Bode Miller collected his first Olympic gold medal and his third medal of the Vancouver Games and there was more joy for the United States on Sunday when the ice hockey team stunned hosts Canada 5-3 in a deciding group match.
Germany got double gold on the day when Magdalena Neuner captured a second biathlon victory, and Andre Lange dominated the two-man bobsleigh to be the best Olympian in the sport with four golds.
Russia’s Evgeny Ustyogov clinched the men’s biathlon mass start race, Michael Schmid of Switzerland claimed the first gold medal in ski cross on its Olympic debut and Ireen Wust won the women’s 1,500m speed skating again for the Netherlands.
The US top the medal table with seven gold, seven silver and 10 bronze after 50 of 86 events from Germany (6-7-5) and Norway (5-3-4).
Miller won the men’s super combined when downhill portion leader Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway failed to complete the slalom run.
“I was kind of on fumes. It was mentally and emotionally exhausting to do that after years and years of not doing it,” Miller said.
The American, who had won silver in the super-G silver and bronze in the downhill, now has five Olympic medals along with his 2002 silvers in the giant slalom and combined.
Ivica Kostelic of Croatia defended his silver super combined medal from 2006 Turin by finishing 0.33 seconds behind Miller. The bronze medal went to Switzerland’s Silvan Zurbriggen.
The super-G gold medallist and downhill silver medal winner Svindal won the downhill portion but straddled a gate in the slalom.
A few hours later Brian Rafalski scored two goals and Ryan Miller made 42 saves as the United States reached the ice hockey quarterfinals with the stunning 5-3 over gold medal favourites Canada.
Canada outshot the US 45-22 but must now go through an extra game against Germany to make the quarters where Russia would wait.
Rafalski scored the first of his two goals just 41 seconds into the game and Ryan Kesler hit an empty net goal with 44.7 seconds to play in shocking the crowd at Vancouver’s Canada Hockey Place on a day bill in Canada as “Super Sunday.” “I’m just trying to build my resume. I’m just trying to chip away and get us to that medal round,” said Miller.
Earlier, world champions Russia beat the Czech Republic 4-2 while Olympic champions Sweden were due to play Finland late Sunday.
Canada got a little redemption when Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir moved top of the ice dancing standings after the compulsory and original dance. Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the US are second and Russian world champions Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin third into the free programme on Monday night.
The German biathlon queen Neuner, 23, overtook Russian Olga Zaitseva shortly after the final shooting portion to win the 12.5-kilometres mass start race. Zaitseva salvaged silver ahead of German Simone Hauswald.
Neuner had earlier won pursuit gold and sprint silver at Whistler Olympic Park and is the best decorated athlete so far at the Games.
Ustyogov was flawless in the shooting range to claim a first Olympic gold for Russia’s biathlon men in 16 years since Ivan Tchepikov won the sprint 1994 in Lillehammer. Ustyugov, 24, hit all 20 targets on his way to victory over the 15-kilometres distance. Martin Fourcade of France took silver and Pavol Hurajt of Slovakia bronze.
Ski cross made its Olympic debut at Cypress Mountain where Schmid controlled the men’s final, winning ahead of Andreas Matt of Austria and Audun Groenvold of Norway. There was disappointment for home fans whenCanada’s Christopher Delbosco crashed out while lying third.
In the bobsleigh, Lange and brakeman Kevin Kuske took the lead after the second run and never looked back en route to the historic win in their shiny blue bob at the Whistler Sliding Centre.
The silver also went to Germany from Thomas Flohrschuetz and Richard Adjei. Alexandr Zubkov and Alexey Voevoda claimed the first medal for Russia in the sport, a bronze. Lange, 36, won four-man gold in 2002 and a two and four-man double in 2006, with Kuske on all teams. No other bobsledder has won four Olympic golds.
In the Richmond Oval, Wust got the 1,500m gold four years after a 3,000m title. Canada’s Kristie Grovesled on split times but could not maintain the pace on the last lap and had to settle for silver ahead of Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic.
The Dutch have now equalled Norway’s record total of 80 overall Olympic speed skating medals and with 27 golds are only two behind the US speed skating gold tally.