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Kim glides to gold, Canada win women\'s ice hockey

26 lutego, 2010

South Korean superstar Kim Yu-Na produced a flawless display to win the Olympic figure skating gold by a huge margin as Canada charged past the United States to take the women\'s ice hockey title.

Rookie German Viktoria Rebensburg, meanwhile, claimed her country\'s first Olympic giant slalom title in 54 years while Norway\'s Marit Bjoergen captured her third gold of the Vancouver Games in the women\'s 4x5km cross-country relay.

With the closing ceremony on Sunday, Germany, the United States and Canada are tied at the top of the medals table on eight gold as the race to be the best heats up.

The day belonged to Kim, 19, who won South Korea\'s first ever figure skating gold as she lived up to her star billing with a stunning performance.

The reigning world champion skated to Gershwin\'s "Concerto in F" to win by a massive 23-point margin on her nearest challenger Mao Asada of Japan.

After already setting a world record in the short programme, she demolished her own free skate and overall record marks, achieving 150.06 points for the routine and an overall total of 228.56.

Canada\'s Joannie Rochette claimed bronze as she bravely competed just four days after the death of her mother Therese from a heart attack in Vancouver.

"I can\'t believe this day has finally come for me," said Kim.

"I still can\'t believe the score that I received, I\'m really surprised. It\'s almost as close as the men\'s score."

Asada, the only woman to have defeated Kim in the last two years, said her performance had been inconsistent.

"To complete both triple-axels well at the Olympics was one good thing about my performance. But I am not happy with the rest of it. I have regrets but it was a great experience for me," said Asada.

With the hosts\' superstar men\'s ice hockey team safely into the semi-finals, it was the Canadian women\'s turn to grab the spotlight as they defeated the US 2-0 for their third consecutive Olympic crown.

Marie-Philip Poulin scored twice in the first period and goaltender Shannon Szabados made 28 saves leaving the reigning world champions to settle for silver medal while Finland took the bronze with an 3-2 overtime triumph against Sweden.

"We stuck together, believed in ourselves and everyone played hard," said Canada forward Hayley Wickenheiser.

"It\'s so special -- just to win on home ice, the crowd and family."

Rebensburg, in her Olympic debut, sprung a huge surprise to upset the field and capture the weather-affected giant slalom ahead of Slovenia\'s Tina Maze and overnight leader Elisabeth Goergl of Austria.

"I have had a look at the medal table," said the 20-year-old, whose previous best finish on the elite World Cup circuit was a second in this season\'s giant slalom in Cortina.

"I\'m happy to have contributed a medal to that. It\'s cool - pretty awesome."

The race went ahead without American speed queen Lindsay Vonn who broke a finger in the first leg, but she said she would race through the pain barrier in the final women\'s alpine event, the slalom, on Friday.

Bjoergen added to her country\'s golden haul by anchoring her team to the women\'s 4x5km cross-country relay title with Germany second and Finland third.

She had already won the sprint classic final and the pursuit, as well picking up a bronze in the 10km free, and said it was beyond her wildest dreams.

"I didn\'t dream I would get one gold medal (before the Games) and now I have three, so this has been wonderful," she said.

In the men\'s nordic combined, Olympic veteran Bill Demong capped an impressive showing by the United States by winning gold ahead of teammate Johnny Spillane and Austria\'s Bernhard Gruber.

Demong became the States\' first ever Olympic champion in the sport which combines ski jump and cross country skiing.

On Cypress Mountain, Alexei Grishin of Belarus upset the powerful Chinese contingent to seal the men\'s aerials gold -- his country\'s first medal of the Games and their first Winter gold ever.

Amercian Jeret Peterson took silver ahead of favourite Liu Zhongqing of China.