US dance to gold as Jamaica fizzle out

Meryl Davis and Charlie White claimed America’s first Olympic figure skating ice dance gold with a world record performance but Jamaica’s heart-warming run to Russia suffered a predictably sobering end.


Vancouver silver medallists Davis and White led all the way to seal the title by 4.53 points ahead of reigning champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada on Monday.

Russia’s Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov won bronze.

“We’re so excited, we’re in shock a little. I’m not sure what we’re feeling,” said Davis, after claiming a 15th Olympic gold medal for the United States but the first outside of men’s or women’s individual events.

The Americans, who train with the Canadian dancers in Detroit under Russian-born coach Marina Zoueva, completed their medal set after their silver in Vancouver and team bronze in Sochi.

They scored 116.63 points for their free skate to Scheherazade – over two points higher than the previous record they achieved in the team event just over a week ago.

After already setting a new record in the short dance on Sunday they scored an overall total record of 195.52, beating their previous best from the Grand Prix final by over four points.

Jamaica’s Olympic bobsleigh adventure, funded by an internet appeal and backed by an international outpouring of goodwill, ended with a whimper when 46-year-old pilot Winston Watts and brakeman Marvin Dixon came in second-last in the two-man event.

Jamaica were hoping to represent their country with the same vigour and enthusiasm shown by their 1988 Calgary counterparts, who inspired the movie, Cool Runnings.

But Watts and Dixon were unable to produce the miracle they needed in the third run to make up their time deficit from the first two heats – finishing 29th out of 30 runners.

“I promised to slide today faster than yesterday,” Watts said after the third run. “And we did so. Unfortunately it was not enough to go further.

“Hopefully, we sent a message to the smaller countries, you don’t need snow to do bobsleigh. You don’t need snow to do winter sports.”

The two-man bob was won by Alexander Zubkov and Alexey Voevoda who earned Russia their first gold medal in the sport.

Zubkov produced two more consistent races to clock a combined time of 3min 45.39sec to finish 0.66sec ahead of Swiss crew, Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann.

Steve Holcomb and Steve Langton took bronze for the United States.

Earlier Monday, thick fog shrouded the mountains Rosa Khutor above Sochi and caused two scheduled medal events – the men’s biathlon 15km mass start and men’s snowboard cross – to be put back until Tuesday.

The biathlon race had been originally slated for Sunday leaving Norwegian star Ole Einar Bjoerndalen to kick his heels before he attempts again to win a record 13th Winter Olympics medal.

Germany ended Austria’s dominance in the ski jumping team event, taking gold in a down-to-the-wire Olympic competition.

The four-man German team collected 1041.1 points over two rounds and eight jumps, ahead of defending Olympic champions Austria and a delighted Japanese team, led by veteran Noriaki Kasai.

In women’s biathlon, Darya Domracheva took her third gold of the Olympics by winning the women’s 12.5km mass start to become Belarus’s greatest winter Olympian.

She finished 20.2sec ahead of Gabriela Soukalova of the Cezch Republic with bronze going to Tiril Eckhoff of Norway.

Anton Kushnir completed a Belarus double in the freestyle aerials by winning men’s gold.

Following Alla Tsuper’s victory in the women’s competition, he also succeeded compatriot Alexei Grishin after the defending champion was knocked out in the heats.

Australian David Morris was a shock silver medallist while Jia Zongyang took bronze for China.

Defending champions Canada and reigning world champions the United States will square off in their second-straight women’s hockey gold medal clash.

The US clobbered Sweden 6-1 while Canada rolled over Switzerland 3-1 to set the stage for another superpower showdown in Thursday’s final.