SOCHI, Russia — The most decorated country in Winter Olympic history earned four more medals Tuesday.
Norway won double gold in the cross-country freestyle sprints, and picked up silver medals in the women’s sprint and the women’s 10-kilometer biathlon pursuit. That gave the Norwegians the medal lead as the games concluded their fifth day, and pushed their overall total to 317 since the Winter Olympics began in 1924.
The United States saw several of its best hopes evaporate, including Shaun White, the flamboyant snowboarder who was dethroned by Iouri Podladtchikov.
Another U.S. gold medal prospect, cross-country skier Kikkan Randall, was eliminated in the qualifying rounds of the women’s freestyle sprint. Maiken Caspersen Falla of Norway took the gold in that race with teammate Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg earning silver.
Ola Vigen Hattestad captured the men’s sprint title in a race marred by a three-skier collision. Emil Joensson of Sweden, who had all but given up earlier in the race, grabbed the bronze after Sergey Ustiugov of Russia, Marcus Hellner of Sweden and Anders Gloeersen of Norway were involved in a crash that left them sprawled across the course.
Soft snow caused a number of spills throughout the day.
WOMEN’S CROSS-COUNTRY FREESTYLE SPRINT: Maiken Caspersen Falla led a Norwegian double to take gold.
Despite prerace favorite Marit Bjoergen going out in the semifinals, Norway still took the top two spots as Falla proved strongest in the final and Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg narrowly beat Vesna Fabjan of Slovenia in a photo finish for the silver.
WOMEN’S HOCKEY: The rather predictable tournament settled on all the teams advancing to the next round. Russia gained a quarterfinal spot with a 2-1 win over Japan and Sweden did the same with a 4-0 win over Germany. The teams will play Thursday to determine which team is seeded higher.
SPEEDSKATING: Lee Sang-hwa of South Korea won a second consecutive gold medal in the women’s 500 meters. She not only had the fastest times in both races but set an Olympic record in the second race (37.28 seconds). Olga Fatkulina of Russia and Margot Boer of the Netherlands won silver and bronze.
Heather Richardson was the highest U.S. finisher in eighth.
BIATHLON: Darya Domracheva of Belarus took home the gold in the women’s 10-kilometer pursuit race. Tora Berger of Norway got second and Teja Gregorin of Slovenia took third.
The highest U.S. finisher was Susan Dunklee in 18th. Sara Studebaker (51st) and Annelies Cook (54th) also competed.
FIGURE SKATING: Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov took the lead in the pairs competition after the short program, putting them in position to win another figure skating gold medal for Russia.
The reigning world champions scored 84.17 points, 4.53 ahead of Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany. Fellow Russians Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov were third.
WOMEN’S SKI JUMPING: Carina Vogt of Germany scored 247.4 points to win the sport’s first Olympic gold medal.
Daniela Iraschko-Stolz of Austria took silver and Coline Mattell of France earned bronze. Sara Takanashi of Japan, the World Cup leader in the sport and heavy favorite heading into the Sochi Games, was a disappointing fourth.
Sarah Hendrickson, the 19-year-old defending world champion from Park City, Utah, finished 21st of 30 starters, clearly still affected by right knee surgery she underwent in August. Although she showed improved form, she plans to take the rest of the season off.
WOMEN’S LUGE: Leaving no doubt that she absolutely rules her sport, Natlie Geisenberger of Germany won the gold medal, posting the second-largest victory margin in Olympic history. Her final time was 3 minutes, 19.768 seconds, 1.139 seconds better than German teammate Tatjana Huefner, the 2010 gold medalist.
Erin Hamlin finished third, grabbing the first medal for any American singles luge athlete at the Olympics, 50 years after luge first appeared at the games.
SLOPESTYLE SKIING: Dara Howell of Canada won gold with a score of 94.20, trouncing the rest of the field, and Kim Lamarre earned bronze to give the Canadians seven medals in four days of snowboarding and freestyle skiing, including three events in which they took two of the top three spots. Devin Logan of the United States took silver.
Canada’s big day was tempered by teammate Yuki Tsubota’s crash on the slushy snow. She was carried off the mountain on a stretcher with a possible fractured jaw.
WOMEN’S CURLING: Britain scored an Olympic-record seven points in one end on the way to a 12-3 win over the United States.
The defeat left the U.S. 0-3, having lost 9-6 to Russia in the morning session, and the American men and women are a combined 0-5.