Swiss ski-jumper Simon Ammann of Switzerland clinched the first gold medal of the Vancouver Olympics on Saturday while hosts Canada were still waiting for that elusive home gold.
Dutch speed skater Sven Kramer set an Olympic record, the “wrong” South Korean Lee — Lee Jung-Su and not Lee Ho-Suk — claimed short track gold and surprise biathlete Anastastiya Kuzmina won a first ever Winter Games gold for Slovakia.
The men’s luge went ahead after some track modifications following the death in training the previous day of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili.
But men’s alpine skiing downhill was a victim at slushy Whistler Mountains as poor weather continued to be a headache for the organizers.
The race was postponed until Monday while the women’s super combined was pushed back from Sunday to Thursday.
“It is the winter Games and they are subject to the whims of the weather,” said Renee Smith-Valade, vice president of communications for the organizing committee.
Despite pouring rain and gusty winds, the women’s moguls went ahead at the Cypress Mountain venue north of Vancouver, with American Hannah Kearney putting together the run of her life to deny Jenn Heiand l Canada a first Olympic gold on home soil.
“Of course I wanted gold, but I won silver,” said the 2006 winner Heil.
“I feel for her but I wanted that medal as well,” said Kearney, who as top favourite and reigning world champion failed to qualify for the final in 22nd place four years ago.
There was better news for Canada in the ice hockey rink where the team crushed Slovakia 18-0 for the biggest win in women’s ice hockey Olympic history.
International Olympic Committee president (IOC) Jacques Rogge saw Ammann clinch his third career ski jumping gold for Switzerland ahead of Poland’s Adam Malysz and Austria’s Gregor Schlierenzauer on the normal hill.
Ammann won with 105m and a hill record 108m, eight years after his 2002 double as a nobody.
“It is unbelievable that eight years later I am back here, with a lot of energy and confidence and strength. I was ready,” he said.