 by 0.01.

The Germans have disappointed so far in the women's bobsleigh. Their teams lie first, third and fourth after the second runs, but the top five teams after run one are yet to take to the track.

The teams will be going in reverse order in their second bobsleigh runs, so the leader will be last on the track. The United States could hold first and second by the end of these runs.

After the first runs in the women's bobsleigh, United States 1 lead Canada by 0.13 seconds. United States 2 lie in bronze, just a few hundredths of a second further back. Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany 1 are up next. The second runs begin at 20:20, with the medals being awarded tomorrow after runs three and four.

Netherlands flag19:44
And yes, that deserves a Dutch flag graphic. They chalked up a 1-2-3 in the men's 500m, 5,000 and now the 10,000m. They also locked out the podium in the women's 1,500 metres. Of their 20 Sochi medals, 19 are courtesy of speed skating. Not bad...

Jorrit Bergsma wins gold ©Getty Images

Sochi 2014 gold medal19:37
It's a FOURTH speed skating 1-2-3 for the Netherlands. But it's not Sven Kramer's gold. Jorrit Bergsma breaks the Olympic Record to secure victory, with Kramer, the 5,000m champion, almost five seconds back in second. Bob de Jong wins the bronze.

A superb Olympic Record by Jorrit Bergsma of the Netherlands sees him lead a Dutch 1-2 in the men's 10,000m speed skating. Two skaters to go, including compatriot Sven Kramer, who was disqualified having "won" gold in this event four years ago (see 16:45). Could the Netherlands be on for another 1-2-3?

Russia won, and lost, their ice hockey matches 4-0 today. The match it's fair to say the whole nation was anticipating, their men's play-off against Norway, was won. That victory sees Russia through to the quarter-finals, and still on track to win the most coveted gold of these Games for the host nation. The women, who lost their quarter-final match on Saturday, were defeated in their classification match against Finland by the same scoreline.

The two-women bobsleigh is about to get underway. Four runs will sort out the medals at the Sanki Sliding Centre.

Ah, snow

Austria's Marco Ladner competes in the men's skiing halfpipe as the snow falls in Sochi ©AFP/Getty ImagesAustria's Marco Ladner competes in the men's skiing halfpipe as the snow falls in Sochi ©AFP/Getty Images

We may have mentioned this already, but it's snowing! A Winter Olympics without snow is a bit like a bike without pedals. Well maybe not, but it feels right. Will the T-shirts make another Sochi appearance before Sunday?

Pussy Riot pair released

Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova have just been released from jail, after being detained by law enforcement authorities this afternoon.

Tolokonnikova said they had been accused of robbery while Alyokhina said they had been detained on suspicion of committing a crime but did not give details. Scroll down to 14:57, 15:00 and 15:08 for more.

A Dutchman, not to any great surprise after what has gone on over the last 11 days at the Alder Arena, leads the 10,000m men's speed skating. Bob de Jong is in pole position, but four skaters ,including the defending champion and Sven Kramer of the Netherlands, are yet to race.

Russia's men remain 2-0 up against Norway, and are on the verge of the ice hockey quarter-finals. Russia's women, who lost their quarter-final to Switzerland, are 4-0 down to Finland in their classification match.

"Boring" without NHL negotiations over Olympic participation

Rene Fasel admitted he relishes the challenge of negotiations over Olympic participation ©Getty Images
René Fasel, President of the International Ice Hockey Federation, has claimed to relish the quad-annual challenge of securing the presence of the world's best players at the Olympic Games.

Qualification for the inaugural Olympic ski halfpipe competition has begun. Twenty-nine men compete, with the final at 21:30.

Russia have one foot (or maybe half a puck) in the quarter-finals of the men's ice hockey. They double their advantage over Norway to 2-0.

Shane Dobbin of New Zealand is the early leader of the men's 10,000m. The quickest skaters still yet to take to the ice.

"I am hugely disappointed I won't be able to compete on Thursday. 
"After experiencing what it is like to be at an Olympic Games I am determined to be back in four years time and be up there competing for an Olympic medal.
"I cannot express how grateful I am for all the get well messages and support I have had from everyone here in Sochi and back in the UK. It means a lot."
- British halfpipe skier Rowan Cheshire, who was taken to hospital after suffering a concussion in a training accident at the weekend, has been ruled out of competing in Sochi.

A "phew" moment for the Russians, as they go one up on Norway in the men's ice hockey play-off. 

The first pair of seven in the men's 10,000m speed skating have raced. With races taking about 13 minutes, we'll have a bit of a wait before we see Sven Kramer and defending champion Lee Seung-Hoon, who go last.

"Big hockey day! #Russia vs #Norway. Good luck, guys! We need a victory! #gorussia #Sochi2014"
- Sochi 2014 President and chief executive Dmitry Chernyshenko on an important moment for the host nation.

Russian eyes are firmly fixed on the Bolshoy Ice Dome, where Russia's men face Norway in a play-off to decide which team will make it to the quarter-finals of the ice hockey competition. A must win for the home team in the truest sense.

Kramer's chance to make amends

Sven Kramer reacts angrily as his coach Gerard Kemkers tries to console him after his disqualification from the 10,000m race at Vancouver 2010 ©Getty ImagesSven Kramer reacts angrily as his coach Gerard Kemkers tries to console him after his disqualification from the 10,000m race at Vancouver 2010 ©Getty Images

Sven Kramer of the Netherlands will soon have the chance to make amends for his heartbreaking disqualification from the men's 10,000m speed skating four years ago in Vancouver.

The Dutchman was cruising to gold when he took the wrong lane, directed by his coach Gerard Kemkers, who took the blame for the error. Kramer celebrated winning the gold, only to be told by Kemkers that he had been thrown out of the race. Victory went instead to Lee Seung-Hoon of Korea, and he and Kramer will race together in the final pair. The first of seven pairs will race at 17:00.

The Norwegian press have been critical of their ski team at these Games, but they're coming good with two golds today, and nipping at Germany's heels in the medals table.

Sochi 2014 gold medal16:26
It's a glorious 1-2 for Norway with a late-race charge. Joergen Graabak wins gold from Magnus Hovdal Moan. Bronze belongs to Fabian Riessle of Germany.

Bjoern Kircheisen of Germany leads the cross country race, just.

It's shoulder to shoulder in the Nordic combined cross country - a gaggle of racers in the mix for the medals as we reach the crucial final kilometres.

"Could not understand their retail strategy. Not that much in there either. Too expensive and too winter."
- International Olympic Committee member Richard Peterkin, from Saint Lucia, on the Sochi souvenir store in the Olympic Park operated by Russian retailer Bosco di Ciliegi.

We've had our snow graphic primed and ready for the best part of two weeks - but having bathed in sunshine for most of these Winter Olympics - we thought it was a lost cause. Until today that is, where the white stuff, and some rain too, has been falling.

Six men in the lead group out on the Nordic combined cross country course, including France's defending Olympic champion Jason Lamy Chappuis.

We've got the cross country part of the Nordic combined beginning any second now - the fourth gold to be won on day 11 of Sochi 2014. Germany's Eric Frenzel will have an eight second head start over Haavard Klemetsen of Norway. 

Norway shoot into second

Norwegian flag15:50 That gold for Norway in the men's 15km biathlon mass start sees them shoot (forgive the pun) clear of the pack in the medals table. They're now in second, with six golds, two shy of Germany, but one clear of Russia, Netherlands, United States, Switzerland and Belarus. See the full table here.

Biathlon and short track medals action

For the record, Norway's Ole Einer Bjoerndalen ended up 22nd, having missed six shots across the four shoots. But he does have two relay opportunities to come in his quest for a record 13th Winter Olympic medal.

Wow! After 42 minutes of racing not to mention 45 and a half hours of delays since the race was due to begin, that biathlon was absolutely worth it.

The biathlon and the short track relay each showed that - for all the suspense of the time trial format we see so often in winter sport - nothing, simply nothing, beats the drama, excitement and intensity of an actual race. 

South Korea win the womens short-track relay ©AFP/Getty ImagesSouth Korea win the women's short-track relay ©AFP/Getty Images

A magnificent finish to the mass start biathlon ©Getty ImagesA magnificent finish to the mass start biathlon ©Getty Images

Sochi 2014 gold medal15:27
We have a photo finish. And it is Emil Hegle Svendsen of Sweden who is awarded gold. Both he and Fourcade stop the clock on 42 min 29.1 sec but the Frenchman has to settle for silver on this occasion. Thrilling stuff!

Bronze goes to Moravec of the Czech Republic - almost 14 seconds behind the leading pair. 

It is between Fourcade, Moravec and Svendsen for the medals. Fourcade the best on the shooting range yet again... and Moravec of Czech Republic is being dropped...

The final shoot in the biathlon is taking place. A disastrous final shoot by Bjoerndalen. He will not win a medal.

Sochi 2014 gold medal15:17
South Korea win the 3,000m short track relay. They clock 4 min 09.408 sec to beat Canada and Italy into the minor medal positions. China are disqualified. 

Redemption for South Korea after they were controversially disqualified at Vancouver 2010

But Ondrej Moravec of the Czech Republic is now in front from Svendsen and Fourcade. The 3,000m relay in short-track is also going on...

 Back to the sport for the moment and Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway leads in the biathlon. But Martin Fourcade and Ole Einer Bjoerndalen are both in contention. Horrible visibility and tricky underfoot conditions - but the mass start really is a fantastic spectacle.

Human rights activists and Pussy Riot members arrested in Sochi

15:08 It is though that the pair - along with the others who were arrested -  are being held at a police station in Adler, a suburb of Sochi that is home to the Olympic Park.

Semyon Simonov, who has also been arrested and posted one of the initial messages about it on Twitter, has been a foremost campaigner against the alleged abuses of migrant labourers at Olympic sites ahead of the Games.

15:00 Acording to more messages on Twitter, the Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were detained by law enforcement authorities this afternoon.

Tolokonnikova wrote that they had been accused of robbery while Alyokhina said they had been detained on suspicion of committing a crime but did not give details.

Both women said police used force and threw them in a police van.

The pair were released from nearly two years in prison in December after President Vladimir Putin granted an amnesty for political prisoners. Read our article at the time here.

It is thought the duo are in Sochi to perform and record a music video for a new Pussy Riot song - entitled Putin Will Teach You To Love The Motherland.

14:57 Moving away from sport for the moment because Russian human rights activist Semyon Simonov is tweeting about his arrest in Sochi along with members of Pussy Riot in the past hour.

twitter logoTen people, including Pussy Riot, me and David Hakim, now detained in the center of Sochi. # Sochi2014
- One in a series of messages by human rights activist Semyon Simonov

We will bring you more information on this as it comes.

The cross-country part of the Nordic combined will begin at 16:00 this afternoon.

Eric Frenzel fights off illness and the weather conditions to lead again in the Nordic combined ©Getty ImagesEric Frenzel fights off illness and the weather conditions to lead again in the Nordic combined ©Getty Images

Action has also begun - at long, long last - in the biathlon mass start race. Can Martin Fourcade of France win his third gold medal? Or can Ole Einer Bjoerndalen break the record medal haul? 

14:42 We are unchanged after the conclusion of the Nordic combined ski jumping in as far as the top three are positioned, just to tidy that up.

Eric Frenzel of Germany on course for a second gold ahead of Haavard Klemetsen of Norway and Bernhard Gruber of Austria

14:35 Vanessa Mae of Thailand finishes 50 seconds behind the winner after the second run of the giant slalom. The 35-year-old holds her arms aloft when crossing the line - she will be classified as 67th and last of the finishers - but ahead of the 20 who failed to finish.

14:32 While we at insidethegames can, with exceptions, go where we like at Sochi 2014 due to our accreditation badges - what is it like for those who don't have broadcasting rights? Reporter Nick Butler found out with a tour around the Fox Sports studios. Read his blog here

14:26 Normal hill winner Eric Frenzel's participation in this event was only confirmed this morning (see 09:54) but he has just soared into the lead with 139.5 metres and 129 points.

Will it be a ninth gold medal for Germany? The cross country section will follow...

14:21 In the Nordic combined ski jumping section Haavard Klemetsen of Norway is our current leader ahead of Bernhard Gruber of Austria.

Final stages of giant slalom

Tina Maze posted this picture after her first gold medal - she has another one to add now after a super giant slalom win - she has now won the first and second ever Winter Olympic titles for Slovenia.

Tina Maze will have more weight on her pillow after a second gold medal ©TwitterTina Maze will have more weight on her pillow after a second gold medal ©Twitter

14:12 S
lovenia have beaten Austria 4-0 in the ice hockey qualification period and they will progress to a quarter-final with Finland. The Slovenians have become something of a sensation in this tournament - and Jan Mursak scores their fourth at virtually the same time as - up at Rosa Khutor - Tina Maze wins gold.

"A-Maze-ing" says insidethegames historian Philip Barker - who is full of jokes today.

There are many skiers still to come in the giant slalom but they will not get near the time of Maze and the result has been confirmed.

Still to come will be Thailand's Vanessa Mae - who finished some 27 seconds off the pace of Maze in the first run down in 74st and last of those who finished - although 15 did not. 

Click here to read more about the Vanessa Maze story in a blog last month by Mike Rowbottom

Tina Maze defies the conditions to win the giant slalom gold medal for Slovenia ©Getty ImagesTina Maze defies the conditions to win the giant slalom gold medal for Slovenia ©Getty Images

Sochi 2014 gold medal14:01
Tina Maze does hold on to win a second gold medal. Her total time was 0.07 seconds quicker than Fenninger - who takes silver while Rebensburg claims bronze.

Into the final stages up at Rosa Khutor now - and Anna Fenninger of Austria is our leader as she chases a second gold medal.

Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany remains second but Tina Maze of Slovenia is still to come...

13:55 The action is really hotting up now. The jumping section of the Nordic combined is underway while - almost two days late - the men's 15km mass start biathlon will begin. Or it should begin anyway - we cannot take anything up at the Laura Biathlon Centre for granted now as far as start-times are concerned. 

Slovenia are also closing in on an ice hockey quarter-final showdown with Finland. They still lead Austria 3-0 in the final period...

13:53 Over in the short-track, Valerie Maltais of Canada sets a new Olympic record time of 1 min 28.771 sec to win her heat and progress to Friday's 1,000m quarter-finals.

13:51 Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany is the new leader ahead of Maria Pietilae-Holmner of Sweden. But it will change a lot over the next few minutes...

13:46  Anemone Marmottan of France now leads in the giant slalom ahead of the Swiss pair of Lara Gut and Diminique Gisin.

Competitors are going in reverse order from the first run so Tina Maze of Slovenia will be last to go.

13:41 Though actually, I may have unintentionally exaggerated the rain here then as I am told the sound of the air conditioning is very similar... Oh well, it is certainly very bad up on the mountains.

insidethegames Olympic historian Philip Barker has returned to the press centre pretty drenched after abandoning his attempt to walk to the short-track. So the weather is bad here as well, I can confirm...

13:38 You know what - it actually feels like winter at the moment in Sochi as the rain reverbrates down on the roof of the curling press centre. 

But the weather doesn't matter in the short track speed skating - as the women's 1,000m gets underway. 

13:31 Francesca Marsaglia of Italy leads in the skiing at this stage. Conditions are terrible at the moment - but not sure if this is too much of a disadvantage as they do not look like they will get any better soon.

13:23 Meanwhile, Germany are leading Japan in the women's ice hockey classification match while in the men's qualification play-off, Slovenia move 3-0 up on Austria as we reach the end of the second period.

13:15 Now Lotte Smiseth Sejersted of Sweden does get us underway. The weather is set to get worse as the day progresses so the organisers want to get this finished as soon as possible. Read our article on the impact of the weather yesterday here.

13:12 Or not, so far in the case of the giant slalom. Snow, wind and rain have caused temporary delays up at Rosa Khutor. And looking in the general direction of the mountains  - not that you can see them due to the mist - it is not surprising there are delays.

12:59 Lots about to get underway here in Sochi - Nordic combined and short-track speed skating about to begin as well as the second run of the giant slalom.

Quote graphic"Yesterday there was a bit of a delay. It wasn't very good for the morale. This morning there was a bit of pressure but just the right amount. It was just a pleasure to be here and a pleasure to ride. When I passed the finish line I think I was still up in the air (from the last jump). My luck was that I didn't compete against the Russian until the final. I think that played in my favour."
- France's Pierre Vaultier reflects on the delays and his victory in the snowboard cross.

12:45 We are underway this afternoon in ice hockey and Slovenians lead Austria 2-0 after the first period of the men's qualification play off. 

Another good day for Slovenia so far after the success for Tina Maze in the skiing earlier. 

12:36 Lots of reaction to the finish to that curling as rain falls - for just about the first time - in the Olympic Park.

Britain took an almighty gamble with that final shot but - had they taken the easy shot and gone into a deciding end - Norway would have had the hammer. And the statistics tell you that Britain would only have had a 35 per cent success rate. 

So it was a brave option - but a wise one as well. "The shot of my career" says Murdock. Others are calling it the shot of the century...

Curling finish and snowboard cross final

12:20 Right, we are going to need to catch our breath after the conclusion of those two.

The men's snowboard cross final gets underway ©AFP/Getty ImagesThe men's snowboard cross final gets underway as Pierre Vaultier heads for French gold ©AFP/Getty Images

Sochi 2014 gold medal12:01 Pierre Vaultier of France wins the first gold medal of the day in a thrilling men's snowboard cross race.

He holds off Russian Nikolay Olyunin, who took silver while American Alex Deibold edged out France's Paul-Henri de le Rue in the closing stages to take bronze.

11:58 Now it is the turn of the snowboard cross final.

- Even insidethegames Olympic historian Philip Barker is getting excited by the curling drama...

11:55 Britain will face Sweden in the semi-final tomorrow afternoon while China will face Switzerland in the other match.

The tension is unbearable but David Murdock makes the final shot to put Great Britain in the semi-final ©AFP/Getty ImagesThe tension is unbearable but David Murdock makes the final shot to put Great Britain in the semi-final ©AFP/Getty Images

11:50 Here we go.  Murdock has gone for it. And he has done it. He hits his own stone which hits the Norwegian one off the ice to score two points and Britain are into the semi-final.

Magnificent sport.

11:48 Could not have been better timing for the briefing to wrap up there as the curling has come right down to the wire. Britain have called a time out 5-4 down at the end of the tenth end.

There is an easy one on here for David Murdock's team, but then we will be into a decider where Norway have the hammer. Do they go for a risky canon for the two?

Ooh the tension...

IOC and ice hockey press briefings - plus snowboard cross and curling action

11:46 Adams, who sometimes appears to double as Thomas Bach's diary manager, announces the President is at Nordic combined and that is it for today's briefing.

11:44 Kosterina wraps up with more statistics. They have now sold a total of 1,660,112 tickets and "almost" 100,000 people were in attendance yesterday

11:42 Kosterina says "he is getting better and has thanked people via social media". Kosterina, as you may have gathered, is not someone who is going to go off message very often. She's here to talk about social media and talk about social media she will...

11:41 But hold on...someone asks about the icemaker who had both his legs broken last Thursday in an accident.

11:37 It's been a relatively quiet daily briefing today with the minds of the journalists perhaps addled by the sheer number of statistics fired at them during the last half-an-hour...

11:33 The six qualifiers for the snowboard cross final have also been decided. Nikolay Olyunin of Russia and Pierre Vaultier of France are the two semi-final winners and they will be joined by another Frenchman in Paul-Henri De le Rue as well as Alex Deibold of the US, Stian Sivertzen of Norway and Luca Matteotti of Italy.

The final is to come in a few minutes time.

11:29 Adams is asked about doping. "Nothing to report," he responds.

11:26 Someone asks Adams the same question insidethegames did four days ago about whether the IOC are confident that they would have the same kind of engagement at this summer's Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing as many social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, are blocked there. He responds by repeating that they have assurances from the Chinese Government that "every platform will be available". He points out that the IOC has 10 million fans on Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging website which is a cross between Twitter and Facebook. Adams says he's "super happy". Too long at the snowboarding Mark?

11:22 Meanwhile, action is hotting up in the curling, Britain score twice in the eighth end but Norway have his back in he ninth. It is 5-4 to Norway heading into the decider...but Britain have the hammer. It could not be tenser.

11:17 Alexandra Kosterina is still going with these statistics...There were 10,000 tweets per minute during the Opening Ceremony and 13 billion impressions of the hashtag #sochi2014.

On Twitter Sochi 2014 have 430,000 followers, 420,000 on Facebook, 146,000 on instagram and 132,000 on vKontakte. They have had 1.2 million views on its YouTube channel and 15.3 million on its flickr account.

There are five million daily visits to Sochi 2014 with the top sections being the schedule, medals table, news and photographs. A total of 3,433, 694 people have downloaded Sochi 2014's results app and another 1,273,280 guide.

11:13 We are going to focus on the IOC press briefing for a little while to avoid confusion here as its Sochi 2014 spokeswomen Alexandra Kosterina's turn to present some social media statistics.

Like an Olympic athlete, she raises superbly to the target set by Adams, putting up some pretty impressive Sochi 2014 statistics of her own.

She claims vKontakte is "the biggest social media platform in Europe".

"Social media is very important for us," she continues. "It is important to create a dynamic platform for our fans."

A total of 60 million have visited since the Opening Ceremony. A total of 20 per cent of Sochi 2014 fans on social media interact on a daily basis.

11:11 In the ice hockey event, meanwhile, - we have Rene Fasel, President of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), Gary Bettman, commissioner of the National Hockey League (NHL), and the executive director of the NHL Players' Association Donald Fehr.

After some introductions - mainly about the success of ice hockey at Sochi 2014  - we are already onto questions and, unsurprisingly, the predominant concern of whether the sport with feature at Pyeongchang 2018.

11:08 Adams is reeling off pretty impressive social media numbers at the moment. The IOC website had as much traffic on the opening two days of these Games as it did during the whole of Vancouver 2010 and they are running daily at 90 per cent of what they were for London 2012.

The IOC YouTube channel has been receiving 600,000 views per day and has now has a total of 300 million views in total. The IOC have 34 million fans on its various social media channels, including 2.7 million on vKontakte, which Adams describes as "Russian version of Facebook". The Olympic page is, Adams claims, is the "most popular community platform among Russian speakers". We'll take your word for it, Mark.

11:05 Only IOC communications director Mark Adams and Sochi 2014 spokeswoman Aleksandra Kosterina at the daily media briefing. But some things remain unchanged so, as usual, it's the daily highlights video

10:58 So the curling and snowboarding is continuing but there is also a press conference double-header coming up. The daily IOC and Sochi 2014 press briefing as well as an ice hockey event over at the Bolshoy Arena.

10:55 We are also away in the snowboard cross as Australia's Alex "Chumpy" Pullin wins the first quarter-final.

10:49 The conditions got worse as snow falls on the giant slalom course - which perhaps explains why the early starters remained out in front. Maze stays in the lead as the first run ends ahead of Lindell-Vakarby of Sweden. In third place is Nadia Fanchini of Italy ahead of Austria's Anna Fenninger in fourth. 

The second run is to come this afternoon.

10:40 The competitors are coming thick and fast but but no one is getting close to the time of Slovenia's Tina Maze. Lara Gut of Switzerland is 2.66 seconds off the pace while another gold medal winner from last week, Anna Fenninger of Austria is 0.85 seconds behind. 

Tina Maze is bidding to win a second gold medal following her downhill co-victory ©AFP/Getty ImagesTina Maze is bidding to win a second gold medal following her downhill co-victory ©AFP/Getty Images

10:29 Bad news for Britain on the curling front as well as Norway score twice in the fifth end to eek out a 4-2 lead.

Cheshire ruled out of ski halfpipe competition due to injury

10:20 Good news for Germany on the injury and illness front but bad news for Great Britain after halfpipe skier Rowan Cheshire is ruled of the Games following her fall in training on Sunday.

A statement from the British Olympic Association this morning explained that Cheshire suffered a concussion as a result of the fall and spent a  night in hospital under observation. She was discharged yesterday (February 17) following a restful night.

After being examined by Team GB medical staff, the determination was made by Cheshire, Team GB chief medical officer Niall Elliott and ski halfpipe and slopestyle head coach Pat Sharples that Cheshire should be allowed more time to fully recover from the injury before returning to competition.

"With a concussion injury there needs to be a rest period followed by a graduated return to play phase. The time scale is unfortunately too tight for Rowan," said Elliott.

Sharples added: "We are relieved that Rowan is on the mend but naturally upset for her that she won't be able to compete in Sochi. She is only 18 years old, however, and has a bright future ahead of her. I have no doubt she will back in four years time more determined than ever."

10:07 The first run of the women's super combined - brought forward an hour remember to ensure the best of the weather - is well underway and we have already see two superb performances. 

Joint gold medal winner in the downhill last week Tina Maze of Slovenia has powered into the lead with a time of 1 min 17.88 sec while in second place is Jessica Lindell-Vakarby of Sweden. The Swede is 0.52 seconds off the pace but also seemed a pretty solid run.

Frenzel recovers from illness in time for Nordic combined

09:54 Some good news just coming through for Germany as team officials confirm that gold medal favourite Eric Frenzel will compete in today's large hill event.

Frenzel, who won the normal hill gold medal last week, was bed-ridden on Sunday and Monday after coming down with a virus and high temperature, and has not trained since Saturday.

But German team doctor Stephen Pecher announced his participation this morning and said: "There's no fever and he feels much better than yesterday. He took a little run this morning - 30 minutes - and he's not 100 per cent but I think 90 per cent. I don't think he can win but he can make a good race."

The competition is due to begin with jumping at 12:30 ahead of coming to a conclusion with the cross country later this afternoon.

09:40 In the curling you get the feeling that no-one, apart from those in Britain, want Norway to lose. The Norwegians are up there with the Jamaicans for popularity because of their gaily patterned trousers, which even have their own Facebook page with more than 500,000 fans.

Both sets of fans will be nervous at the moment however as the match is locked 2-2 in the early stages. 

The popularity of Norway's trousers means no neutral wants to see them lose to Britain in today's curling play-off ©Toronto Star/Getty ImagesThe popularity of Norway's trousers means no neutral wants to see them lose to Britain in today's curling play-off ©Toronto Star/Getty Images

Slovenia's downhill champion Tina Maze and Austria's super G gold medallist Anna Fenninger count among the favourites as the Olympic Alpine ski programme continues with the ladies giant slalom, which is due to start in the next few minutes. Scheduled start of the second leg is at 13:00.

Australia's World champion Alex Pullin starts as favourite in the men's snowboard cross at 10.30, an event in which almost anything can happen as six snowboarders race together over the steep jumps. 

The United States freestyle ski team will be hoping to follow their clean sweep of medals in last Thursday's men's slopestyle with another sweep in the men's halfpipe, a new event on the programme at Sochi, due to start at 22:00. David Wise, Aaron Blunck and Torin Yater-Wallace  are among the favourites.

Dutch speedskaters will be looking for their fourth medal sweep of the Sochi Games in the men's 10,000 metres. The favourite Sven Kramer but has Jorrit Bergsma and Bob De Jong among his main rivals.

Gold medals will also be contested in the biathlon men's 15km mass start at 14:30, the Nordic combined individual large hill/10km at 16:00 and ladies 3,000m relay in short track.

Also, Russia play Norway in the men's ice hockey playoffs and the women's bobsleigh opens with the first two runs.

 Seven gold medals will be up for grabs, including two postponed from yesterday because of poor visibility, unless weather again intervenes. 

There is already action here in Sochi and it won't surprise you to hear it is curling. Today is supposed to be a rest day but Britain and Norway have been forced to take to the ice for a play-off to decide who gets the last semi-final place alongside Sweden, Canada and China.  

Good morning and welcome to the 11th day of the Winter Olympics here in Sochi. Let's hope that yesterday's weather problems do not repeat themselves and we get an uninterrupted day of sport.