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15 Feb, 2010 06:30

Canada claim first Olympic gold on home soil

It was not the best of Sundays for Russia at the Winter Olympics as they failed to win a medal on day three. But for the hosts, St Valentines Day, 2010, will go down as the finest in Canadian Games history.

On Sunday, Canada finally claimed their first-ever gold on home soil. Alexandre Bilodeau did the honors in the men's mogul event. Defending champion, Vancouver-born Dale Begg-Smith of Australia, finished a close second, while Bryon Wilson of the US was third, followed by Canadians Vincent Marquis and Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau.

Canada failed to clinch a top podium place during their two previous attempts at home – the summer games in Montreal in 1976 and the winter games a dozen years later in Calgary.

Meanwhile, there was a shock winner in the men's biathlon sprint.

Frenchman Vincent Jay sprang out of nowhere to win the 10-kilometer race, mainly thanks to his perfect aim on the shooting ranges, as well as to a shower of sleet and gusts of wind, which spoiled the race for the favorites.

Croat Jacob Fatch was also flawless, but had to settle for bronze behind Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway, who missed one shot.

Russia's best in the race, Ivan Cherezov could only finish tenth.

And there was more success for the French team, as they clinched their second gold medal on the day in the individual Nordic Combined.

Jason Lamy Chappuis won the 10km cross-country, despite starting from 5th following the ski jumping part of the event.

American Johnny Spillane and Italian Alessandro Pittin took silver and bronze respectively.

Over at the Richmond Olympic Oval, the women's 3,000-meter speed skating event was interrupted midway through due to a problem with the ice.

The top spot eventually went to Czech Martina Sablikova, who finished comfortably ahead of the silver medalist, Stephanie Beckert of Germany. Canada settled for a bronze from Kristina Groves.