Day two of the 2018 Winter Olympics saw a number of medal favourites miss out on reaching the podium, but a speed skater from the Netherlands added to his growing tally of Olympic bling inside the Gangneung Oval in PyeongChang.
Sven Kramer, who claimed gold over 5,000 metres at both Vancouver and Sochi completed his hat-trick in South Korea, clocking a new Olympic Record time in the process. Kramer stopped the clock in a time of 6:09.76 to help him better the efforts of fellow medallists Ted-Jan Bloemen (Canada) and Sverre Lunde Pedersen (Norway) by 1.85 seconds.
Kramer now has eight Olympic medals in what is now his fourth Games, and with his sights set on a first ever 10,000m gold it would not be a surprise to see the 31-year-old return to the top step of the podium over the next fortnight.
Heavy favourites Fourcade and Loch slip up on day of surprises
Biathletes Martin Fourcade and Johannes Thingnes Boe each had poor days on the shooting range which scuppered their chances in the men’s 10km sprint.
Having go head-to-head during the World Cup all season, the two race favourites both missed three shots out of five in the prone position to all but end their medal hopes during their first events at these games. With six opportunities, if they are picked for the mixed and men’s relay events, the duo will have to recover quickly from their disappointing showings, with the men back in action on Monday to take part in the Pursuit.
Gold went to Germany’s Arnd Peiffer who was one of just four men – out of a field of 87 – to hit all ten of his targets to complete a German double in the sprint events following Laura Dahlmeier’s victory on Saturday. Michal Krcmar also hit ten out of ten at the range to grab silver, with Italy’s Dominik Windisch missing just one shot on his way to bronze.
There was no such luck for Germany in the men’s Luge, where double reigning Olympic champion Felix Loch produced his worst time during the fourth run to slip from first to fifth at the end of his two-day event.
Loch had a strong lead over his rivals going into the final run and after watching the other 19 men who reached the top 20 slide down the track, he knew what was needed for gold. Half way down he took a heavy bump which cost him plenty of speed and in turn cost him a medal. Austria’s David Gleirscher was the surprise winner, with Chris Mazdzer (USA) and Loch’s compatriot Johannes Ludwig rounding out the medal positions.
Norway become second nation to secure 1-2-3 as Krueger recovers from early fall to take Skiathlon gold
Following on from the Dutch speed-skaters on day one, Norway became the second country to lock out the podium in PyeongChang after they bagged all three medals during the men’s 15km Skiathlon Cross County race.
Despite taking a tumble during the first minute of the race, Simen Hegstad Krueger recovered to take gold thanks to a strong break over the final lap which he maintained to the finish line. Martin Johnsrud Sundby held off the challenge of Hans Christer Holund to take silver, with Britain’s Andrew Musgrave producing an excellent performance to finish seventh.
In the freestyle events, Perrine Laffont secured France’s first medal of the Olympics with a gold in the women’s Moguls, while 17-year-old Redmond Gerard from the United States scored 87.16 in the final round of the men’s Slopestyle final to beat the Canadian duo of Max Parrot and Mark McMorris into the minor medals.