Friday, February 28, 2014

Salomon Freeski TV: Moment's Notice

Salomon Freeski TV 7th season. "What if your buddy called and said, 'It was storming over in Japan, can you drop everything and leave tomorrow?"

Kjetil Jansrud and Georg Streitberger Tied Victory in Kvitfjell Downhill

Third time was a charm for the downhill, which was originally scheduled in Garmisch-Partenkirchen as the last DH before the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. Lack of snow forced for a change of plans and the race was moved to St.Moritz. There might have been enough snow there, but there was even more fog so the race had to be cancelled for the second time and was rescheduled for today in Kvitfjell. The fog messed up some plans in Kvitfjell too, it canceled yesterday's training run and made a low start the only possible option.
Despite all of the above, today turned out to be an exciting race with a lot of firsts!
A training run took place at 9.30 this morning and 2.5 hours later it was time to finally race.
Olympic Super G champion and downhill bronze medalist Kjetil Jansrud typically performed poorly in the Kvitfjell downhill until he came second in the 2012 race and today he topped that – he won his first World Cup downhill in front of his home crowd. But Jansrud wasn’t alone on the top step of the podium as Georg Streitberger clocked the same time as Jansrud and earned his first downhill victory as well. The last time the top of the podium was this crowded in a men’s race was in Bormio in 2012 when Hannes Reichelt and Dominic Paris crossed the finish line with the same time.
"We don't see it happening that much", a very happy Jansrud said. "Sharing or not sharing it's still a win. It's a cool thing. One minute and five seconds of skiing and you manage to go inside the same hundredth, it's pretty exciting. It happens now and then and it's a way of the sport, actually, but I'm just excited I was just not one hundredth behind".
Streitberger also didn’t seem to mind the tie. "“It’s awesome to be first with Kjetil, it’s perfect", Streitberger said. "I like the hill here, but this morning when I saw the rain and fog I didn’t like it as much. I didn’t want to start with all the fog and snow but now I think it was perfect! I think starting first was a good thing and I put down some good skiing…better than in the last races. Still, it’s difficult to ski, it’s very wet and definitely not what we are used to ski on. Anyhow it’s still better to have a race than to have no race, especially when you win", the Austrian added jokingly.
In third place today we saw a name that has been consistently climbing up the rankings in recent races - Travis Gagnon. The young American skied to a career best fifth in the Olympic downhill and today, after putting down strong runs in both the training and race, he finished in third, making it his first World Cup podium.
"This is a really big step in my career", Gagnon said. "I've been slowly building up the last four years on the World Cup tour and this last month or so I've really been finding some speed. Now I'm at a point where I'm really relaxed and having fun. The good skiing comes out when you're relaxed and letting the skis roll. I always told myself I'd get to this point. It's just a matter of time. I've had enough time now racing all these hills and I'm comfortable. I'm also stronger than I was last year and I'm more fit. I'm not burnt out at all. Usually at this time of year people are tired and right now I feel like I'm just starting out the season".
Conditions might have bothered Gagnon but he found a way to make things work. "When I went it was raining and I had to do a goggle wipe halfway down the hill. But on days like today it's tough you've just got to forget about the weather and just ski. You can't really see anything, so you just have to put your head down and ski".

Arc'teryx: The Backyard Project. Ep. 4. Journeys

Our backyards are often overlooked for farther and more exotic adventures. From his house in Squamish, BC Arc'teryx athlete Justin Lamoureux sees 30 different mountains. Rising from sea level to 9,000' these mountains are rarely visited during the winter. Follow along as he tries to ride them all in a single winter.
Ep. 4: With 20 out of 30 mountains ridden Arc'teryx Athlete Justin Lamoureux must complete a few previous failed attempts and also travel to the more remote sections of the project. Spring is in full swing and the race is on to finish prior to the season's end.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

FWT Journal. Season 02, Ep. 20. Athletes Arrive at Snowbird

The Freeride World Tour athletes are arriving at the fourth stop. FWT14 women' s snowboard leader Shannan Yates shares her home mountain, Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort.

The Swatch Freeride World Tour By The North Face (FWT) is the premier big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world, featuring the sport’s top athletes competing in the world’s best mountain resorts. Created in 2008, the FWT became even more global in 2012 following the union of North American-based Freeskiing World Tour, The North Face Masters of Snowboarding, and the European-based Swatch Freeride World Tour. The 2014 tour consists of six stops on two continents, with four events being held in Europe (Courmayeur, ITA, Chamonix-Mount-Blanc, FRA, Fieberbrunn PillerseeTal, AUT and Verbier, SUI) and two in North America (Snowbird instead of Kirkwood, USA and Revelstoke, CAN).

FWT Journal. Season 02, Ep. 19. Snowbird Welcome

FWT Journal Americas host Amie Engerbretsen welcomes the tour to Snowbird. Learn about the decision to move from Kirkwood to Snowbird...and what the fourth stop venue might be.

The Swatch Freeride World Tour By The North Face (FWT) is the premier big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world, featuring the sport’s top athletes competing in the world’s best mountain resorts. Created in 2008, the FWT became even more global in 2012 following the union of North American-based Freeskiing World Tour, The North Face Masters of Snowboarding, and the European-based Swatch Freeride World Tour. The 2014 tour consists of six stops on two continents, with four events being held in Europe (Courmayeur, ITA, Chamonix-Mount-Blanc, FRA, Fieberbrunn PillerseeTal, AUT and Verbier, SUI) and two in North America (Snowbird instead of Kirkwood, USA and Revelstoke, CAN).

FWT14 - Snowbird Teaser

Snowbird is the fourth stop of the 2014 Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face. On the 1st of March, the best riders on the planet will battle it out in Snowbird, Utah, USA.

The Swatch Freeride World Tour By The North Face (FWT) is the premier big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world, featuring the sport’s top athletes competing in the world’s best mountain resorts. Created in 2008, the FWT became even more global in 2012 following the union of North American-based Freeskiing World Tour, The North Face Masters of Snowboarding, and the European-based Swatch Freeride World Tour. The 2014 tour consists of six stops on two continents, with four events being held in Europe (Courmayeur, ITA, Chamonix-Mount-Blanc, FRA, Fieberbrunn PillerseeTal, AUT and Verbier, SUI) and two in North America (Snowbird instead of Kirkwood, USA and Revelstoke, CAN).

Japan Is Now Epic

Vail Resorts announced an epic partnership with one of the snowiest and most celebrated powder skiing resorts in the world—Niseko, Japan. The partnership represents the first Asian partner for the company, further enhancing the already incredible value of its flagship and industry-changing season pass. Epic Season Pass holders have the opportunity to experience unlimited and unrestricted skiing and riding at the best of the USA, including VailBeaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Canyons in Park City, Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Lake Tahoe; and now five complimentary consecutive days at Niseko, Japan, for the 2014-2015 winter season. In less than a week of skiing and riding, the Epic Pass pays for itself and continues to offer the best value in the snow sports industry, with access to 28,830 skiable acres and 27,136 vertical feet at the best ski and snowboard resorts in the U.S., as well as complimentary access to mountains across multiple continents.
"We’re excited to announce a partnership between Vail Resorts and Niseko, Japan, providing access to a part of the world that is legendary for its endless powder and overall incredible guest experience. Epic Pass holders now have access to the epic skiing and riding for which Japan is world-renowned", said Kirsten Lynch, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts. "It’s no wonder that we have Epic Pass holders in all 50 U.S. states and in 80 countries around the world. They enjoy an incredible resort experience and unmatched value, with unlimited, unrestricted access to Vail Resorts’ 10 ski resorts, including Vail, Beaver Creek,Breckenridge, Keystone, Canyons, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwoodas well as Arapahoe Basin in Colorado, and Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan".
"We couldn’t be more thrilled about our partnership with Vail Resorts, as the preeminent mountain resort company in the U.S.", said Colin Hackworth, Representative Director of Nihon Harmony Resorts, representing Niseko United. "Niseko, Japan, is revered around the world for its consistently light, dry powder snow and warm Japanese hospitality. We welcome the opportunity for more Epic Pass holders to experience this very special part of the world and look forward to seeing them on our trails".
In 2008, Forbes crowned Niseko one of the Top 10 International Ski Resorts, and more recently,National Geographic voted Niseko as the best powder snow resort in the world. It’s no wonder, given that the resort boasts an average jaw-dropping 590 inches (15m) of snow per year. Located 100 kilometers south of Japan’s fifth largest city, Sapporo, in the southwest corner of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, Niseko Annupuri is a part of the Niseko-Shakotan-Otaru Kaigan Quasi-National Park and is the most eastern park of the Niseko Volcanic Group. Seasonal winds from the Eurasian continent blow in some of the driest, lightest and plentiful snow in the world. Set against the backdrop of Mt. Yotei—an active volcano similar to Mt. Fuji—the Niseko region boasts not only epic skiing and riding, but also breathtaking scenery. At night, the mountain is lit up with stadium-style lights which brighten 2,560 vertical feet of skiing and riding. Deep-powder trails through lit birch trees are a Niseko staple, offering sheltered stashes of untouched powder skiing.
Niseko United, as it’s commonly referred to, is made up of four base areas—Annupurri, Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village and Hanazono—that access one mountain, Niseko Annupuri (4,291 feet). With wide open trails, incredible tree runs, epic backcountry, first tracks and night-skiing, Niseko caters to all abilities, from beginner to expert. For the adventurers, hiking trails lead from the highest lifts to the summit. An extensive lift system of 26 chairlifts and three gondolas accesses 72 trails.
Aside from world-class skiing, the Niseko area is known for its premium agriculture and locally brewed alcohol. Local restaurants import fresh seafood from nearby towns and villages and the area is home to a vast array of restaurants and bars with everything from authentic Japanese fare to European cuisine. Being a volcanic island, Hokkaido is also well-known for its thousands of natural hot springs, or ‘onsen’. 
With non-stop flights between Tokyo’s Narita International airport and several major US cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver and New York, it’s never been easier for U.S. skiers and riders to visit Niseko. Niseko is typically open from November through May.
The five free consecutive days of skiing and riding will be reciprocated for Niseko All-Mountain Season Pass holders, allowing more guests from Japan, China and surrounding areas to experience Vail Resorts’ world-class mountain resorts. The Epic Season Pass will be available for purchase on March 10, 2014, at

Vail Resorts is the leading mountain resort operator in the United States. The Company's subsidiaries operate the mountain resorts of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan; and the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Company's subsidiary, RockResorts, a luxury resort hotel company, manages casually elegant properties. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning, development and construction subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN).

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

FWT 2014 Mid Season Recap

As we crest the mid season point of the 2014 SWATCH Freeride World Tour we have witnessed the unknown riders rise up and defending champions struggle to hold their respective podiums.
Don't miss the next FWT event at Snowbird, Utah streaming live 9:00AM MST March 1, 2014 (event will be held on the best weather day March 1-5, 2014, live stream subject to change).

Bye Bye Sochi 2014, Welcome PyeongChang 2018!!!

Following the success of Sochi 2014, attention has now switched to PyeongChang, which will host the next edition of the Olympic Winter Games in 2018.
On 6 July 2011 in Durban, South Africa, during the 123rd Session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the city of PyeongChang in the Republic of Korea was chosen as Host City of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games, ahead of bids from Munich (GER) and Annecy (FRA).
The PyeongChang 2018 Games, which will take place from 9-25 February 2018, will be the third to be staged in Asia, and the first ever in the Republic of Korea, following Nagano (JPN) in 1998 and Sapporo(JPN) in 1972.
The PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee’s (POCOG’s) ‘New Horizons’ vision aims to expand winter sports in Asia and transform the local Gangwon province into a new winter sports and tourism destination.
"In Asia, winter sports are relatively undeveloped. But recently these sports and related industries have developed dramatically", explains Kim Jin-Sun, President and CEO of POCOG. "Our vision is very clear: new horizons, developing industries, building a hub of winter sports in Gangwon province".
From a logistical point of view, the concept for the 2018 Winter Games is one of the most compact ever seen.The vision for PyeongChang is based on a compact geographical area, split between a coastal and a mountain cluster.
The coastal cluster, centred around the town of Gangneung on the Republic of Korea’s eastern seaboard, will provide the setting for the events on ice (speed skating, figure skating, short track, ice hockey and curling), with the main Olympic Village complex and mountain cluster (comprising the skiing and snowboarding courses and the bobsleigh,luge and skeleton track) located only a 30 minute car journey away.
The mountain cluster will comprise eight facilities – six of which are already established - including the ski resort of Yongpyong. Nearby, the Bokwang Phoenix Park, already a favourite location for Korean freestyle aficionados, will provide the ideal stage for the snowboard and ski freestyle events.
State-of-the-art facilities designed especially for the 2018 Winter Games will further enhance existing infrastructure, to ensure that the world’s best winter athletes are provided with every possible opportunity to deliver their optimum performances.
Blessed with a prime geographical position within Asia, and benefitting from a youthful population and a vibrant and rapidly growing economy, PyeongChang looks set to bring the Winter Games to a whole new audience and a whole new generation of aspiring Winter athletes in 2018.

FWT Journal. Season 02, Ep. 18. Safety Wokshop

Safety in mountain is key either for the pro riders. Training every year and being well equiped is the most important. See how the Freeride World Tour riders trained at the beginning of the season.

The Swatch Freeride World Tour By The North Face (FWT) is the premier big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world, featuring the sport’s top athletes competing in the world’s best mountain resorts. Created in 2008, the FWT became even more global in 2012 following the union of North American-based Freeskiing World Tour, The North Face Masters of Snowboarding, and the European-based Swatch Freeride World Tour.
The 2014 tour consists of six stops on two continents, with four events being held in Europe (Courmayeur, ITA, Chamonix-Mount-Blanc, FRA, Fieberbrunn PillerseeTal, AUT and Verbier, SUI) and two in North America (Kirkwood, USA and Revelstoke, CAN).

FWT Journal. Season 02, Ep. 17. Dom Daher and Jeremy Bernard - FWT Photographers

Hersha introduces us to the FWT photographers! Two guys who have one of the most exciting and intense jobs on the tour.

The Swatch Freeride World Tour By The North Face (FWT) is the premier big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world, featuring the sport’s top athletes competing in the world’s best mountain resorts. Created in 2008, the FWT became even more global in 2012 following the union of North American-based Freeskiing World Tour, The North Face Masters of Snowboarding, and the European-based Swatch Freeride World Tour.
The 2014 tour consists of six stops on two continents, with four events being held in Europe (Courmayeur, ITA, Chamonix-Mount-Blanc, FRA, Fieberbrunn PillerseeTal, AUT and Verbier, SUI) and two in North America (Kirkwood, USA and Revelstoke, CAN).

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sweden Wins Innsbruck's Nations Team Event

As the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi came to an end, it was time for teams to switch their focus back to the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup races.
Today 10 nations lined up their athletes in the Innsbruck Nations’ Team Event (NTE) and battled each other for an hour and a half in front of a couple thousands cheering fans.
Teams representing Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, USA, Sweden, Germany, Norway, Slovenia and the Czech Republic put on a great show in order to score victory for their nations. Here is the full team roster.
In round n.1 Norway earned a spot in the Quarterfinals after beating Slovenia while Germany claimed their spot in the Quarterfinals by kicking out the Czech team.
In the Quarterfinals, the surprisingly strong Norwegian team sent the home favorite Austrian team home to the disappointment of the local fans. It was a tight race until the fourth heat, but a mistake by Philipp Schoerghofer made it 3-1 for Norway and sent the Austrians packing.
Team USA defeated France, Sweden was faster than Italy and the Germans, who won the last NTE at the Finals in Lenzerheide got kicked out by the Swiss team.
Norway, USA, Sweden and Switzerland moved on to the Semifinals and Norway and Sweden once again won their heats making the Big Final a Scandinavian battle. The losers of the semifinals, USA and Switzerland gave the medal a last shot in the Small Final run. Switzerland made the best out of their second chance and claimed bronze, leaving USA off the podium.
At the last NTE Sweden made it to the Big Final but lost to Germany so today, they made sure the same didn’t happen when racing Norway. After giving it their best shot, they did indeed claim the top step of the podium, leaving Norway in second place.
"It’s such a fun event, and as I live in Innsbruck part time it’s even more special. It’s so fun to compete with your teammates", Maria Pietilae-Holmner said after helping her team to victory. "When I woke up this morning I felt so tired, but than I came up here and the adrenaline gets to you in this event. I was getting quite nervous at the start but I guess it worked well in the end. I think this is a great way to present our sport, I definitely can see it being a great event if it makes it into the Olympic Programme in 2018 and I certainly wouldn’t mind adding a couple of events to the season…maybe we could have a NTA in Stockholm? I’m sure we could make a fantastic atmosphere".
A second place was far from disappointing for Norway who had a rough time at the last NTE.
"Today was so good, last time we got kicked out in the first round and it was disappointing not to get through. Today things turned out much better for us and I think we can be happy with this second place", Mona Loeseth one of the two sisters racing for Team Norway said just before walking on the podium and celebrating with her team. "I love this event and the team feeling it has. It’s so different than being on the start all by yourself, like we all are in normal World Cup races. There, if you ski out you impact only yourself but here you are just one piece of a team and how you perform matters to all".

FWT Journal. Season 02, Ep. 16. Guides

Hersha Patel introduces us one of the most charismatic man on the Tour, FanFan ! and get a better understanding of what guides do on the Freeride World Tour.

The Swatch Freeride World Tour By The North Face (FWT) is the premier big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world, featuring the sport’s top athletes competing in the world’s best mountain resorts. Created in 2008, the FWT became even more global in 2012 following the union of North American-based Freeskiing World Tour, The North Face Masters of Snowboarding, and the European-based Swatch Freeride World Tour.
The 2014 tour consists of six stops on two continents, with four events being held in Europe (Courmayeur, ITA, Chamonix-Mount-Blanc, FRA, Fieberbrunn PillerseeTal, AUT and Verbier, SUI) and two in North America (Kirkwood, USA and Revelstoke, CAN).

FWT14 - The Best moments in Fieberbrunn Kitzbuheler Alpen 2014

Epic TV: Powdcast Ep. 4. Fieberbrunn 2014

A challenging snowpack in Fieberbrunn Kitzbuheler Alpen caused organizers to move the third Freeride World Tour 2014 stop to Kappl, which is also in the Tirol region of Austria. The start gate was perched atop 2,800 meters of rock and snow, ready and waiting for the competitors. Variable snow conditions made landings tricky and required riders to execute impeccable control. The pressure to become a 2014 FWT champion is surely increasing. Julien Lopez had a good time during the waiting period in Fieberbrunn, as he was given the opportunity to drive a race car 'round the ice track and relax with other international competitors before the competition kicked off. Riders didn't have a lot of time to check the face and to find a nice line and as a result, many riders fell over during competition. Julien chose a very original line with the biggest jump of this FWT stop in Austria.

Powdcast follows pro skier Julien Lopez around the Alps and the world as he competes on Freeride World Tour and rips it up with his buddies. In this series you'll go deep into the life of a pro freerider as Julien travels to some of the most spectacular locations on the planet, experiences the pressure of competition, rides truly awesome terrain, discovers the camaraderie of the freeskiing community and continues the eternal quest for the perfect line. POWdcast will take you on a journey, Julien is your guide - it's time to ride.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sochi 2014 Closing Ceremony

The XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi ended with a Closing Ceremony in the Fisht Olympic stadium. The ceremony, which provided a bright and emotional conclusion to the Games, was dedicated to Russian culture. The audience was presented with a European vision of Russia, in a show directed by world-renowned director Daniele Finzi Pasca who became the screenwriter and director of the Sochi Olympics Closing Ceremony after joining the Russian team, which also included creative director Konstantin Ernst and executive producer Andrei Nasonovskiy.
"In order to present our culture objectively we decided to look at it through a European perspective, through the eyes of a man born in the very heart of Europe: prominent director Daniele Finzi Pasca. We wanted to see how Russian culture reflects in the world art context and which part of Russian culture has already become an integral part of world culture", Konstantin Ernst said.
The Closing Ceremony featured such world-renowned Russian stars, as Sochi 2014 Ambassador, conductor and violinist Yuri Bashmet, Sochi 2014 Ambassador and conductor Valery Gergiev, pianist Denis Matsuev, singer Hibla Gerzmava and violinist Tatiana Samouil, as well as artists from the Bolshoi and Mariinsky theaters.
"This is the most ambitious Closing Ceremony in the history of Winter Olympic Games. Over 7,000 people took part in the performance, including a children's choir hailing from 83 different regions in Russia, and more than 43,000 scenic elements were produced and an incredible mobile stage system was used. We wanted to show all the possibilities of the largest theater in the world", said Andrei Nasonovskiy.
In the show's finale, the Polar Bear, one of the mascots of the Games, put out the Olympic Flame to a remix of Aleksandra Pakhmutova’s song Goodbye, Moscow. This symbolic moment reminded spectators of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, and brought together Olympic generations. The Closing Ceremony ended with a spectacular fireworks show and an exciting party hosted by DJ Kto.

The Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games in Sochi presented "Reflections of Russia", which described the cultural heritage of the country.
Spectators were accompanied on this journey by the little girl Lyubov (“Love”), who many are familiar with from the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Olympic Games, as well as by her friends Yura and Valentina.
The storyline of the Ceremonies referred to Russia's rich cultural heritage, which is reflected in works of art, music, ballet, literature and circus art. The performance consisted of 14 chapters, each of which was a show in itself.
During the ceremony, the best sporting moments were displayed on the screens of the Fisht Stadium, enabling the audience to once again experience the emotions athletes and fans were overwhelmed with.
The main decor element of the Games was a LED "forest", which consisted of 204 12-meter high light tubes. If all the tubes used for the ceremony were placed in a row, they would form a line of almost 1.5 miles long. Throughout the entire show, the tubes changed color. The spectators in the stadium were also able to participate in the creation of the incredibly colorful picture of the Ceremony - before it began, they were given LED medallions to wear, which shimmered with different colors.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Russian Culture will Reign at the Closing Ceremony

The XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi will end with a Closing Ceremony in the Fisht Olympic stadium.
The ceremony, which begins at 20:14 local time, will be directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca, who has enjoyed worldwide success with productions such as ‘Corteo’ for Cirque du Soleil and ‘Requiem by Verdi’ for the Mariinsky Theatre.
The ceremony, which will provide a bright and emotional conclusion to the Games, will be dedicated to Russian culture. The audience will be presented with a European vision of Russia, in a show directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca who became the screenwriter and director of the Sochi Olympics Closing Ceremony after joining a Russian team, which also included creative director Konstantin Ernst and executive producer Andrei Nasonovskiy.
"In order to present our culture objectively we decided to look at it through a European’s perspective, through the eyes of a man born in the very heart of Europe: prominent director Daniele Finzi Pasca. We wanted to see how Russian culture reflects in the world art context and which part of Russian culture has already become an integral part of world culture", Konstantin Ernst said.
While Ernst says the Opening Ceremony was like a "blockbuster" production, tonight’s performance will have a slightly different feel.
"The Closing Ceremony is always different from the Opening Ceremony", he explains. "In our case we decided to turn the Opening Ceremony into a kind of blockbuster, whereas the Closing Ceremony will be more down the art-house avenue".
Audiences will once again be led through the performance by Lubov, the young girl who was introduced to spectators during the Opening Ceremony. Along with her new friends Valentina and Yura, she will travel through Russian culture, turning the pages of Russian literature, enjoying the highlights of Russian art and listening to the world-renowned sounds of Russian music.
Performers include operatic soprano Hibla Gerzmava, a children's choir from St Petersburg, pianist Denis Matsuev and celebrated violinist and conductor Yuri Bashmet.
As per tradition, a part of the Closing Ceremony will be dedicated to handing the Olympic flag over to the host of the future Winter Games – the city of PyeongChang. Spectators will be presented with an eight-minute show introducing Korea’s five-millennia-old history. During the presentation, the sounds of a gayageum (a traditional Korean musical instrument) will be heard.
Opening and Closing Ceremonies are large-scale community celebrations that capture the spirit and unique personality of the host city, province and country, provide inspiring messages regarding the Olympic Movement and celebrate the world’s greatest athletes.
The Games Ceremonies are mandated by the International Olympic Committee to promote international peace and understanding, honouring the world’s greatest athletes, and celebrating humanity.

Broadcasting Sochi 2014

Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), responsible for the international television production and provision of services for rights-holding broadcasters, plays a key role in ensuring that fans around the globe can watch and listen to all the sporting action of the Games.
During the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, OBS has used more than 450 cameras to produce over 1,300 hours of live sport, ceremonies and Olympic News Channel coverage. This coverage is being distributed by more than 80 rights-holding broadcasters across the world. These Games will reach an unprecedented 200 countries, more than any other Olympic Winter Games.
To implement and manage this vital broadcasting operation, the OBS team increased from 150 full-time employees to a workforce of approximately 3,200 by the start of the Games. Assisting the Organising Committee throughout the planning phase for Sochi, OBS has also been working in close collaboration with rights-holding broadcasters at competition venues, the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) and the Mountain Broadcast Centre (MBC). These Games saw more than 7,500 broadcast professionals working across all of these areas.
The 2014 Games in Sochi were the first winter games to have individual events broadcast in Super Hi-Vision digital format, which has 16 times the resolution of HDTV with 22.2 surround sound.
Located in the Main Media Centre in the Coastal Cluster, the IBC is the main hub for television coverage of the Games. Encompassing more than 40,000 square metres and operating 24 hours a day, the IBC has welcomed more than 55 rights-holding broadcast organisations with a presence in the facility (including sub-licensees). The MBC is a 9,000 square metres facility situated in the Mountain Cluster and offers rights-holders the opportunity to use their post-production facilities within a short distance of all skiing and sliding competition venues.
Broadcast coverage is the principal means for people across the globe to experience the magic of the Olympic Games. The IOC owns the global broadcast rights for the Olympic Games – including broadcasts to television, radio, mobile and internet platforms – and is therefore responsible for allocating Olympic broadcast rights to media companies throughout the world. In 2001, it established Olympic Broadcasting Services, which serves as the permanent host broadcaster for the Olympic Games.
The IOC funds the operations of OBS at the Games, removing the financial burden from the organisers, while ensuring that high quality Olympic broadcast programming is delivered to rights-holding broadcast partners to air over various media platforms throughout the world.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Mario Matt Wins Slalom Gold

Austrian veteran Mario Matt caused a sensation today, winning the men's slalom and taking his first Olympic medal at the age of 34 in front of favourite Marcel Hirscher.
Matt, a two-time slalom world champion, proved unbeatable over two runs, finishing with a combined time of 1min 41.84sec to close the alpine skiing competitions at the Sochi Games.
His compatriot Hirscher, the reigning world champion, finished second at 0.28sec, which young Norwegian sensation Henrik Kristoffersen taking bronze at 0.83sec.
The medals for Matt and Hirscher gave Austria four in the past two nights; Austria’s Marlies Schild and Kathrin Zettel finished second and third behind Mikaela Shiffrin in the women’s slalom yesterday.
Mario Matt (AUT) became the oldest Olympic alpine skiing champion by winning a dramatic men's slalom on Saturday night at Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre.
The 34-year-old 2001 slalom world champion finished ahead of 2013 world champion and pre-race favourite Marcel Hirscher (AUT) in an Austrian one-two, with Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR) third. In a nice piece of symmetry, the 19-year-old Norwegian became the youngest ever Olympic alpine skiing medal winner.
Matt, who had a 0.45 second advantage on the field after the first run, watched five of his seven closest finishers fail to finish the course, including Alexis Pinturault (FRA), Felix Neuruether (GER) and Ted Ligety (USA).
By the time Matt reached the start gates he had a 1.28 second buffer on Hirscher, the winner of two world cup slalom races this season. The elder statesman of the Austrian team used all of his experience to stay on his skis and finish in a combined time of 1 minute and 41.84 seconds, 0.28 seconds ahead of Hirscher.
Matt, who is 34 years and 319 days old, overtook Kjetil Andre Aamodt's (NOR) record of 34 years and 169 days when he won the men's super G at the 2006 Games.
At 19 years and 235 days old, Kristoffersen claimed the youngest medal winner mantle from Alfred Matt (AUT), who was 19 years old and 282 days when he took bronze in the men's slalom in the 1968 Games.

The second run featured another devilish Ante Kostelic course set – the Croatian coach and Ivica's father. As he had after his father’s combined slalom course was criticized, Ivica Kostelic defended the set. "We will hear a lot about this course", he said. "Even if it is negative, it was a spectacle for spectators. At the Olympic Games the course should be challenging. The guys on the podium deserve to be there. Skiers who train in tough conditions appreciate hard courses. They train hard and appreciate conditions like this. … There are always many critics because there are few of them that are good. The winners that are here are not here accidentally".

Vic Wild Takes Second Gold in the Men's Snowboard Parallel Slalom

The Olympic debut of parallel slalom at the XXII Olympic Winter Games at Sochi provided a spectacular men's event with Vic Wild (RUS) crowning himself double Olympic Champion edging off Zan Kosir (SLO) and Benjamin Karl (AUT) to second and third in front of a roaring home crowd.
USA-born Vic Wild (RUS) won a second Gold medal for his adopted country by beating his training partner Zan Kosir (SLO) in the men's psl men's final this Saturday.
Kosir, who took Silver, also won his second medal at Sochi 2014 after getting Bronze in Wednesday's parallel giant slalom, which was also won by Wild when Kosir had expressed his disappointment at not racing Wild in Wednesday's final.
Wild, who let out a primal roar after surviving a scare in the semifinals, was less vocal after his final run. He rode past the finish line with his arms outstretched to the cheering, flag-waving crowd then covered his eyes as if in disbelief.
"To win the other day was the greatest feeling of my life. I can't believe it", he said after the race, calling the second win "beyond believable".
Wild, who became a Russian citizen just two years ago, added: "All those power drills I did in the summer, they really paid off. Nobody could keep up".
The husband of a Russian raceboarder was aggressive in all his runs on Saturday and flew down the course in complete control except in one semifinal run against Benjamin Karl (AUT).
Karl, a four-time World Champion, who easily won the Bronze medal against Arron March (ITA), went over to Wild after the Gold medal race and kneeled before him, making the sign of the cross.
"My goal was to bring home a Gold medal, but the bronze is blinking like Gold right now. I am 28 for sure I will be riding PyeongChang", the 2010 PGS Silver medallist said, referring to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
Wild, who used to compete for the United States, grew frustrated with the lack of funding for downhill snowboarding. He married snowboarder Alena Zavarzina (RUS) - the bronze medallist in the ladies' parallel giant slalom - and became a Russian citizen in 2012.
Wild said he made the right decision in racing for Russia.
"I wouldn't even be here if I hadn't. I wouldn't be snowboarding", he said. "It wasn't like I had an opportunity in the US and then decided to go to Russia. It's not like there was an option. I had to make a life for myself, I had to make money. It was the only way if I wanted to snowboard".

Julia Dujmovits Takes Gold in the Ladies' Snowboard Parallel Slalom

The penultimate day of the XXII Olympic Winter Games featured an historic result when the first ever Olympic parallel slalom took place at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. Julia Dujmovits (AUT) earned her chapter in the history books relegating German racers Anke Karstens and Amelie Kober to second and third respectively.
Dujmovits recovered from a slow first run in the final to beat Anke Karstens (GER) in the second and win Austria its first Gold medal in an Olympic snowboard event.
"I'm still so stoked. I can't believe it. I never thought about it", Dujmovits, who will be the flag bearer for Austria at the closing ceremony tomorrow, said after winning the race. "I told myself today, 'Focus, focus, focus'. It's amazing to have Gold".
Amelie Kober (GER) won bronze after beating Corinna Boccacini (ITA) in the race for third.
Finishing strong despite aggravating an elbow injury in a crash during the semifinals, Kober joined with Karstens to become the first German twosome to reach the podium in the same snowboard event at an Olympic Winter Games.
Kober rejoiced in winning a medal alongside her roommate. "There is an unwritten rule that we don't talk about anything. This is a moment we can talk about when we are 105 years old and without teeth", the mother of one said.
Karstens said her medal was already pledged to someone else. "I promised my boyfriend -former racer Tyler Jewell (USA)- I would get him a medal for his birthday so, 'Hey, you got it'", she said.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Mikaela Shiffrin Wins Ladies Slalom

Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) won gold on Friday evening to become the youngest slalom champion in Olympic history, but even more than that she grabbed the mantle of skiing's next global superstar with both hands.
The 18-year-old settled her on-going battle with 32-year-old Marlies Schild (AUT) in superb style, pushing the long-time slalom queen into silver medal position.
There was significant compensation for Schild as the first woman to win medals in three successive Olympic slalom races, following bronze in the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games and silver at Vancouver 2010. She also had the pleasure of sharing the podium with compatriot Kathrin Zettel(AUT), the bronze medal winner. It is the second time two Austrian skiers have finished second and third in an Olympic slalom race, after Nicole Hosp (AUT) took silver in Torino, with Schild winning bronze.
Shiffrin joined countryman Ted Ligety (USA) in translating her status as a piping-hot favourite into an utterly dominant display. In the first run, Shiffrin skied like a woman who has finished on the podium in nine of her last 13 world cup slalom races, winning seven of them. The balance of aggression and elegance that has defined her rapid rise to the top was evident from the start, as her upper body remained still and her feet danced between the gates. It delivered her a 0.49 second advantage on the field.
Things were tougher on the second run as the pressure mounted on the 18-year-old's lithe shoulders, shoulders that have been piled high with national expectation since Lindsey Vonn (USA) pulled out of Sochi 2014. It almost all ended in tears halfway down the second run. A major mistake on the steep middle section had Shiffrin sitting on the back of her skis.
"It was a crazy moment, I was going very fast and I thought I was not going to make it. It scared me. The skies can make pretty fast turns if you just make them", Shiffrin said.
Her athleticism allied to the 1.34 second advantage she had on Schild allowed the USA skier to regain her balance and composure. She finished in a time of one minute and 44.54 seconds, 0.53 seconds ahead of Schild.
"To win, this is why we're all here, aren't we? What I know is that this is the real one; Olympic champion. I wish I could have an American flag on my back at every world cup race, because that's an amazing feeling to know you're representing not just yourself or your team or your family, but your entire country", said the gold medallist.
For Schild, the second run demonstrated what a true champion she is. A mistake-ridden run in the early afternoon on soft snow had left the 2011 slalom world champion seventh quickest. She said: "After my first run I was very disappointed because I had such a bad feeling going down the hill. So I tried to change everything in the second run (...) I think I won the silver medal, not lost a gold medal. Of course, gold is missing".
For Zettel, the agony is over. After two fourth place finishes, in the super combined in Vancouver 2010 and the combined at Torino, the Austrian is an Olympic bronze medallist. It is Austria's sixth women's medal at Sochi. Not only has Zettel had a tough season, failing to finish on the podium in a world cup slalom race, but she has also had to deal with the death of her grandmother during the Games.
"It was hard standing in the finish area, racer after racer. When Maria Hoefl-Riesch crossed the finish I crashed down laughing, crying, and laughing again. This was really my last chance for an Olympic meda", she said.

Canadian Skiers Claimed Gold and Silver in Ladies’ Ski Cross

Marielle Thompson (CAN) has won the last event of the freestyle skiers at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Sochi. The 21-year-old from North Vancouver thus followed up her team mate Ashleigh McIvor who had earned the title in 2010.
As Kelsey Serwa (CAN) raced to Silver in the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, Team Canada secured the third 1-2 result at the Sochi Winter Gams after having locked in Gold in Silver in both, men's and ladies moguls before.
Anna Holmlund (SWE) rounded out the podium as third capitalizing on a crash of pre-race favourite Ophelie David (FRA) thus bringing home the first Olympic freestyle skiing medal for her home country in 20 years.
However, Marielle Thompson and Kelsey Serwa stood out capping an outstanding performance from the Canada freestyle skiing team at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Thompson was the third fastest skier in the seeding round earlier in the day, ranking just 0.11 seconds behind top seed Serwa and 0.10 behind second seed David.
Proving she has another gear come head-to-head competitions, Thompson proceeded to win each of her heats handily in the march to the finals, including a statement semi-final in which she trounced David.
Until then David had looked to be the women to beat, putting down several calm and focused runs in a bid to win the last piece of hardware needed to complete her trophy case - an Olympic medal.
Serwa and Holmlund went through from their semifinal after a mistake by pre-race favourite and 2013 World Champion Fanny Smith (SUI) opened the door for the two women, who were sitting in third and fourth in the heat.
With the final featuring two former World Champions in David and Serwa, along with World Cup winners Holmlund and Thompson, a tight race seemed inevitable.
Out of the start gate and through the leading straightaway, the four skiers were neck and neck before Thompson'a superior rhythm through the roller section pushed her into a lead that would not be challenged. Serwa fell into Thompson's draught and the teammates cruised their way to a 1-2 finish.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Current Olympic Champions in Alpine Skiing. Slalom

Giuliano Razzoli of Italy won the gold in the Men's Slalom competition at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games (watch the video now). He crossed the finish line in 1:39.32, finishing 0.16 seconds ahead of Ivica Kostelić of Croatia and 0.44 of André Myhrer of Sweden.

Maria Riesch of Germany won the gold in the Women's Slalom competition at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games (watch the video now). The race was held in challenging weather conditions of fog, snow, and warm temperatures. She crossed the finish line in 1:42.89, finishing 0.43 seconds ahead of Marlies Schild of Austria and 1.01 of Sarka Zahrobska of the Czech Republic.

Maddie Bowman Wins Women's Freestyle Skiing Halfpipe Gold

American Maddie Bowman claimed the first ever gold medal in ladies' ski halfpipe on Thursday evening at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park by posting the two best scores of the night (85.80 and 89.00). France's Marie Martinod whose aggressive second run earned her a high score of 85.40.took silver, and Japan's Ayana Onozuka took bronze with consistent amplitude and smooth style (83.20).
Bowman completed the American sweep of gold in the Olympic debut of the event, joining David Wise, who won the men's event on Tuesday. She brought out the big guns in her final run, spinning right and left side 900s while throwing in a last-hit switch 720 for good measure.
Her corked left side 900 was one of the most impressive tricks of the evening and she landed it perfectly in both of her final runs.
"I don't think it's possible to put this into words. I am so happy. It's crazy", she said. "I planned to do that run the whole time, and I'm glad I could put it down the way I did. Gosh, it means so much for us to be able to show the world what our sport is, what we do and what we are".
Martinod had the best score in qualifying, while Bowman was third and Onozuka fourth heading into the final. While Martinod has become the third French lady to clinch a medal in Freestyle Skiing and the first to claim silver (the other two were bronzes), Onozuka is the second athlete to win a Freestyle medal for Japan after Tae Satoya claimed gold in ladies' moguls in 1998 and bronze in 2002.
"Maddie and Marie are great friends and I am happy for them. It is like a dream to be in the Winter Olympics and to finish in third", Onozuka concluded.

French Skiers Sweep The Medals in the Olympic Ski Cross

Jean Frederic Chapuis (FRA), Arnaud Bovolenta (FRA) and Jonathan Midol (FRA) have secured the first clean sweep for France at Olympic Winter Games by finishing first, second and third in the men's ski cross event staged at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park today.
The three skiers thus produced the sixth medal sweep at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games and thus set a new record number of sweeps at a single Winter Games.
However, even in the unpredictable world of ski cross racing, there are few who would have anticipated today's outcome, as Jean Frederic Chapuis (FRA) led a French sweep of the podium.
Followed closely by his teammate Arnaud Bovolenta in the Silver medal position and a sprawling Jonathan Midol taking home Bronze, Chapuis coolly sliced his way down Rosa Khutor Extreme Park to take Olympic Winter Games gold.
Brady Leman (CAN) finished fourth after skidding out while trying to push his way from the back into a medal position.
Chapuis' performance was yet another shock on a day when every pre-race favourite went out ahead of him in one kind of mishap or another.
Up and down the start list, skier after skier fell victim to the tough course, as the high stakes of the contest and high difficulty of the run forced crashes, mistakes and heartbreak.
Alex Fiva (SUI) got tangled up in his 1/8 final and was knocked out of contention, as was second best qualifier Christopher Delbosco (CAN) a few heats later. Andreas Matt (AUT) simply did not ski well in his quarterfinal and watched his hopes of scoring a second consecutive Olympic Winter Games medal slide away with the competitors ahead of him.
Victor Oehling Norberg (SWE), the top skier from the seeding round, was involved in a spectacular crash in his quarterfinal that ended with three of the four competitors careering across the finish line on their sides.
Meanwhile, Chapuis looked unflappable throughout the day, with a combination of solid starts, patience and anticipation keeping him aloof from the chaos going on around him. When he needed a pass - as he did in the big final to move into first place - he waited calmly for an opening and then slid through unscathed.
"With the two other French guys it's like a dream", he said after the race. "Yesterday, I was joking with the guys saying that all three on the podium would be good and it happened. It's perfect. We didn't have a strategy. There are three places for the podium, there is one loser place. We are friends off the slopes, but on the slopes we are enemies, so I tried to make my best".
Despite having only 32 World Cup starts and one victory to his name, the 24-year-old now holds the ski cross double crown of world champion and Olympic Winter Games champion, and has proved himself to be the top high-pressure ski cross racer in the world.
Perhaps even more remarkable than Chapuis' performance were those of his compatriots, as Bovolenta and Midol are now Olympic Games medallists despite never having reached a World Cup podium.
Bovolenta's previous best result was a sixth place earned earlier this season in Val Thorens, while Midol had one fourth place in 2012/13 in Les Contamines.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Vic Wild Takes Gold in the Men's Snowboard Parallel Giant Slalom

Vic Wild (RUS), who became a Russian citizen two years ago, thrilled his adopted country and won the men's snowboard parallel giant slalom at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games beating Nevin Galmarini (SUI) in the final head-to-head run at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
Wild, a 28-year-old born in Washington state, previously competed for the United States but got frustrated with the lack of funding for downhill snowboarding.
He married Russian snowboarder Alena Zavarzina - who won Bronze in the women's event just minutes before Wild won Gold - and became a Russian citizen in 2012.
"I want to thank Russia for giving me the opportunity to win a gold medal", he said after the win, which gave Russia its first Gold in a snowboard event at the Olympic Winter Games. "My teammates helped me so much. I don't think many of them like me, but I really appreciate it".
The fiercely partisan, flag-waving crowd that was packed into the stands at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park were loud and boisterous in their support for Wild, who admitted to reporters after his race that while he liked living in Moscow, he was not really able to speak Russian.
Galmarini, who beat Wild in the first of the two final runs but could not repeat it in the second, said he had quit his job a year ago to train full time. "I had a lot of fifth or sixth places but never got on the podium. I had to get angry enough about that to get on the podium today".
Zan Kosir (SLO) won the bronze medal after beating Patrick Bussler (GER) by a comfortable margin in the race for third.

Patrizia Kummer Takes Gold in the Ladies Snowboard Parallel Giant Slalom

Pre-race favourite Patrizia Kummer (SUI) stayed on her feet on an icy (morning) and partly bumpy course to win gold in the ladies snowboard parallel giant slalom at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games after beating red-hot Tomoka Takeuchi (JPN) in the final round at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park which became truly a duel of this season's best riders.
"I still can't believe it. It's crazy", said Kummer, who had won four out of six World Cup races in the lead up to the XXII Olympic Winter Games. "I still have the feeling that I have to go up and do another run".
Takeuchi, who had blistering runs throughout all the rounds leading up to the final, fell about two-thirds of the way into the second run of the final and Kummer continued on to zip across the finish line first.
But despite the fall, Takeuchi was still pleased with the result. Especially as winning Silver made her the first woman from Asia to ever win a medal in Olympic snowboard history.
"Asia is becoming really strong in snowboarding, not just Japan but all of Asia", said Takeuchi, who had organised two invitational events in her home country in the past, too. "I never expected to become a snowboarder".
Alena Zavarzine (RUS) won the Bronze medal as a roaring partisan crowd cheered her on against Austria's Ina Meschik.
The 2011 World Champion who had to handle a lot of set-backs due to injury in the last seasons pumped her arms up in the air when she crossed the line then took off her helmet to acknowledge the cheers of the crowd.
"I did all I could. Here is my broken arm and it is moving", said Zavarzina, who had surgery on her arm last month.

Ted Ligety Takes Gold in the Men's Giant Slalom

Ted Ligety (USA) confirmed his position as one of the greatest giant slalom skiers of all-time with a dominant display to win Olympic gold on Wednesday afternoon.
The 2011 and 2013 world champion finished in a combined time of 2 minutes and 45.29 seconds after the two runs, 0.48 seconds ahead of surprise silver medallist Steve Missillier (FRA).
The 29-year-old Frenchman, who has finished on the the world cup podium just once in his career and has a best of fourth place in giant slalom this season, recorded the fastest time in the second run to leap from 10th to second.
Alexis Pinturault (FRA) completed a great day for the French, winning bronze, finishing 0.84 seconds ahead of the current leader of the giant slalom world cup standings, Marcel Hirscher (AUT). It is the first time France has won both the silver and bronze medal in the giant slalom at the Olympic Games.
Ligety, who had a lead of 0.93 seconds on the field after the first run, never looked troubled on the sun-dappled course, despite seeing his advantage steadily eroded at each of the four intermediate splits.
"This is the event I have been putting so much pressure on myself to win, so to pull through is an awesome feeling. I feel really lucky I had such a good first run because I didn't have to take all the risks in the second run", said the gold medallist.
Ligety's place in the history books of giant slalom skiing is rapidly taking shape. The 29-year-old has now won the last three major international giant slalom titles and is already third on the all-time list of giant slalom world cup winners.

David Wise Wins First Ski Halfpipe Gold in Olympic history

David Wise of the United States took gold in the newly added ski halfpipe event and made history by becoming its first Olympic Champion.
His first run, which included both right and left-side double corked 1260 spins, earned him a score of 92.00 that proved to be enough to hold off all challengers and give him the triple crown of World Championship, X Games, and Olympic Winter Games titles.
"It's been amazing right from the start. Just walking through the opening ceremony with Team USA and just feeling like a part of this grand thing for the Olympics was really cool. To be out here representing not only USA freestyle skiing but also where I come from and the country that I live in, is just amazing", Wise said.
Mike Riddle of Canada threw down a near-flawless second run with a slightly lower degree of difficulty to earn a score of 90.60 and the silver, while Frenchman Kevin Rolland executed a solid first run to score of 88.60 and the bronze.
The streak of warm weather and clear skies that had dominated Sochi 2014, ended on Tuesday as snow, sleet, and rain drenched the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park over the course of the competition.
On-and-off heavy snow through the qualification heats created inconsistant conditions that had much of the field struggling with one or both of their runs, including medal favourite Torin Yater-Wallace of the United States, who fell twice in his qualifying attempts.
Despite all this, Wise appeared unfazed, singing to himself at the start gate before dropping into a mock-downhill tuck on his way into the pipe. With solid amplitude, held grabs and clean landings on every one of his tricks, his run was easily the best of the day through finals run one.
His only real threat of the competition came when second-placed Riddle powered through a second run that also included both left and right-side double 1260s, performed in an impressive sequence one after the other.
The back-to-back 'dub 12s' were a combination Riddle had not performed before Sochi 2014 and, taking the risk with a new run in unforgiving conditions, was likely the nudge he needed to move into silver medal position ahead of Rolland.
"I have never done that combination before, back-to-back dub (double corked) 1260s", Riddle said of his run, "But I decided it was a good time to do it for the first time".
Rolland's run included only one of the double-corked 1260s, though his consistent amplitude on the skier's-right wall was some of the highest seen all day.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Skier Tina Maze Wins Second Gold in Sochi

Tina Maze (SLO) continued her march towards Olympic immortality with her second gold medal of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games in the Ladies Giant Slalom.
The four-time Olympic medallist and most successful Slovenian Olympian of all-time, held on to her advantage from the morning's first run, although Anna Fenninger (AUT) went desperately close to snatching her second gold medal in four days. Defending giant slalom champion Viktoria Rebensburg (GER) won bronze.
Fenninger, fourth quickest in the first run, defied the driving rain to post a time of 2 minutes and 36.94 seconds. Maze was under pressure right from the start of her run, her 0.85 second advantage down to 0.61 seconds by the first intermediate split. Understandably tighter than in the morning's smooth run, Maze lost time on the Austrian all the way down before a desperate lunge for the finish saw her grab gold by a margin of 0.07 seconds, finishing in 2:36.87.
Rebensburg, whose Vancouver 2010 gold was her first win in any event in a major international race, clearly enjoys the Olympic spotlight. The German threw off a disappointing 2013/14 season in which she has suffered from a persistent lung disease and finished on the podium just once in a world cup race. She was quickest on the second run (1:17.90), climbing from sixth in the morning into third.
The day, however, belonged to the 30-year-old from Slovenia, who is quietly writing a remarkable story with just the odd whoop and cheer to indicate the magnitude of her achievements.
"I have dreamed about a day like this, even though it is raining", said Maze, the 2011 giant slalom world champion and 2013 giant slalom silver medallist. "I feel a little wet but that is fine - I won the race. I don't care about the rain. Even though it's not perfect weather it was perfect racing".
It is rapidly turning into a perfect Games for Maze. She has won two gold medals, the first in the downhill, as well as finishing fourth in the super combined and fifth in the super G. If she can finish inside the top 10 in Friday evening's slalom, she will overtake Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) in terms of the most complete performance by a female skier at a single Olympic Games.
Such form is reminiscent of her wonder 2012/13 season. Out of 35 world cup races that campaign, Maze won 11 and finished on the podium a remarkable 24 times. Unsurprisingly, given such statistics, she won the overall title and the giant slalom, super G and super combined titles, finishing second in the downhill and slalom standings.
Fenninger is also proving the value of being a true all-rounder. Fresh from winning gold in the super G on Saturday 15 February, the 24-year-old has now added a silver medal to an eighth place in the super combined. Only a ski out in the downhill blemishes her record.
"I'm stoked and I'm really stoked for my second run", said Fenninger. "If someone had said to me 'you can go and win two medals', I would have said 'that would be nice'. After the first [run], I knew at the start I'd have to take a lot of risks. And I did".
The start of the giant slalom was delayed by a snow flurry and by the time Rebensburg lined up heavy rain had settled in. But it would have needed more than that to put off the 24-year-old.
"It was the same conditions in the first run and the second run for each racer, so, for me, it's kind of like a fair race", said the German bronze medallist.

Pierre Vaultier Wins Men's SBX Gold

Pierre Vaultier (FRA) won gold in the men's snowboard cross final at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games ahead of Nikolay Olyunin (RUS) and Alex Deibold (USA) today, in a sloppy wet final with heavy fog that made it hard to see at the top of the course.
Three-time Olympian Vaultier, 26, and 2010 Junior World Champion Olyunin, 22, both won each of their rounds leading up to the final and did not face one another until the final round.
After the finish, Vaultier, who was racing with a torn ACL which he had suffered in bad crash during the Lake Louise World Cup event last December, pumped his arms in the air and screamed wildly in jubilation.
"When I passed the finish line, I think I was still up in the air [from the last jump]", said the Frenchman. "My luck was that I didn't compete against the Russian until the finals. I think that played in my favour".
His rival from Siberia had said a year ago that he had planned to retire after Sochi 2014. But he showed now signs of being done during his races, which thrilled a partisan crowd.
Wearing Russian colours and waving flags and banners, the spectators shrugged off the constant rain and fog and helped cheer Olyunin down the course, roaring loudly with each of his wins.
"I think he's a great rider and he deserves this”, he said about the new Olympic Champion, before joking: "But I will never forgive him for it".
The men's snowboard cross event was originally scheduled for Monday, but heavy fog caused officials to postpone it. Visibility had improved at the beginning of Tuesday's racing but as the morning progressed the fog started to cover the course and it became harder to see, although enough visibility remained to run the finals.
"I enjoy the adverse conditions. I've never minded bad weather - it's just something you have to prepare yourself for", Deibold said.
The 27-year-old did not make the USA snowboarding team for Vancouver 2010 but went anyway as a wax technician to help his teammates. He said that gave him motivation to work hard to medal at Sochi 2014.

Anton Kushnir Wins Men's Aerials Gold

Anton Kushnir (Belarus) put down the jump of his life to take gold at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games on Monday night in a stacked super final in Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
After failing to qualify with his first jump, Kushnir stuck his last-ditch second qualifying attempt and was nearly perfect from there on, sticking clean landing after clean landing to make his way through the unforgiving Olympic Winter Games elimination format.
Jumping second in the super final after qualifying in third from the final two, Kushnir landed a back double-full, full, double-full air that earned him a score of 134.50, the highest of the night in any round by more than 13 points.
"I did it several times (in training)", he said of the jump that would ultimately win him gold. "I can't say I did a lot of times but I practised it and it worked out well".
A jubilant David Morris claimed a first men's aerials medal for Australia, with a back double-full, full, full earning him a score of 110.41, and the silver medal.
Jia Zongyang (China) fell on his back full, double-full, double-full, but it was still enough for him to earn 95.06 -and bronze -and surpass his countryman Qi Guangpu, who also fell on his attempt.
Kushnir's win maintained a streak of five Olympic Winter Games in which a Belarusian man has won an aerials medal, carrying on the legacy of his teammates Alexei Grishin and Dmitri Dashinski, both of whom are likely to retire after Sochi 2014.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Current Olympic Champions in Alpine Skiing. Giant Slalom

The gold medal goes to Carlo Janka from Switzerland, following an outstanding performance in the Men's Giant Slalom at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games (watch the video now). He crossed the finish line in 2:37.83, finishing 0.39 seconds ahead of Kjetil Jansrud and 0.61 ahead of Aksel Lund Svindal.

Alpine Skiing - Men's Giant Slalom Highlights Video

Viktoria Rebensburg takes the gold medal in the Women's Super G competition at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games (watch the video now). She crossed the finish line in 2:27.11. She was only 0.04 seconds ahead of Tina Maze, and 0.14 seconds ahead of Elisabeth Goergl.

Alpine Skiing - Women's Giant Slalom Highlights Video

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Eva Samkova Wins Ladies SBX Gold

The shooting star from the Czech Republic kept the momentum after winning the last pre-Olympic World Cup race as well as grabbing Silver at the last X-Games storming to Gold in the ladies' Snowboard Cross event of the XXII Olympic Winter Games at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park today edging off Dominique Maltais (CAN) and Chloe Trespeuch (CZE) to second and third.
20-year-old Samkova had already upset the field of 24 ladies in the seeding runs when she nailed it with an outstanding time of 1:20.61 min.
And the three-time Junior World Champion just tied on to her early morning performance when it was time to deliver in the knock-out rounds.
Samkova dominated all of her heats in an outstanding matter, taking over the lead after the first wu-tang and keeping hold to the first spot until the finish line.
Coping best with the Olympic pressure she also stayed faultless in the final heat thus bringing home the first ever Olympic medal in a snowboard event for her home country.
"It's crazy. All the time I've been watching TV at home, just watching the summer Olympics and also the winter. And now I'm also an Olympian. Yeah, it's just crazy", she said before adding about her race plan: "I just wanted to be confident with myself. I couldn't imagine this - it was very fortunate for me".
After claiming Bronze 2006, Dominique Maltais became the first ever lady to earn a second medal in this still very young Olympic event.
"It's for sure one of my best days today. I won the bronze medal in Torino (2006) and Vancouver (2010) didn't go well for me - I injured myself and couldn't race that day. It was the hardest time in my life and I just took the decision to take my life in my hands and just try to improve myself and get myself faster on that kind of course for the next four years until today".
The current World Cup leader also stated: "The last four years has been like I was on a mission. Everything I was touching, everything I was eating was to be a better athlete, get faster on that course".
However, she was also lucky when pre-race favourite and second-fastest qualifier Lindsey Jacobellis (USA), who was leading in the semi final round, washed out in a turn and slid right into Maltais' race line.
"I didn't think about it. I had really bad starts today so I had to work myself to make my way through and preparing those passes. I knew Lindsey was going really high in that bank and she unfortunately crashed and I was going for the inside line. When I saw her starting to slide down where my line was I was like, 'OK, no option I have to go for it and see what happens'", Maltais summed up the situation.
While it worked out for her, it didn't do so for last year's Sochi winner Michela Moioli (ITA) and Alexandra Jekova (BUL) in the finals when the Italian young gun tried to pass the Bulgarian rider on the inside in a tight and exciting battle for Bronze which led to a crash of both.
One man's trash is another man's treasure as Chloe Trespeuch capitalised on the double out of her rivals racing to Bronze and thus her career's biggest success.
The young French rider thus said: "It's boardercross so anything can happen, even 10 metres before the line. I just tried to hang on and pass the line as quickly as possible and remain focused".

Epic TV: So Freaking Extreme, Ep. 9. Seth Morrison: Project Pleasure Dome

The Pleasure Dome What is pleasure? What makes you happy? Early season in Chamonix was, well, as good as it can get for a "bad ski season." Check out skiing around the Aiguille du Midi with superstar Seth Morrison and Chamonix local, Tof Henry. There is no such thing as a bad season. Powder to the People.

Kjetil Jansrud Wins Olympic Gold in Super-G

Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) won Norway's fourth consecutive Olympic super G gold medal, completing his personal Olympic medal set, on a day in which records melted away even quicker than the snow at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre.
Bode Miller, the first USA skier to win medals at three different Olympic Games after taking bronze and the oldest Olympic alpine skiing medallist of all time, will grab many of the headlines but all four of the super G medallists on Sunday morning will be keeping the statisticians busy for days to come.
Miller's fellow countryman Andrew Weibrecht swapped medal places with his compatriot from the 2010 Games, winning the silver medal to add to his super G bronze from Vancouver four years ago. In the process the 28-year-old joined Miller in becoming only the fourth man to win multiple Olympic super G medals.
And still the records fell. Joint bronze medallist Jan Hudec (CAN) became the first Canadian skier to win an Olympic medal outside of the downhill and the first of his countrymen to win an Olympic alpine skiing medal for 20 years.
The Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre has swiftly gained a reputation for producing highly dramatic races and unfancied medallists. If anything, the men's super G surpassed the previous five alpine events at Sochi 2014 on both counts.
For Miller, now the oldest Olympic alpine medal winner and equal second in the all-time list of Olympic alpine medal winners, it was an emotional triumph.
"It's been such a tough two years, with my brother passing away and all the injuries. Loss and struggle are tough, but I came out and performed well today. I'm just finally getting a little luck", said Miller.
Gold medal winner Jansrud, whose achievement means he has matched MILLER in winning the full set of Olympic medals, was typically understated in his assessment of his 2014 Games so far.
"So far this Olympic Games has gone better than I had hoped. I am floating. It's the biggest thing you can win", said the 2014 Olympic super G champion.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Anna Fenninger Wins Women's Super-G

Anna Fenninger (AUT) took gold in the ladies super G on Saturday. The 24-year-old won Austria's fourth Olympic gold in the event, finishing ahead of Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) and teammate Nicole Hosp (AUT).
It was a first Olympic medal for Fenninger, the 2011 super combined champion, as she finished in 1 minute and 25.52 seconds. Her previous best Olympic performance was 16th in the same event at the Vancouver 2010 Games.
On a course set by Austrian alpine skiing coach Florian Winkler (AUT), the big guns watched on and learned as eight of the first 11 starters failed to finish the course. The tight, steep turns are typical of WIinkler's designs.
"It's such a difficult track but I have to give praise to the coach who set the course because you have to be so tactical", said Fenninger.
Teammate Hosp continued her scorching form at the Games, setting the pace with a blistering bottom section. The Sochi 2014 super combined silver medallist was followed down the course by Fenninger, after Tina Weirather (LIE) pulled out at the start gate, succumbing to a training-run injury.
Fenninger finished on the podium in each of the first three world cup super G races this season and she brought that form to the Rosa Khutor slope. She was ahead of Hosp from the first intermediate split.
An Austrian one-two looked a possibility as Hoefl-Riesch, the last of the top seeds to start, was down at the first and second splits. The three-time Olympic gold medallist produced a flawless middle section, however, to take the lead on the third split. A mistake on the final jump prevented the German from adding super G gold to the super combined gold she won on Monday.
"This is my 10th (Olympic and world championship) medal and my first silver. Of course, gold would have been better, but I'm still very proud, especially because it was on such a difficult course", Hoefl-Riesch said.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Current Olympic Champions in Alpine Skiing. Super-G

The gold goes to Norway in the challenging Super G competition, thanks to Aksel Lund Svindal's fantastic performance at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games (watch the video now). He crossed the finish line in 1:30.34, finishing only 0.28 seconds ahead of Bode Miller and 0.31 ahead of Andrew Weibrecht.

Austria's Andrea Fischbacher takes the gold medal in the Women's Super G competition at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games (watch the video now). She crossed the finish line in 1:20.14. She was 0.49 seconds ahead of Tina Maze, and 0.74 seconds ahead American Lindsey Vonn.

Alla Tsuper Wins Ladies Aerials Gold

Competing in her fifth and final Olympic Games, veteran Alla Tsuper (Belarus) was able to cleanly land a back full, full, full jump to score 98.01 and take gold in the Sochi 2014 ladies aerials competition on Friday night.
The newly crowned Olympic Champion Tsuper did not reach the podium in her four previous participations in this event, in 1998 (5th), 2002 (9th), 2006 (10th) and 2010 (8th). "I'm very happy to be Olympic champion. I was showing my fight and my power, that I could do everything and I put trust in myself. I really wanted this victory and I was fortunate today", she happily concluded.
At the age of 34 years and 304 days, Tsuper has now become the oldest medallist in any Freestyle Skiing event.
Xu Mengtao (China) was the last woman to jump, needing only to land cleanly to take gold, but a hand drag in her landing meant she would have to settle for silver with a score of 83.50.
For Xu, it was her first medal in this event in which China is the most dominant nation but it has yet to win gold. "I am very happy indeed, but it is a shame because I didn't win the gold medal. This is the fourth silver medal China has won at the Olympic Winter Games in aerials", she said.
Vancouver 2010 gold medallist Lydia Lassila (Australia) attempted the most difficult jump of the evening but crashed in her landing. The Australian's performance was good enough for a score of 72.12 and the bronze medal.
Lassila was in tears after the competition: "I was always going to go into the Olympics with the approach of all or nothing. I'm the first woman to do a full-double-full-full. It would have been great to land that jump but I was stretching for my life and I just couldn't get there".

Sochi 2014 Games Reach Half-way Point

As the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games reach the half way stage, the Organizing Committee have provided an update on the "truly great Games" in progress. Fans from 124 countries have gathered in Sochi to passionately support their teams. Organizers have announced that nearly 1 000 000 tickets have been sold, 13,477 media personnel are in Sochi covering the Games and 18,500 volunteers have worked a total of 76,090 shifts - over 760,000 hours. Volunteers are assisting international visitors in over 30 languages.
An incredible atmosphere can be felt in the Olympic stands, with performances from the best winter athletes contributing to a wonderful celebration of sport that is captivating fans across the whole world.
The organizers have made great efforts to ensure spectators from around the world feel right at home at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Over the first half of the Games, Sochi’s transportation network has carried over 1.3 million people, including 400,000 by bus and 900,000 by "Lastochka" train.
A food and beverage service network with 1,400 individual locations is serving over 185,000 employees, client groups, and spectators every day. Over 2,500 metric tonnes of food have been used to make their meals.
More than 270,000 spectators have visited the Sochi 2014 Live Sites around Russia, attending a total of 187 events that have been hosted involving stars from sports and the stage. The Live Sites have also entertained fans with big screens showing over 120 hours of continuous broadcasting of the sport events. As part of the Games Cultural Program, 213 performances have been held with 92 performance groups from around the country, attracting an audience of in excess of 200,000 people.
Sochi 2014 President Dmitry Chernyshenko said: "As we always believed likely during our preparations, these are proving to be truly great Games. During the Games, Sochi has been drawing the attention of the whole world as Olympic history is being written. The atmosphere at the Games is very friendly, sport fans welcome each other in all sorts of languages and 550,000 people have already visited the Olympic Park to join the festival of sport. I’m delighted that the athletes have spoken so highly of the organization of the Games and thank the fans for their incredible support. As of now, 38 medal sets have been already awarded, but there is surely more incredible sport yet to come!".

The XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi will take place between February 7, 2014 and February 23, 2014 encapsulating 17 days of competitions. 98 events will be held in seven Olympic Winter sports (Skiing, Skating, Luge, Biathlon, Ice Hockey, Curling, and Bobsleigh).
Sochi was elected as the host city for the XXII Olympic Winter Games at the 119th IOC Session in Guatemala City on 4 July 2007.