Kim draws first blood, Canada takes revenge by Dave James | other | Hindustan Times
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Kim draws first blood, Canada takes revenge by Dave James

other Updated: Feb 24, 2010 15:33 IST

AFP
Highlight Story

South Korea world champion Kim Yu-Na drew first blood in the Asian glamour battle for Olympic Games figure skating gold on Tuesday as Canada restored its battered hockey pride and celebrated a new national heroine.

Kim scored 78.50 points - a new world mark - skating to a James Bond theme while fellow 19-year-old Mao Asada of Japan, the only woman to have defeated her in the last two years, finished the short programme in second spot, 4.72 points behind.

"Mao skated perfectly," said Kim, who followed her great rival onto the ice at the Pacific Coliseum. "I was a little worried but there was no pressure."

Former world champion Asada said: "This is the best short programme I have skated this year.

"I am feeling really good. I will try to stay calm and do my best in the free skating final on Thursday."

While the 11,700-strong crowd was enchanted by the two Asian stars, they were deeply moved when grieving Canadian skater Joannie Rochette broke down in tears after finishing her programme, just two days after her mother's death from a heart attack.

The world silver medallist, 24, said "Mamam" after finishing her routine which earned her 71.36 points and third place.

"It was hard to handle, but I appreciate the support," said a sobbing Rochette after she received a standing ovation.

After their bitter disappointment at losing to arch-rival the United States, Canada's star-studded ice hockey team took their frustration out on Germany in a 8-2 rout.

It put them through to a glamour quarter-final against mighty Russia, while Switzerland reached a last eight clash with the US after beating Belarus 3-2.

"It's something everybody has been talking about since before the Olympics," said Canada star Sidney Crosby, who will face Russian playmaker Alex Ovechkin.

"It's a quarter-final. We've got a tough game. It's going to be intense."

Defeat on Wednesday will mean the end of the road for the highly-fancied Canadians and Russia are determined to turn the screw.

"It's a big game for us so we've got to go play our best," Russian forward Sergei Fedorov said. "It's going to be crazy. The fans will cheer for Canada. They will get great support."

In the remaining two play-offs for quarter-final spots, the Czech Republic beat Latvia 3-2 and will face Finland while Slovakia edged Norway 4-3 and will tackle defending champion Sweden for a semi-final spot.

Up in Whistler, Swiss 'Iceman' Carlo Janka upstaged Bode Miller to win the giant slalom.

The US ski team have dominated the alpine events and reformed skiing bad boy Miller has been in a rich vein of form, but he crashed out on the first leg to blow his chance of a fourth Vancouver medal.

Janka, the world champion who led after the first leg, made the most of the American's misfortune to take the title in a combined total of 2min 37.83sec over the two runs down the Dave Murray course.

Norwegian duo Kjetil Jansrud and Aksel Lund Svindal took silver and bronze respectively.

"It was perfect for me, the snow was hard but not icy, good grip, perfect conditions," said Janka, known as 'Iceman' for his lack of emotion.

There was bitter disappointment at Richmond Oval, where Sven Kramer was sensationally disqualified after coming over the line first in the 10,000m speed skating final.

The Dutchman, who won 5,000m gold last week, was four seconds clear of second placed Korean Lee Seung-Hoon but a lane infringement cost him the title.

He blamed his coach Gerard Kemkers.

"I wanted to go on the outer lane then just before the cone Gerard shouted 'inner lane.' I thought he's probably right and went to the inner lane," he said.

"This really sucks. This is a real expensive mistake."

Russia's Olga Medvedtseva and Olga Zaitseva, meanwhile, won the women's relay biathlon gold while Austria clinched the Nordic Combined team competition.

On Cypress Mountain, Canada's Ashleigh McIvor won the first ever women's ski cross title, ahead of Norway's Hedda Berntsen and France's Marion Josserand in an event making its Olympic debut.