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The memories will live on

Updated: 2014-02-25 07:31
( China Daily)

The memories will live on

The Sochi Games will long be remembered for the good, the bad and the ugly. From the spectacular triumphs of Victor Ahn and Vic Wild - a South Korean short-track speedskater and an American snowboarder who took out Russian citizenship and won five gold medals between them - to the ongoing controversies over figure skating judging and deplorable course conditions in skiing and snowboarding that compromised competitor safety. Among many other notables were the following:

Winners ...

Jumping into history

After years of lobbying to be included in the Olympics women ski jumpers finally had their day in Sochi when the first Olympic competition was held.

When Sarah Hendrickson of the US sped down a snow-covered ramp and hurtled into the air at 90kph, a piece of Olympic history was made in the Russian mountains.

Ninety years after the first male ski-jumpers competed at a Winter Games, women were finally granted the chance to prove their mettle in one of the ultimate sporting tests of power, technique and sheer daring.

The memories will live on

Steve Holcomb

US four-man bobsled pilot Holcomb finished with a bronze medal on Sunday, but just being in Sochi was an achievement.

Holcomb once survived a suicide attempt when in the depths of despair over his failing eyesight.Feeling isolated and guilty for potentially putting his teammates' lives in danger, the 2010 champion in Vancouver tried to end his life by washing down 73 pills with a bottle of whiskey ,but 12 hours later he woke up.

"Why it hadn't worked, I didn't know. It was a miracle," he was quoted as saying by Sports Illustrated. "It was a second chance. I needed to seize every moment. I had to do something in life."

Over 40s

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, 40, set a record by reaching a total of 13 medals at the Winter Olympics, while equaling Norwegian cross-country skiing compatriot Bjoern Daehlie's record haul of eight golds.

The plus-40s club thrived in Sochi, with Russia's Albert Demchenko, 42, taking two silvers n the men's luge and Jamaican bobsleigh pilot Winston Watts defying his 46 years to compete in a fourth Olympics.

Finnish hockey star Teemu Selanne, 43, scored twice in his team's bronze medal win over the US and was selected the tournament's most valuable player, while Japan's Noriaki Kasai, 41, took silver in men's ski jumping.

& Losers

The memories will live on

Russian hockey team

They came, they saw, but they didn't conquer.

The host squad was lambasted after a 3-1 loss to Finland condemned them to a second successive Olympic Games quarterfinal exit.

"Well, eat me now. You'll eat me and I'll be gone," said Russian coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov. "But I will keep living."

Russia has not claimed a hockey gold medal since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

"It sucks," said star forward Alex Ovechkin, who is being paid $10 million this season by the NHL's Washington Capitals.

Dogs of Sochi

The decision by Sochi city authorities to cull the army of stray dogs roaming the area brought widespread condemnation. The dogs were everywhere, on the streets, outside venues, even breaking through the secure "Ring of Steel".

Athletes responded by adopting strays while animal rights activists even smuggled dogs out of the city.

Reputation of Russian builders

From rooms with no doors to falling mirrors to radiators and power sockets built 10 feet off the ground, Russia struggled to get accommodation ready on time.

Workers were busy putting the finishing touches to media buildings even as the Games started. A Twitter account, @sochiproblems, attracted nearly 350,000 followers.

10 magic moments

The memories will live on

1. wedded bliss

Russian snowboarder Vic Wild won gold in the men's parallel giant slalom just minutes after his wife Alena Zavarzina took bronze in the women's event.

"For both of us to have success on the same day is just incredible. I don't know how this happened, it's too good to be true," said Wild, who was granted Russian citizenship in 2012, a year after the couple were married.

2. Cool Runnings

Jamaica's laid-back bobsled team, whose predecessors once inspired the Hollywood smash hit "Cool Runnings", returned to the Olympics after a 12-year absence.

Despite vocal support from the crowd, pilot Winston Watts and brakeman Marvin Dixon finished second from the bottom at the Sochi sliding centre in their distinctive yellow, green and black sled.

3. Record breaker

Norwegian veteran biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen became the greatest ever Winter Olympian by taking a record 13th medal with gold in the mixed relay at Sochi.

The 40-year-old surpassed his compatriot, cross-country ski legend Bjoern Daehlie, who won 12 medals in his career.

Bjoerndalen has eight golds, equaling Daehlie's record.

4. Dutch delight

It wasn't so much a competition as a coronation for the Netherlands' speed skaters, who made off with 23 of the 36 medals up for grabs - including eight golds from 12 events.

"We have a lot of great skaters. There's a lot of high-level competition and that is why we keep improving," said Ireen Wust, who won five medals in Sochi.

5. Wacky weather

Competitors stripped down to T-shirts and shorts as the Games basked in glorious spring weather that forced some minor tinkering of ski schedules.

The snow suffered as temperatures nudged 20 C in the mountains. But it was dense fog that caused the biggest headache for organizers, forcing them to postpone some events.

6. Smashing time

US bobsled competitor Johnny Quinn became an instant Internet sensation after he smashed through his jammed bathroom door, with a picture of his handiwork going viral.

Just two days later the accident-prone competitor found himself stuck in an elevator on a media tour of the US networks to explain how he had managed to smash the gaping hole in the bathroom door.

7. Sister act

The three Canadian Dufour-Lapointe sisters took sibling rivalry to a new level in the final of the women's moguls competition, where the youngest, Justine, 19, won gold.

"My sister is my best friend and believe it or not, we don't have a rivalry," she said after beating Chloe, 22, into second place. Maxime, 25, finished 12th.

8. Spirit of the Games

Canadian coach Justin Wadsworth showed the true spirit of the Olympics by handing a replacement ski to Russian cross country skier Anton Gafarov, who had broken his in a crash.

"It is just the essence of the Olympic Games, the Olympic spirit, in its core. I think that is great," said Sochi 2014 representative Alexandra Kosterina.

9. Gold for grieving Ukraine

With their country wracked by violence, Ukraine raced to gold in the women's team biathlon relay, dedicating their inspirational performance to a nation in grief.

The president of Ukraine's Olympic Committee, former pole vault great Sergey Bubka, said the victory could help unite his country and bring peace after deadly clashes between security forces and protesters.

10. Ski cross scramble

It was undignified but effective. Russia's Egor Korotkov snatched a place in the men's ski cross semifinals in a photo finish after a three-way tumble for the line.

Korotkov's arm-stretch proved decisive as he slid across on his on his side, edging out Sweden's Victor Oehling Norberg and Jouni Pellinen of Finland, who were on their backs.

(China Daily 02/25/2014 page24)