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Swiss, Belarusian Athletes Win Second Gold Medals in Sochi

Athletes from Switzerland and Belarus each captured their second gold medals at the Sochi Winter Olympics Friday.

Switzerland's Dario Cologna, skiing in short sleeves on another warm and sunny day in Sochi, was outstanding in the men's cross-country 15-kilometer classic. Sweden's Johan Olsson took silver, while Cologna's teammate, Daniel Richardson, won bronze.

Cologna also won the 30-kilometer skiathlon in Sochi.

In the women's individual 15-kilometer biathlon, Darya Domracheva of Belarus finished first with a dominant showing of her own. Switzerland's Selina Gasparin took silver and Nadezhda Skardino, also of Belarus, earned bronze.

Domracheva earlier won the women's 10-kilometer biathlon pursuit, becoming the first female Belarusian to capture a Winter Olympic gold.

Another Swiss skier, Sandro Viletta, pulled off a surprise first-place finish in the highly anticipated men's supercombined, which consists of one downhill run and one slalom run. Croatia's Ivica Kostelic earned the silver and Italy's Christof Innerhofer took bronze.

In other medals events, Britain claimed its first gold, as Elizabeth Yarnold took first in women's skeleton, beating Noelle Pikus-Pace of the United States and Russia's Elena Nikitina. Also, Alla Tsuper of Belarus soared high into the sky to win the women's freestyle skiing aerials.



The men's figure skating competition is taking place Friday without Russian skating star Yevgeny Plushenko, who withdrew after injuring his back in warmups Thursday. Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu is currently in the lead after setting a new world record score in the short program Thursday. He leads three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Canada.

In men's hockey Friday, shorthanded Sweden defeated Switzerland, 1-0, to remain undefeated at 2-0. Sweden's Daniel Alfredsson scored with 7:21 left and goalie Henrik Lundqvist had a 26-save shutout.

Sweden announced before the game that captain Henrik Zetterberg will miss the rest of the tournament because of a herniated disk, taking a third key player off their roster.

In men's curling Friday, China and Britain won close games to create a three-way tie with Sweden at the top of the standings.

Meanwhile, Olympic officials said they have sold more than one million tickets for the Sochi games. The announcement came a day after the Russian men's hockey team debuted in Sochi, helping push the number over the top.

A record 106,000 fans packed into Olympic Park on Thursday, as Russia beat Slovenia 5-2 in hockey.

The head of the Sochi Olympic Organizing Committee, Dmitry Chernyshenko, praised Russian fans for their hospitality.



"The Russian fans are taking every nation into their hearts, not only for the Russian team but also cheering and greeting athletes from all around the world, and in turn we are having an electric atmosphere in the stadium."



The executive director of the International Olympic Committee, Gilbert Felli, echoed Chernyshenko's thoughts.



"For me the atmosphere's great. I never so surprised the first day I went to the competition venue in slopestyle. Russia, where they knew they had no chance to make a medal, that medals are going to made by the Americans, and you could see the Russians applauding and the kids there and yelling and everything, you said, 'Here, we can see the magic of the games are at play.' "



Norway and the United States are tied in the overall medal count with 13, followed by Russia and the Netherlands with 12. Canada and Germany have 10 each. Germany has a leading seven gold medals, two ahead of Switzerland.
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