Feb 212014

Skater Adelina Sotnikova became the first Russian lady to get Olympic title in women’s figure skating.

Adelina Sotnikova

Adelina Sotnikova became first Russian gold medalist in women’s Olympic figure skating (Public Domain)

The 17-year-old skater won gold on Thursday after scoring a total of 224.59 points.

Spectators at the Iceberg Skating Arena in Sochi jumped to their feet as they got delighted by Sotnikova flawless double axel and triple toe-loop. Also the judges felt enchanted by the host athlete and granted her 149.95 for the free skate program.

It was enough to give her the gold, and made her the first Russian woman to win a figure skating title.
The silver medal went to South Korean athlete and defending Olympic champion Kim Yu-na, who was marked with 219.11.

Kim Yuna popped up on the ice with a narrow advantage and performed perfectly her free skating program, however that turned out to be insufficient to defeat Sotnikova who completed one more decisive triple jump.

The third on the podium was Italian skater Carolina Kostner who claimed bronze with 216.73 points.

Feb 152014

19-year-old Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan made history at Sochi’s Winter Olympics on Friday evening after winning men’s individual figure skating event and becoming the youngest skater to claim the Olympic gold in 66 years. (scroll down for video-highlights of free skating event)

Yuzuru Hanyu Sochi Olympics

Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan is the new Olympic champion in men’s figure skating (Capture live broadcast)

Despite experiencing two falls as he performed on Nino Rota’s “Romeo and Juliet”, the Japanese teen managed to climb at the top a nerve-racking and error-overwhelmed finale in the men’s figure skating contest at the Winter Olympics in Sochi

Hanyu amazingly scored world-record points in the short program, but feeling the tremendous pressure during the concluding free performance at the Iceberg Arena, he seemed to have destroyed his advantage as he missed the landing of two jumps.

But the game was far from being over as the dramatic moments were about to arrive. The three-time world Canadian Patrick Chan showed off a disastrous performance thus blowing his chances of becoming an Olympic winner.

Chan’s falls, hesitation and mistakes did nothing else than to make Hanyu the new winning champion, who brought the first gold to his country of Japan at this Olympics.

Historic moment!!! At the age of 19, teenager Yuzuru Hanyu turns out to be the youngest winner of the figure skating competition at a Winter Games in the past 66 years. “I’m so proud of this feat as a Japanese,” he said after the error riddled event on Friday.

“The Olympics is so wild and unpredictable. I’ve never been this nervous for a competition in my entire life. I’m upset with the performance I had, but I left everything I had out there.”

Hanyu set record 101.45 points in Thursday’s short program contest and that was enough to maintain him on top of the rankings and award him the title with a total score of 280.09 points.

Patrick Chan earned the silver medal with his 275.62 points and skater Denis Ten from Kazakhstan claimed the bronze.

VIDEO Highlights: Finale men’s individual figure skating event

Russians were left somehow in disappointment as their star and multiple skating champion, Yevgeny Plushenko, had to quit the competition prior to the kick off of the short program after suffering back injuries in the training session. This reason was not enough for Plushenko to escape the criticism from dropping out of the Sochi’s individual event.

It is worth to mention that Plushenko has dominated the figure skating for the past 15 years, as he won an Olympic gold and two silvers before attending Sochi’s Games. He is 31 years of age and suffered a back surgery just last year.

Feb 142014

SOCHI 2014. Russian ski jumper Mikhail Maksimochkin was hospitalized after falling during a workout before the individual large hill ski jumping event at Sochi’s Winter Olympics.

Mikhail Maksimochkin

Mikhail Maksimochkin taken on a stretcher after crash landing during workout for large hill ski jumping event (AFP)

Michael Maksimochkin got injured as he crashed on landing. Medical teams rushed to help the athlete who was placed on a stretcher with his head immobilized and taken away from the incident scene at RusSki jumping center. After this accident, the training session was canceled.

A statement by Alexander Uvarov, the president of the governing body FIS, revealed that Maksimochkin was not seriously injured.

“There are no life threatening injuries. He has some ribs problems, but according to doctors, he will be released on Thursday,” said Uvarov.

Moreover, Alexander Uvarov said that Maksimochkin will not compete anymore at the Olympic Games in Sochi.
Mihail Maksimochkin ranked 31st in Sunday’s ski jumping event on the normal hill. Qualifications for the large hill ski jumping are set to take place on Friday and the final is scheduled for Saturday.

Normal hill ski jumping champion Kamil Stoch also injured after landing fall!
Maksimochkin was not the only skier who needed medical attention during Wednesday’s workout. Also gold winner Polish Kamil Stoch was injured after falling during landings while training for the individual large hill event.

Stoch, who earned gold medal in the normal hill ski jumping last Sunday, was the last jumper of the evening when he crahsed after missing his landing. He was cared for by medical staff and suffered a bloodied nose but was able to walk on his feet after a brace was attached to his left arm. “Kamil Stoch is heading to the village escorted by a doctor, but he is fine,” assured Poland coach Lukasz Krusek.

Feb 132014

22-year-old Olympic skier Jackie Chamoun, managed to drain a lot of attention to herself in her country of Lebanon and not only, after popping up in a controversial photo shoot for an Austrian annual ski calendar which was made 3 years ago. (scroll down for images, footage)

Jackie Chamoun

Lebanese female skier Jackie Chamoun faces scandal after controversial video and photos leaked online (Facebook)

The photo session which saw some other skiers participating, was organized by the Mexican Alpine skier, photographer, businessman and Olympian, Hubertus von Hohenlohe. Despite appearing to be dressed at first instance, behind-the-door scenes that leaked online just these days, present Jackie Chamoun in topless images which were supposed to be private.

A video which contained footage and racy pictures of Chamoun, became swiftly viral and recorded more than 1.1 million views in the first two days since it was posted on Youtube on February, 11. However the footage has meanwhile been removed off the video-sharing site due to copyrights infringement claims.

This situation puts the Lebanese skier, who is currently joining Sochi’s Olympics, at the center of a possible scandal in her native country.

Chamoun’s photos triggered lots of heated debates in the blogosphere and the opinions are quite different. While some believe the beautiful skier might be slammed by Lebanon’s conservative Muslim community for showing off too much skin, others think otherwise as they claim Lebanese women, especially the christian ones, are quite liberal and usually none in the tiny middle east country feels offended by such incidents.

Lebanon’s skier Jackie Chamoun photos slideshow

However, Jackie Chamoun seems to be aware of the sensitive situation and logged to her Facebook page where she wrote an apology message which informs that footage was not meant at being public:
“I just want to make it clear to everyone who commented, shared the photos that appeared on the net in Lebanon yesterday. Yes I did photos for an Austrian ski calendar with other professional athletes 3 years ago. The photos of the photoshoot are not like the actual images that are now circulating on the net. The video and photos that you are now seeing are part of the making off, the preparation, it wasn’t supposed to go public. Anyways, I want to apologize to all of you, I know that Lebanon is a conservative country and this is not the image that reflects our culture. I fully understand if you want to criticise this.
Now that I’m at the Olympic Games, these photos that I never saw before are being shared. It is sad. All I can ask to each of you who saw this, is to stop spreading it, it will really help me focusing on what is really important now: my trainings and race.”

Feb 122014

“It is quite unreal,” said Dutch skater Stefan Groothuis after winning his gold in the 1,000-meter speedskating race in Sochi on Wednesday. “It was race of my life.”

stefan groothuis

Dutch skater Stefan Groothuis won men’s 1000m speedskating in Sochi (By McSmit via Wikimedia Commons)

A 2012 sprint world champion, Groothuis knew that this would probably be his last chance for an Olympic gold. He made his appearance on the ice as one of the main favorite.

“Davis glad that I’m his successor”
Stefan’s crossed the finish line with a time of 1.08,39 minutes, but the race was unnerving: “It was a disaster to know that American titleholder Shani Davis is still there and was thinking he will make it under 1.08,00”. However, the defending Olympic champion ended up in disappointed as he arrived in 1:09.12 and took the eighth place in Sochi. “Davis congratulated me and said he is happy that I became his successor.”

At the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, Davis became the first black athlete ever to claim the gold medal in an individual sport at the Olympic Winter Games, winning the 1000 meter peedskating contest.
Four years later, at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, Davis repeated the performance, becoming the first skater to successfully defend the 1000 meter title. Furthermore, at both 2006 and 2010 Olympics he won siver in the 1500 meter silver medalist.

With the gold medal in his portfolio, Groothuis is now thinking big at the 1500 meter race whci will take place on Saturday. “I have speed and proved that I can handle 1,500 meter. I just have to push hard. It is about all or nothing.”

Feb 122014

Unprecedented moments in Sochi where two skiers won the gold medal in the women’s downhill skiing contest. Tina Maze and Dominique Gisin made history on Wednesday becoming the first Olympians ever to share Winter Olympics title in this competition.

downhill skiing winners sochi

Dominique Gisin and Tina Maze shared Olympic gold in downhill skiing (BBC)

Dominique Gisin from Switzerland was the first to go down the slope and was clocked in 1:41:57 minutes.

Slovenia’s Tina Maze performed her later running and she stunningly recorded an identical time 1:41:57, a situation that never happened before. So, timers should be more precise from now on.

The silver was skipped and the bronze medal was given to another athlete from Switzerland, Lara Gut, who crossed the finish line just 0.10 seconds after the champion pair.

Women’s Olympic skiing medal had been shared in the past, for example at the 1992 Albertville Olympics, when American Diann Roffe and Austria’s Anita Wachter won both silver in the slalom race.

“I’m completely overwhelmed,” said 28-year-old Gisin, whose best performance was 3rd place at a World Cup downhill.

“I didn’t want to look at the big screens. It’s crazy. It was nerve-racking, a lot of sweat, lot of emotions. It was lonely there in the leader’s box. It’s incredible, how else can I say it? It’s a big honor to share the gold with Tina Maze, she’s an amazing woman. This is amazing”.

“I’m not going to throw a big party because I have 2 more chances. When you know you can win more medals as an athlete, one is never enough, even if it’s gold,” added Gisin.

Also Maze, 30, was very happy with her performance. The Slovenian skier appears to have a better professional background than her shared-podium partner as she earned silver in both the super-G and giant slalom at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Feb 122014

The amount of photos and videos at Sochi are overwhelming, but NASA has published tonight something we had not seen before: the amazing view of the Olympic park from space, in the dark.

The photo was taken last night by an astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS). The brightly lit circle in the middle is the Olympic park in the district Adler. Also the Olympic flame and Fisht Stadium are seen from Earth’s orbit. To the west of the Olympic Park there is the airport of Sochi.

Lesser development is seen outside Adler. Only the road to Sochi, which is about thirty kilometers to the west, and the northern Krasnaya Polyana are visible in the photo. Three kilometers east of the Olympic Park is the boundary with the Georgian republic of Abkhazia: that area is not seen clearly as the light fades away.

sochi night space photo iss

Sochi at night seen from space in ISS photo (Johnson Space Center / @NASA_Johnson)

Feb 112014

Dutch athlete Michel Mulder claimed the Olympic title in the 500 meter skating race in Sochi. On the ice at the Adler Arena, Mulder defeated country fellow Jan Smeekens by only 0.012 seconds difference. This is the first time in the history of the Olympics when a Dutchman gets gold in the shortest sprint distance, i.e. 500m.

Sochi Olympics men speed skating 500m

Dutch trio win men’s 500m speed skating in Sochi. Top ten results!

The stadium was initially engulfed in confusion, because Smeekens had been mistakenly announced as the gold winner. The official times were subsequently adjusted, and not Smeekens but Michel Mulder was the one who put his arms in the air.

The first round was taken by Smeekens in 34.59 seconds as Mulder came out second (34.63). However Mulder performed beter in the second race (34.67) by contrast to Semeekens who was clocked in 34.72. With a combined time of 69.312, Mulder won just 0.012 seconds ahead of Jan Smeekens (69.324).
Track record and bronze for Ronald Mulder

Michel Mulder’s brother Ronald was sixth after the first round and had to push really hard to catch the podium. And he did it. A great race earned him a bronze medal. With 34.49 s, he set also a track record.

The arena of the skating rink was once again blanketed in orange color as another similar performance took place just two days ago when the 5km race was won by the Dutch trio Sven Kramer, Jan Blokhuijsen and Jorrit Bergsma.

The whole podium had been conquered by the Oranje back in 1998 when the 10,000m race was claimed at that time by Gianni Romme, Bob de Jong and Rintje Ritsma.

The three best sprinters of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics arrived after the Dutch trio. The Olympic champion four years ago, Tae Bum Mo finished forth (69.69) and the other Vancouver medalists got the next positions – bronze winner Joji Kato of Japan was fifth (69.74) and silver medalist and countryfellow Keiichiro Nagashima was sixth (70.040).

Feb 092014

Dutch dominance in men’s 5000 meter speed skating race: Skaters Sven Kramer, Jan Blokhuijsen and Jorrit Bergsma conquered the podium after winning the gold – silver – bronze medals in the 5 kilometer men’s speed skating race at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. (scroll down for link to video highlights)

Sven Kramer public domain

Dutch skater Sven Kramer retains Olympic title after claiming gold in 5km speed race in Sochi (Public Domain)

Sven Kramer: “My best race ever”
Sven Kramer was very happy with his golden race. “This event was in my mind the whole week. After the first days I knew that 6:10 should be the winning time. Yes, my best race ever,” said Kramer.
Jorrit Bergsma made ​​a huge effort to beat Sven Kramer’s time. In the end, the Olympic debutant claimed the bronze medal. “I started pushing in the 28th lap. And yes, I think it was too early. But it was so nice ,” admitted Bergsma far . “I still tried to speed up, but later I was slower. Then I tried to save what could be saved.”

Jan Blokhuijsen noticed Jorrit Bergsma’s unfavorable moment
The silver medal showed a good fight between the Dutch athlete Jan Blokhuijsen and Belgian skater Bart Swings . ” An ideal race was not ,” said Blokhuijsen , “but that is also the excitement of the Games . I saw Jorrit breaking down and tried to keep up a bit. Aware that I have Swings just behind, I knew it’s gonna be a man-to-man fight. I am very happy with silver medal.” In the end, Bart Swings came forth more than a second behind Bergsma and seven seconds behind Kramer’s gold-medal pace.

Sven Kramer retained the gold medal which he won at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, setting an Olympic record by completing his race in 6:10.76 minutes – naming his performance “my best race ever.” Jan Blokhuijsen crossed the finish line in 6:15.71 and Jorrit Bergsma after 6:16.66

The Netherlands’ reputation as the leading country in the sport can be backed in the coming days, especially in the men’s 10,000 meter race on February 18 and team pursuit event on February 21.

The 10,000 meters contest has a special meaning for Sven Kramer. The 27-year-old champion still remembers the harsh disqualification in the 10 kilometer race at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics after his coach mistakenly sent him into the wrong lane on a changeover. Kramer had claimed that race with a great time but was left in disappointment at the end when he learned of the “childish” mistake.

Videohighlights: Sven Kramer defends Olympic gold medal in Sochi

Feb 082014

An Ukrainian citizen proved to be an avid fan of the Sochi’s Olympic Games after trying to hijack a Turkish passenger airplane just to make his presence “on time” at the opening ceremony on Friday evening. (scroll down for video report)

Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737 plane

Pegasus Airlines Plane hijacked by air pirate who wanted to fly to Sochi (Public Domain)

Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) are currently investigating a terrorism case after a guy tried to hijack a Pegasus Airlines passenger plane which was en route to Istanbul after taking off in Kharkov, said investigation official Maksym Lenko .

The suspect claimed to have placed “a bomb on board” and made efforts to divert the aircraft to the Russian resort of Sochi – the host city of the Winter Olympic Games.

SBU revealed that no weapons or explosive devices were discovered on the jet.

The so-called terrorist, whose identity was not disclosed, is a 45-year-old Ukrainian citizen from the city of Kharkiv, where he purchased the ticket and boarded the Pegasus Airlines flight to Istanbul on Friday afternoon. The commercial plane was carrying 110 passengers on board.

According to witnesses accounts, the Ukrainian air pirate struggled to access the cockpit and asked rerouting the flight to Sochi, because Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych, whose hands “are stained with blood”, are there.

The suspected hijacker apparently called also for the release of hostages in Ukraine.

Instead of complying with the demand, the Pegasus Airlines crew sent a hijacking alert that Turkey’s Air Force Control Center received at 5:20 p.m. (15:20 GMT), Turkey’s semiofficial Anadolu news agency reported.

Just 20 minutes later, two F-16 military jets scrambled to meet the Boeing 737-800 and escort it over the Black Sea.

Pilots were able foil the attempt after fooling the hijaker by turning the aircraft two times, and the suspect became calm thinking that his request was being fulfilled. Instead, the plane landed safely at Istanbul.

Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said nobody was wounded in the incident and the suspect surrendered voluntarily to police, but the governor of Istanbul came up with another story. Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu said the Turkish special units stormed the aircraft while passengers were evacuated and used force to arrest the Ukrainian hijacker. The suspect who had a bag that contained some electronic devices, is believed to have been under the influence of drugs.

“For a period of time he believed he was flying to Sochi, but then he figured out he was in actually in Istanbul,” said the Turkish governor. The suspect could not to step into the pilots room, and no bomb was found on him.

The incident emerges as airlines had already warned of the possibility of bombs located in of toothpaste tubes.

Embassy of Ukraine in Istanbul is due to have an appointment with the hijacker who was detained by the Turkish authorities after the plane landed at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport at 6 p.m. Ukrainian officials will try to find out what prompted the hijacking suspect to seize the aircraft, whether he was drunk and why he boarded that flight.

Video: Ukrainian hijacker wants Turkish plane go to Sochi