VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Aksel Lund Svindal flashed down Whistler mountain to win the men’s super-G Friday and deny American Bode Miller an elusive gold medal at the Winter Olympics as Norway stormed up the medals table.
Svindal’s countrywoman Marit Bjoergen then became the first competitor to win two gold medals in Vancouver when she won the lung-bursting 15 kilometer cross-country pursuit after taking the sprint classic two days ago.
Svindal added a gold to the silver medal he won in the downhill earlier in the week after a superb run down the icy mountain slope that took him to the finish line in one minute 30.34 seconds.
Miller, a multiple world champion who has never won an Olympic gold, had to settle for a silver medal, his third at the Olympics, after crossing the line 0.28 seconds slower than the Norwegian.
The pair were joined on the podium by American Andrew Weibrecht, who came third, on a day when diplomatic relations between some of the competing countries turned frosty.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin weighed into the bitter dispute between Yevgeny Plushenko and his American conqueror Evan Lysacek by declaring the Russian’s silver medal as a gold in his eyes.
Plushenko said he did not regard Lysacek as a worthy winner because he was unable to perform a quadruple jump but the American was unimpressed by the former champion’s rant.
“I was a little disappointed that someone who was my role model would take a hit at me in probably one of the most special moments of my life,” Lysacek said.
For their part, the U.S. team accused Britain’s Amy Williams of having illegal aerodynamic features on the helmet she used to break the skeleton track record at the Whistler Sliding Center but their complaints were rejected by the International Bobsleigh Federation.
The International Ski Federation also dismissed an Austrian complaint about the boot bindings used by Swiss ski jumping champion Simon Ammann as the two rival nations traded insults.
Williams was the leader of the women’s skeleton after Thursday’s first two runs down the lightening-fast track. The medals were to be decided Friday after the third and fourth runs.
Williams held a 0.30 second advantage over Germany’s Kerstin Szymkowiak while Noelle Pikus-Pace was the highest-placed American in fifth spot.
Latvia’s Martins Dukurs was the halfway leader in the men’s event, which would also be completed Friday evening.
Sweden’s Anna Haag won the silver medal behind Bjoergen and Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk took the bronze in the women’s cross country but it was the men’s Super-G that captured most attention.
The race had a lengthy delay when Sweden’s Patrik Jaerbyn crashed heavily on the upper part of the slope. The 40-year-old, competing in his fifth Olympics, was taken by helicopter to hospital suffering mild concussion and bruises to his face.
Several others crashed out on the icy Dave Murray piste, including Canadian hopes Manuel Osborne-Paradis and Robbie Dixon.
The victories by Svindal and Bjoergen lifted Norway’s gold medal count in Vancouver to five, midway through the seventh full day of competition.
Only the U.S. with six golds, had more. Germany was third with four while Canada, South Korea and Switzerland had three each.
Editing by Jon Bramley