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Merrimack Valley

February 15, 2014

Switzerland and Japan are big winners at Sochi Olympics

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — A pair of skiers from Switzerland collected gold medals at the Sochi Games on Friday, and a teenager from Japan overcame a pair of falls to become the first Asian man to win an Olympic title in men’s figure skating.

With competitors seeking relief from the unusually warm weather on the mountain trails, Swiss skiers earned gold in the men’s super-combined and the men’s classical-style 15-kilometer cross-country race. The haul gave the Swiss five golds, only two behind Germany.

Sandro Viletta stunned the favorites to win the super-combined. Two of the favorites, defending gold medalist Bode Miller and world champion Ted Ligety, failed to win a medal.

Dario Cologna added the other gold for Switzerland and his second of the games, winning the sweat-drenched 15K race.

Cologna, who had ankle surgery in November, won the 30K skiathlon on Sunday.

In figure skating, 19-year-old Yuzuru Hanyu claimed the men’s title, one day after Russian great Evgeni Plushenko withdrew from the Olympics because of injury.

Hanyu made a bid to take Plushenko’s mantle when he became the first skater to score more than 100 points in the men’s short program on Thursday. On the final night of the men’s competition, however, all three medalists had flawed performances.

Plushenko, who won gold in the team competition at the start of the Sochi Games, came under criticism at home about his decision to drop out, leaving Russia without a contestant in the men’s finals. The outburst prompted President Vladimir Putin to come to his defense.

“He really does have a big problem with his health,” Putin said, according to Russian news agencies.

On Day 8 of the Sochi Games, three other sports awarded medals: biathlon, freestyle skiing and skeleton.

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