Simon Ammann of Switzerland bagged his second ski jump gold medal of the Games and a place in the Olympic record books while Austria’s Andrea Fischbacher left favourite Lindsey Vonn trailing in the women’s super-g on Saturday.
Four more short track medals including a gold went to South Korea, while China were also short track winners, Sweden won a cross-country gold and there was a victory for the Netherlands in speed skating.
At the half-way mark, there was praise for the Games from Olympic officials including International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge in an interview with DPA.
Ammann, 28, leapt to an overwhelming victory on the large hill at Whistler to become the first jumper to win four individual gold medals and the first to achieve a normal and large hill double twice at a single Games.
Adam Malysz of Poland missed out on his first Olympic gold again, taking his third career silver — all behind Ammann — while Austrian Gregor Schlierenzauer earned a second bronze of the Games.
Ammann won the first double in 2002 and set the stage for his second by winning on the Whistler normal hill last Saturday.
Matti Nykaenen of Finland also won four golds in the 1980s, but one of then was a team gold. Nykaenen is the only other jumper to get a normal and large hill double at the Olympics, in 1988.
Alpine powerhouse Austria finally grabbed its first Olympic gold of the 2010 Games when Fischbacher took the women’s super-g.
“I knew I could go fast in the super-g and that I could win a gold medal. But everything had to be perfect. And I was feeling really great,” said Fischbacher.
Tina Maze of Slovenia grabbed the nation’s first ever alpine silver medal, finishing 0.49 seconds behind Fischbacher. Vonn had set the fastest time but both Fischbacher and Maze went better.
Mark Tuitert of the Netherlands edged out Shani Davis of the United States to win the 1,500-metres men’s speed skating gold at the Richmond Olympic Oval, with Norway’s Harvard Bokko third.
Elsewhere, Marcus Hellner claimed the 30-kilometres cross-country skiing pursuit gold for Sweden ahead of Germany’s Tobias Angerer and fellow Swede Johan Olsson.
Lee Jung-Su continued South Korea’s domination in the 1,000m men’s short track while Apolo Anton Ohno won bronze to become the most decorated US athlete at winter Games.
Three-time Olympic medallist from 2006 Lee Ho-Suk finished just behind his Korean teammate to capture the silver medal.
Ohno’s bronze was his seventh Olympic medal, pushing him atop the all-time mark for US winter athletes. He had been even with Bonnie Blair with six medals.
China’s Zhou Yang prevented a Korean victory in the women’s 1,500m to claim her nation’s second short track gold of the Games. Zhou held off Lee Eun-Byul and fellow Korean Park Seung-Hi.
German favourite Andre Lange led the Olympic two-man bobsleigh competition after the first two runs while Canadian contender Lyndon Rush was among the latest crash victims.
Olympic officials meanwhile gave the organizers a glowing report as the Games reached the midway mark.
IOC president Rogge told DPA the Vancouver Olympics would always be remembered for the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili but the Games have been “absolutely brilliant” during the first week.
The death of Kumaritashvili in a training accident at Whistler on February 12, the day of the opening ceremony of the Games, was “of course something we will always remember,” he said.
But from the beginning of this week the Games had been “absolutely brilliant — first-class sport, warm supportive crowds, the city is a party all night and very high ratings worldwide on television.” He added: “We can be happy. If the second week is like the first one it will be very, very good Games.”