Austria’s Mayer Beats Miller in Downhill as Russians Get Medals

Austrian Matthias Mayer won the men’s downhill for his family’s second Olympic medal while forcing Bode Miller to wait five days for another attempt at becoming the oldest Alpine ski medalist.

Italy’s Armin Zoeggeler took bronze in the men’s singles luge to become the first person to win a medal in six consecutive Winter Olympics and Russia won its first medals of the Sochi Games, including gold in team figure skating.

Miller, a 36-year-old American, finished eighth, 0.52 seconds back, yesterday in Sochi. Mayer’s father, Helmut, won silver in the super-giant slalom at the 1988 Calgary Games.

“It wasn’t until I got on the podium that I realized I was the Olympic champion,” Mayer said. “It’s unbelievable. I’ve only dreamed of this, and now my dream has come true.”

Irene Wust of the Netherlands regained her women’s 3000-meter speedskating title -- becoming the first Dutch athlete to win gold at three different games -- and Russia’s Olga Graf finished third in that event to give the host nation its first medal in Sochi.

Jamie Anderson won gold in the women’s slopestyle, giving the U.S. a sweep of the snowboard event’s golds. Sage Kotsenburg was a surprise victor in the men’s event two days ago.

Today’s Schedule

Today, medals will be awarded in five events, including women’s super combined, the men’s 1500 meters in short track speedskating and men’s moguls in freestyle skiing.

Yesterday, Slovakia’s Anastasiya Kuzmina retained her Olympic title in the women’s 7.5-kilometer sprint biathlon, finishing ahead of Russia’s Olga Vilukhina. Ukraine’s Vita Semerenko took bronze.

Mayer became the seventh Austrian to win Alpine skiing’s most prestigious crown. The country, which considers downhill skiing a national pastime, has won the Olympic title in seven of the 17 Winter Games in which it has been contested.

Mayer, 23, is the youngest gold medalist in the men’s downhill since 21-year-old Leonhard Stock of Austria finished first at the 1980 Lake Placid Games.

Olympic Debut

Mayer raced down the 3.5-kilometer (2.17-mile) course in 2 minutes, 06.23 seconds in his Olympic debut.

Christof Innerhofer became the first Italian to win an Olympic medal in the men’s downhill in 38 years by capturing silver in 2:06.29, rolling on his back in the finish area with glee when he saw his medal-winning time. Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud took bronze.

Miller, who became the sixth American to compete in five Winter Games, plans to race in at least three of the four other Alpine events in Sochi -- including the super combined on Feb. 14 in which he is the defending champion.

A medal in Sochi would allow Miller to surpass Kjetil Andre Aamodt of Norway, who holds the mark as the oldest medalist after his performance in the super-giant slalom at the 2006 Games at the age of 34.

German Win

Germany’s Felix Loch successfully defended his singles luge title, finishing four runs in 3:27.526. Albert Demchenko, 42, of Russia was 0.476 seconds back in second place and Zoeggeler was third, 1.271 seconds back.

Russia won its first gold medal by building an insurmountable lead before the final session of the team figure skating as President Vladimir Putin watched. The Russians finished with 75, Canada took bronze with 65 and the U.S. had 60 for bronze.

In the women’s 3000-meter speedskating, the Netherlands’ Wust, 27, finished in 4:00.34 at the Adler Arena in the race, which she won at the 2006 Turin Olympics. Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic was 1.61 seconds behind and Graf, 30, took the bronze.

Dutch Domination

Wust, who won the 1500 meters in Vancouver in 2010 and the 1000 meters, 1500 meters and 3000 meters in Turin, is skating in five events in Russia. She finished seventh in the 3000-meter event in Vancouver.

In the women’s slopestyle, Anderson had a winning score of

95.25 on her final run. Finland’s Enni Rukajarvi took silver and Britain’s Jenny Jones got bronze.

Switzerland’s Dario Cologna won gold in the men’s skiathlon. Marcus Hellner of Sweden was second and Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway took third, edging Russian Maxim Vylegzhanin by a 10th of a second. The first half of the 30-kilometer race is done in classic cross-country style, while the remainder is done freestyle.

Poland’s Kamil Stoch won the men’s normal hill ski jumping gold medal. Peter Prevc of Slovenia finished second and Norway’s Anders Bardal was third.

Norway leads the medal count so far with two golds and seven overall, while the Netherlands and the U.S. are tied for second -- each with two golds among four overall.

The medals for Graf, Vilukhina and Demchenko, along with the gold in team figure skating, relieved some stress on the Russian team. The Sochi Games are the first since 1998 in which the host nation did not win a medal on the opening day.

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