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Updated: February 19, 2010 18:20 IST

Lysacek topples Plushenko

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USA's Evan Lysacek poses on the podium after winning the gold medal in the men's free program figure skating at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.
AP USA's Evan Lysacek poses on the podium after winning the gold medal in the men's free program figure skating at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

Evan Lysacek of the United States upset defending champion Evgeni Plushenko for the men’s figure skating title while Canada captured a third gold medal and Norway enjoyed a biathlon double at the Winter Olympics.

Meanwhile Maria Riesch of Germany captured the women’s super combined as alpine skiing downhill champion Lindsey Vonn crashed out in the slalom section.

Elsewhere there was a first snowboard gold for Australia while the highly-fancied Canadian ice hockey team squeezed to a sudden death shoot-out 3-2 victory over Switzerland.

The day’s medal action ended with a firework at Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum where world champion Lysacek upset Russian Plushenko’s hopes of back-to-back Olympic golds.

Plushenko had led from the short programme but while others fell or made mistakes, Lysacek thrilled the crowd with a perfect performance to leave Plushenko with the silver and Japan’s Daisuke Takahashi with the bronze.

Lysacek became the first American since Brian Boitano in 1998 to win the event. For Plushenko, who also won silver at Salt Lake City in 2002, it was a third successful Olympic medal.

At Whistler Creekside, ski queen Vonn’s hopes of two golds in as many days went when she straddled a gate in the slalom run of the super combined after she had led the downhill run.

It left Riesch, the slalom world champion, celebrating her first Olympic medal, while Vonn’s teammate Julia Mancuso was again a surprise silver following her second place in the downhill, and Anja Paerson of Sweden bounced back from Wednesday’s downhill crash to win bronze.

The biathlon belonged to Norway where Tora Berger won the women’s biathlon 15-kilometres race for the nation’s 100th overall gold at Winter Olympics.Elena Khrustaleva gave Kazakhstan a first medal in the sport, a silver, while Darya Domracheva took bronze for Belarus.

Emil Hegle Svendsen followed up for Norway by piping his former mentor Ole Einar Bjoerndalen for a first Olympic gold medal in the men’s 20-kilometres race. Bjoerndalen shared silver with Sergey Novikov of Belarus.

Bjoerndalen, 36, now has 10 career Olympic medals (five gold, four silver and one bronze), a feat only three others have achieved in the 86-year history of the Winter Games: cross-country skiers Bjoern Daehlie of Norway (8-4-0), Raisa Smetanina of the Soviet Union (4-5-1) and Stefania Belmondo of Italy (2-3-5).

Christine Nesbitt thrilled home fans at Richmond Olympic Oval by winning the 1,000-metres women’s speed skating. Nesbitt edged Annette Gerritsen of the Netherlands by 0.02 seconds, with Laurine van Riessen capturing bronze for the Dutch.

It was Canada’s third gold of the Games after men’s moguls and women’s snowboard cross victories.

“Today really I didn’t have a great race, physically I could feel I wasn’t skating well. But I just kept going until the end and it paid off,” Nesbitt said.

Torah Bright of Australia fended off the favoured Americans to clinch the gold medal in women’s snowboard, her country’s first snowboard gold.

Bright, 23, fell on the first run of the finals in Cypress Mountain but recovered to edge out the Americans Hannah Teter and Kelly Clark.

Heavy gold medal ice hockey favourites Canada needed a sudden death shootout to beat the Swiss 3-2 in Pool A. The win came exactly four years to the day that Switzerland beat Canada 2-0 at the 2006 Turin Olympics.

A shootout win is worth two points compared to three for a regulation victory. It means Canada (5 points) now have a must-win game against USA (6 points) on Sunday to reach the quarterfinals without needing an extra game in a newly added qualification round.

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