Tuesday 24 Feb 2015
Australian snowboarder Scotty James will turn his attention to the halfpipe after missing out on qualifying for the finals of the slopestyle on the first official day of competition at the Winter Olympics.
James, who hurt his "man parts" and chest during the first run of pre-qualifying on Thursday, admitted he talked about pulling out of slopestyle to concentrate on the halfpipe.
He decided to forge ahead though, aiming to finish in the top four riders to progress to the 12-man final in the afternoon.
His initial run on Saturday was clean enough - if a little conservative on the rails section - but, after sitting in the cut-off zone early in the heat, he dropped back to sixth by the time it was complete.
He finished eighth, which will place him 16th in the event overall.
James said he'd been getting docked points on the rails and knew he had to step things up.
"I thought my score should've probably been a little bit higher in my first run but I am happy overall," he said.
"I came here to do exactly what I did so there's no sad faces on me today. I'm super happy."
He's hopeful of being in better condition for his stronger event, halfpipe, which is on Tuesday.
"I wanted to come out here and achieve what I set out to do and that was to put my triple (three flips) down in competition and I did it so I'm super stoked."
Four years ago, Scotty James made history as the youngest Australian to compete at a Winter Games. Next month, he will seek glory in the half pipe and slopestyle events.
He is hoping this time, his performance rather than his age will be the main talking point. Nick Vindin reports.
Read more here.
Snowboarder Scotty James had a tough introduction to the Sochi Winter Olympics, hurting his "man parts really bad" but teammate Torah Bright felt no pain after qualifying straight through to the slopestyle final.
Bright, who has a congested schedule of three events at the Sochi Winter Olympics, was silky smooth in qualifying second from her heat and will be in firm medal contention come Saturday.
She finished on 85.25, just points behind Swiss Isabel Derungs (87.5) in her heat to progress straight to the Saturday decider.
After raising questions about the course before she'd even seen it, Bright wasn't any happier having given it a tilt in competition.
"The problem was, we're the best at what we do and the course just wasn't up to par," she said.
"The changes that were made definitely helped a lot. The way it's all built just didn't match up and so there are some very unhappy people because this is the debut of slopestyle."
But it was a tougher day for James who was 11th out of 15 competitors in his heat, missing out on the top-four spot needed to progress directly to the final.
To add injury to insult he hurt himself on the first run when he took a tumble coming off a jump.
Monday 24 Feb 2014
Australia was a distant 24th at Sochi with two silver medals and a bronze.
David Morris had the honour of carrying the Australian flag in the Closing Ceremony after pulling off a big surprise with his silver in the men's aerials.
It was his remarks after his medal performance that made him the common man's champion.
"I felt like crying. I felt like throwing up. And it's just ... you know, when I started the sport, I was told I wasn't going to be good. Like, 'I don't think you'll be good at this sport.' And now I've got a silver medal at the Olympics, so it's like, 'There is it, everyone.' I knew I was going to be good from the start, and there's the proof, so no-one can take that away from me, ever. It's in the history books."
Lydia Lassila took bronze in the women's aerials.
And Torah Bright won the other silver for Australia in the snowboard halfpipe.
Both Lassila and Bright were defending champions, leaving the Australians a step down from their performance at Vancouver four years ago.
But if Bright was disheartened, she did not show it.
"I feel great. I feel like I won. Tonight was really difficult -- perhaps one of the hardest contests I've done in a while -- so I'm so happy it's over and I'm so happy I put a (good) run down. And, I don't know, I'm just really grateful to be here."
Australia missed its goal of finishing among the top 15 teams, but team officials insist it was a successful Olympics, citing a number of high-level finishes by young athletes.
Overall, it was an Olympics that produced the biggest career gold medallist ever in the Winter Games and husband-and-wife gold medallists just minutes apart.
It was an Olympics that produced a photo finish in a men's ski-cross semi-final when one of three skiers who crashed stretched his arm across the line as the others lay on their backs.
And it was an Olympics that marked the return of the fabled Jamaican bobsleigh team -- although, this time, the team finished 29th with a 46-year-old driver.
Now, the pressure and focus of the Winter Olympics will move on to South Korea.
Pyeongchang, in the mountains east of Seoul, is set to host the next Winter Games in 2018.
The International Olympic Committee's Thomas Bach extended the official invitation as he wrapped up the Sochi Games.
"In accordance with tradition, I call upon the youths of the world to assemble four years from now in Pyeongchang to celebrate with us the 23rd Olympic Winter Games."
Final Winter Olympics medals table on Sunday, the last day of the 2014 Games (after three of three gold medal events):
Sochi's $US50 billion Olympics, closely interwoven with President Vladimir Putin's image and plagued by controversy in the build-up, have closed with bold praise and Russia supreme on top of the medals table.
In a glitzy closing ceremony on Sunday, aimed at conveying a confident state at ease with its past as well as present, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach said "Russia delivered all what it had promised".
"What took decades in other parts of the world was achieved here in just seven years," he said.
"I would like to thank the President of the Russian Federation, Mr Vladimir Putin, for his personal commitment to the extraordinary success of these Olympic Winter Games."
Just over two weeks ago, Bach, aware of the wide-scale global resentment over Russia's notorious anti-gay law, had made an impassioned call for politicians to stay out of sports.
On Sunday, he insisted that those involved in the organisation of the Sochi Games had revealed a Russia to be respected.
"Everybody with an open mind could see the face of a new Russia - efficient and friendly, patriotic and open to the world," he said.
Bach then closed the Black Sea coast showpiece in the traditional manner of looking ahead to the next Games in South Korea in 2018.
"I declare the 22nd Olympic Winter Games closed. In accordance with tradition, I call upon the youth of the world to assemble four years from now in PyeongChang to celebrate with us the 23rd Olympic Winter Games."
In a touching nod to its own sporting history, the Olympic cauldron was then extinguished by a giant, tearful bear, taking older Russians back to the 1980 Moscow Summer Games and its much-loved bear mascot, Misha.
Russia guaranteed top spot in the medals table earlier Sunday after a clean sweep of the men's 50km cross country race thanks to Alexander Legkov, Maxim Vylegzhanin and Ilia Chernousov.
The hosts then hammered home their supremacy when Alexander Zubkov claimed his second gold in Sochi by leading the four-man bobsleigh team to victory.
Russia ended their own Games with 13 golds and a total of 33 medals, topping the table ahead of Norway.
Canada had the honour of claiming the last gold when they comfortably defended their ice hockey title with a 3-0 win over Sweden.
But in a reality check, Games officials had revealed that more competitors had failed drugs tests taking the total to six.
Austrian cross-country skier Johannes Duerr, who had been due to take part in the men's 50km, tested positive for blood booster EPO in a pre-competition test in Austria on February 16.
The Austrian took part on February 9 in the skiathlon, finishing eighth. But he tested positive for EPO a week later in Obertilliach, Austria.
Late Sunday, it was revealed that Swedish ice hockey player Nicklas Backstrom had tested positive for a banned substance present in allergy medication and had been withdrawn from the Olympics final.
Ukrainian cross country skier Marina Lisogor, Latvian men's ice hockey player Vitalijs Pavlovs, German biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle and Italian bobsledder William Frullani all failed tests at the Games.
Despite the late flurry of doping shocks, Russian officials were keen to bask in the 17-day showpiece that passed off relatively unscathed.
"The ice of the scepticism towards the new Russia has been broken," said Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak.
"We played solid and we didn't give anything up in the last few games - we played the way we needed to and it's great to see everyone get rewarded," said Crosby.
Six positive doping tests have now been recorded at the Sochi Games with the Swedish Olympic Committee announcing that hockey player Nicklas Backstrom had tested positive for a substance found in an allergy medication that he has taken for seven years.
The Washington Capitals centre, by far the biggest name athlete to fail a drug test at the games, was scratched from Sweden's 3-0 loss to Canada in the gold medal game.
Earlier on Sunday an Austrian cross country skier was thrown out of the Winter Olympics and labelled a "scoundrel" by his own team after testing positive for blood booster EPO.
Johannes Duerr, who had been due to take part in the men's 50km on the final day of the Games, tested positive in a pre-competition test in Austria on February 16, organisers said in a statement on Sunday.
Duerr was the fifth athlete to be excluded over a failed drugs test from the Sochi Games, where the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is carrying out more tests than ever with a new emphasis on pre-competition tests.
Swedish national hockey team general manger Tommy Boustedt accused the IOC of sabotaging their gold medal dream after forward Backstrom tested positive, saying they likely knew Backstrom's positive result sooner but delayed telling anyone because they wanted to wait until just before the Sochi Olympics showcase event, the gold medal hockey game.
That way they could better promote for their ongoing fight against drug cheats, he claimed.
"My suspicion is that this is political," said Boustedt at a news conference at the Bolshoi Ice Dome arena following their 3-0 loss to Canada in the gold medal game.
"I think they waited until it would be a real good impact with you journalists.