Winter Olympics: Lazutina finds path to gold through snow

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The Independent Online
The Olympics suffered another confrontation with the weather yesterday as Russia emerged on top, winning its second women's cross-country gold and setting a medal milestone in the fresh snow.

Some skiing favourites lost their balance, but Larissa Lazutina braved a snowstorm on the cross-country course to win the five-kilometre race and become the Games' first double-medallist, edging out Katerina Neumannova, of the Czech Republic.

Lazutina won silver in the 15km on Sunday. It also was the 100th gold medal for Russia and the former Soviet Union since first entering the Winter Games in 1956.

In the inaugural women's snowboard giant slalom, many contenders fell or slipped off the course, hampered by poor visibility and treacherous conditions on a hardened course dusted with fresh snow. But France's Karine Ruby, the favourite, mastered the bumpy course and took a big lead after the first of two runs.

The women's super-G was postponed yesterday, adding at least another day before an Alpine medal would be awarded. "You want snow because it's a winter event, but it's like 'We've got enough now, thank you'," said the US skier, Picabo Street, a favourite to take a medal here.

The International Olympic Committee remained unfazed. "There is nothing abnormal or unusual. The Games are held on snow and ice," the IOC spokeswoman Michele Verdier said.

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