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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 February 2006, 22:33 GMT
Winter Olympics day four review

Ted Ligety in action
Unheralded Ligety upsets the favourites for alpine glory
American skier Ted Ligety stole the limelight with gold in the men's combined event after Austrian Benjamin Raich slumped out of the second slalom.

Raich had led in the first leg when American Bode Miller was disqualified, while Briton Noel Baxter finished 14th.

Britain's women curlers sealed a tense 5-4 win over Switzerland.

Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko outclassed his rivals in the men's opening short programme, and Sylke Otto led a German sweep in the women's luge.

Meanwhile, Sweden celebrated double gold with victories in the men's and women's cross-country team sprints.

Sven Fischer of Germany won the biathlon 10km sprint. Britain's Tom Clemens finished in 79th place.


DAY FOUR EVENTS

ALPINE SKIING

Unheralded American Ted Ligety seized his chance to win gold in the men's combined event after leader Benjamin Raich of Austria skied out of contention in the second slalom leg.

Ligety claimed victory in a combined time of three minutes 9.35 seconds after two flawless slalom runs.

But it was disappointment for his better known team-mate, Bode Miller, who was disqualified for straddling a gate during the first slalom leg.

The overall World Cup champion, who finished a disappointing fifth in Sunday's downhill event, had looked on course for victory after setting the pace in the opening downhill leg.

Former World Cup slalom champion Ivica Kostelic of Croatia took silver in 3:09.88, while Austrian Rainer Schoenfelder was third with 3:10.67.

Britain's sole representative Noel Baxter enjoyed an impressive finish to the event with 14th.

Baxter, the younger brother of fellow skier Alain, climbed up the standings after starting the day in 36th to complete the event 3.44 seconds behind the winner.

Defending champion Kjetil Andre of Norway was a late withdrawal with an injured knee.

The action was delayed after Czech skier Filip Trejbal had a spectacular crash.

His helmet and skis came flying off, but he appeared to have escaped serious injury.

CURLING

Great Britain's women curlers continued their title defence with a second win in two days as they beat 2002 silver medallists Switzerland 5-4 in their round-robin game.

There was little to choose between the two teams, but despite Switzerland having the final stone advantage, Rhona Martin and her team managed to take a single stone on the last end.

A precise Martin stone in the third end allowed Britain to take a 2-0 lead after a defensive opening, but errors in the fourth and fifth ends saw Switzerland edge 3-2 ahead.

The teams could not be separated as they levelled at 4-4 before the dramatic finish.

Four years ago, Martin and her team pulled off a dramatic 4-3 victory against Switzerland to seal Britain's first Winter Games gold since 1984.

Meanwhile, favourites Canada suffered a setback in the men's competition with an extra end 8-7 defeat to Sweden.

The Swedes top the men's round-robin group with three wins from three ahead of Great Britain who have two from two with the USA and Canada occupying the third and fourth spots.

SKATING

In speed skating, Svetlana Zhurova upset reigning world champion Wang Manli for Olympic gold in the women's 500m.

The Russian won with a combined two-run time of one minute, 16.57 seconds, while Wang of China finished 0.21 seconds behind for silver

Another Chinese skater Ren Hui captured the bronze medal with a combined time of 1:16.87.

Earlier, former double Olympic champion Marianne Timmer was disqualified after a second false start.

South Korea's Choi Seung-yong had the first false start seconds earlier.

In figure skating, three-time world champion Evgeni Plushenko lived up to his label as clear favourite with a sublime display in the men's short programme.

The Russian star, who won silver in Salt Lake City four years ago, easily outshone his opponents with a score 90.66, establishing a 10.66 advantage ahead of Thursday's free skate.

American champion Johnny Weir leads the chasing pack with Switzerland's Stephane Lambiel just behind after scoring 79.04.

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING

Sweden seized double gold in the men's and women's cross country team sprints, while favourites Norway emerged with just one medal.

Bjoern Lind and Thobias Fredriksson of Sweden watched their compatriots succeed, and then went out and followed suit.

Lind anchored the men's team and waited until the final 100 metres to make his move, pushing from third to first to edge out Norwegians Jens Arne Svartedal and Tor Arne Hetland n 17 minutes, 2.9 seconds.

Russia's duo of Ivan Alypov and Vassili Rotchev claimed the bronze.

Lina Andersson and Anna Dahlberg won the women's event.

Andersson's brave effort in the final straight allowed Sweden to edge past Canadian duo Beckie Scott and Sara Renner in a time of 16 minutes and 36.9 seconds.

Finnish pair Kaisa Aino Saarinen and Virpi Kuitunen took bronze.

Germany's Evi Sachenbacher Stehle, one of 12 skiers handed five-day suspensions by the sport's governing body, was cleared to compete after serving her ban, but could only finish fifth

BIATHLON

Germany's Sven Fischer won his first individual gold in the men's 10km sprint.

The 34-year-old added to two previous Olympic relay titles - shooting flawlessly and covering the course at blistering speed to finish in 26 minutes, 11.6 seconds - 8.2 seconds ahead of Norway's Halvard Hanevold.

Three-time Olympic champion Hanevold, 36, of Norway, added a silver medal to the bronze he won in Saturday's individual race, finishing 11.5 seconds ahead of team-mate Frode Andresen.

Their compatriot Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, the defending champion, finished more than one minute adrift of the winner in 12th.

Britain's Tom Clemens was in 79th place, after finishing in 31 minutes, five seconds.

OTHER SPORTS

Germany managed a second straight clean sweep of the Olympic medals in the women's luge with Sylke Otto taking gold ahead of team-mates Silke Kraushaar and Tatjana Huefner.

The 36-year-old Otto defended her crown with a combined time of three minutes 07.979 seconds, while 1998 champion Kraushaar claimed silver 0.136 seconds further back.

Huefner grabbed the final podium place, just ahead of the only real non-German threat, Courtney Zablock from the US.

Otto's victory means she became the second woman to retain an Olympic luge title after East German Steffi Walter-Martin in 1988.

Women's ice hockey preliminary rounds continue with Russia beating Italy 5-1 and reigning Olympic champions Canada thrashing 2002 bronze medallists Sweden 8-1.

Other results were: Switzerland 1-2 Germany, and Finland 1-7 USA.




SPORT-BY-SPORT GUIDES
 



Medals Table Sun Feb 26 - 15:22
  G S B
1.Germany11126
2.United States997
3.Austria977
4.Russia868
5.Canada7107
6.Sweden725
7.South Korea632
8.Switzerland545
9.Italy506
10.France324

SEE ALSO
Dazzling Ligety wins alpine gold
14 Feb 06 |  Winter Sports


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