The Sochi Network

Sochi Summary Day 5: Starring weather almost as hot as a Jacky Chamoun shoot

The Sochi Network

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HOT TOPIC

It is hot at the Winter Olympics.

Temperatures at the Extreme Park on Wednesday were 11 degrees in the shade and 15 in the sun and are forecast to crawl up further in the next two days, to a high of around 16 degrees Celsius in Sochi and at least 12 degrees in the nearby mountains.

Training for the women's downhill was scrapped, the Snowboarders are upset because the half pipe is too soft and the Cross Country Skiers are angry because the tracks are too mushy.

"There is no structure to the snow at all. It's very hard to ski on, it's almost impossible to ski easy," said 2010 champion Bill Demong ahead of today's Nordic Combined.

However a clear night on Tuesday ensured cold temperatures and the women's downhill course was in good shape. There is no plan to bring in more snow. Snow from last winter had been stored higher up in the mountains and some of it had already been used.

GOOD DAY

Slovenia - First participated as an independent nation at the Olympic Games in 1992 and today the central European republic of just over two million people won their first gold medal. Or was it half a gold medal? Tina Maze sped down the Rosa Khutor piste in exactly the same time as Switzerland's Dominique Gisin to share victory in the women's downhill. "It's something special," Maze, already one of Slovenia's best-known celebrities, said. They will be dancing in the streets of Ljubljana tonight.

Bryan Fletcher - The American finished nearly two minutes behind the winner in the Nordic Combined normal event to finish 26th out of the 46 competitors. However the 27-year-old was competing in the Olympics. Some feat as he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia as a child and was given a very small chance of survival. Fletcher ignored doctors advice to start ski jumping but missed the Olympics in Vancouver after he fell down the stairs in his ski boots. Today his dreams came true.

German Luge - Since the sport was introduced to the Winter Games in Innsbruck in 1964, Germans have dominated. Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt made it a hat-trick of wins in Sochi to improve Deutschland's record to 31 out of 42 Olympic titles. Just like British cycling, science is the key. In a highly meticulous and dare we say 'efficient' approach, athletes who have the ideal measurements and body weight are identified to enter the junior programmes and Vorsprung durch Technik ensures the best sleds. Who is your money on for the inaugural team relay tomorrow?

BAD DAY

Alexandra Coletti - The downhill skier from Monaco fractured her foot in a big crash. The audible screams, picked up by the TV microphones, were gut-wrenching and the race was suspended for several minutes as she was wedged into the safety netting having come off the course and lost a ski. Marie Marchand-Arvier of France also crashed but managed to get back on her feet.

The Golds - Arielle Gold, women's half pipe world champion, was forced to pull out of the event after crashing and injuring her shoulder in the warm-up for qualifying. The 17-year-old from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, climbed off a stretcher and walked off under her own power. It comes 24 hours after her brother Taylor failed to make the final in the men's contest.

Jacky Chamoun - Lebanon's Sports and Youth Minister today ordered an investigation after racy pictures and a video of the skier surfaced on the Internet, causing a stir in her Arab nation. They were taken during a shoot for an Austrian ski calendar three years ago. Chamoun said on Facebook: "I want to apologise to all of you, I know that Lebanon is a conservative country and this is not the image that reflects our culture. I fully understand if you want to criticise this." One positive, that post has received over 13,000 likes.

BRITS IN ACTION

Chemmy Alcott finished 19th in the women's downhill, 1.86 seconds behind the winners, in her fourth Winter Olympic Games.

The British women’s rink of Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Claire Hamilton and Vicki Adams went down 9-6 to unbeaten favourites Canada in the Curling and now have a record of one win and two losses.

The British men’s rink, skipped by David Murdoch and also including Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews and Michael Goodfellow, defeated Switzerland 4-2 to improve their record to three win and one defeat.

GOLD MEDALS AWARDED TODAY

Alpine Skiing - Ladies' Downhill: Dominique Gisin (Switzerland) & Tina Maze (Slovenia)
Nordic Combined - Normal Hill: Eric Frenzel (Germany)
Speed Skating - Men's 1000m: Stefan Groothuis (Netherlands)
Luge - Doubles: Tobias Wendl/Tobias Arlt (Germany)
Snowboarding - Ladies' Halfpipe: Kaitlyn Farrington (USA)
Figure Skating - Pairs: Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov (Russia)

IMAGE OF THE DAY

Eric Frenzel jumps for joy on the podium after winning the Nordic Combined gold.

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TWEET OF THE DAY

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DON'T MISS TOMORROW

After the thrills and many, many spills in Slopestyle so far, we have the fourth and final instalment with the men's Freestyle Skiing. Britain's medal hope James Woods, who won silver at the World Championships in 2013, is not fully fit after a crash last week.

BIG NAMES IN ACTION

Britain's biggest gold medal hope Lizzy Yarnold is in action in the first two of four runs in the women's skeleton.

Canada's three-time defending world champion Patrick Chan is the heavy favourite for the men's figure skating but the home fans will be roaring on 2002 champion Evgeni Plushenko.

Sidney Crosby is the best ice hockey player on the planet and he captains Canada in their opener against Norway.

YOU HAVEN'T HEARD OF THEM BUT YOU SHOULD HAVE

Noelle Pikus-Pace is the American who is the biggest threat to Yarnold. The pair have split this year's eight World Cup races evenly but it was the 31-year-old from Utah who won the test event on this track last year.

GOLD MEDALS ON OFFER

09:30 - Freestyle Skiing: Men's Slopestyle
10:00 - Cross Country Skiing: Ladies' 10km
12:09 - Short Track: Ladies' 500m
14:00 - Speed Skating: Ladies' 1000m
14:00 - Biathlon: Men's 20km
16:15 - Luge: Team Relay

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