News / Europe

Swiss Snowboarder Pulls off Big Upset in Sochi

Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov (l) celebrates with Shaun White of the United States after Podladtchikov won the gold medal in the men's snowboard halfpipe final in Sochi, Feb 11, 2014.
Switzerland's Iouri Podladtchikov (l) celebrates with Shaun White of the United States after Podladtchikov won the gold medal in the men's snowboard halfpipe final in Sochi, Feb 11, 2014.
Mike Richman
The fourth day of competition at the Sochi Olympics Tuesday saw one of the biggest upsets at this year's Winter Games.

Swiss snowboarder Iouri Podladtchikov finished first in the men's halfpipe, depriving heavy favorite Shaun White, an American, of his third straight Olympic gold medal.

Japan's Ayumu Hirano and Taku Hiraoka won the silver and bronze, while White's fourth-place finish left him off the medals podium.

In Olympic events debuting in Sochi, Canada's Dara Howell and Germany's Carina Vogt made history.  Howell took the gold in women's slopestyle skiing, and Vogt did so in the women's ski jump competition.

Winner Canada's Dara Howell (R) celebrates with the Canadian flag as compatriot and third-placed Kim Lamarre looks on after the women's freestyle skiing slopestyle finals at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor, Feb. 11, 2014.Winner Canada's Dara Howell (R) celebrates with the Canadian flag as compatriot and third-placed Kim Lamarre looks on after the women's freestyle skiing slopestyle finals at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor, Feb. 11, 2014.
x
Winner Canada's Dara Howell (R) celebrates with the Canadian flag as compatriot and third-placed Kim Lamarre looks on after the women's freestyle skiing slopestyle finals at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor, Feb. 11, 2014.
Winner Canada's Dara Howell (R) celebrates with the Canadian flag as compatriot and third-placed Kim Lamarre looks on after the women's freestyle skiing slopestyle finals at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor, Feb. 11, 2014.
Howell was ecstatic after her victory.

"That really hasn't hit me yet," she said.  "You know, that will go down in history!  I'm so proud to represent my country, and that's huge for Canada.  I'm happy to bring home another gold medal to Canada."

Norway, Germany Find Gold

Germany and Norway each won two gold medals Tuesday.

Vogt's teammate, Natalie Geisenberger, finished first in women's luge singles.

Two of Norway's Nordic skiers captured gold.  Ola Vigen Hattestad won the men's cross-country sprint, and Maiken Caspersen Fallas did likewise in the women's event.

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

South Korea's Lee Sang-hwa finished first in women's 500-meter speedskating, setting two Olympic records in the process.

Norway, Canada and Germany are now tied for the most gold medals with four.  Norway leads Canada in the overall medal count, 11-9, followed by the Netherlands with eight.

Sochi Unseasonably Warm

Meanwhile, Olympic officials discussed the spell of warm weather that has affected events in Sochi.

Athletes have voiced concerns that melting and soft snow is hampering their ability to compete.  On Tuesday, a training session for Alpine skiing downhill was canceled to protect the snow, while mild weather conditions meant a slushy track in Nordic Combined.

The head of the Sochi Olympics, Dmitry Chernyshenko, said there is no need yet to use emergency snow reserves at mountain venues.

"You know that we had a special program to secure the snow, and the snow is still in some reservoirs that survived over the previous summer," Chernyshenko said.  "So in case we will need some snow we can use it from our reservoir."  

In Sochi, a Black Sea resort city with a subtropical climate, the average February temperatures are around 10 degrees Celsius.  But on Monday, the high was about 16, and after a brief cool down, they could return to the mid-teens on Thursday.

Those conditions have put Sochi on track to be the warmest Winter Olympics in history.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More