Canada unbeatable in medal standing

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Steve Holcomb steered the USA 1 to the American's first Olympic four-man bobsleigh triumph in 62 years at the Whistler Sliding center on Saturday, but it could not prevent Canada from leading the overall medal standings.

With the games approaching to its last minute, skaters and skiiers from host Canada had a gold rush, winning three gold from seven on offer on the penultimate day of the games through men's speed skating team pursuit, men's snowboard parallel giant slaom and men's curling.

In four-man bobsleigh, Holcomb and his crew held on to a comfortable lead in the third run down the track and cruised to become the first American quartet to win the gold in the showcase sliding event since 1948 in St Moritz, Switzerland. "Smokin" Francis Tyler won the last U.S. bob medal 62 years ago.

Andre Lange drove Germany 1, who was in third and 0.54 seconds trailing USA 1 after three runs, one place forward for the silver in the last heat, 0.38 seconds behind the winners.

Canada 1, with Lyndon Rush at the helm, was in second position, 0.45 seconds off the pace, before the fourth and final run, but faltered to a slim one hundredth second slower for the last place of podium.

Also on Whistler mountain, Giuliano Razzoli of Italy captured the first gold medal for Italy in men's Alpine skiing since 1992, wining the slalom in one minute 39.32 seconds.

The Italian skiier, fastest in the first run in the morning, only needed to be seventh fastest in the afternoon. The "Rocket" started 30th and scorched the field for the first gold medal in Alpine skiing for an Italian man since legendary Alberto Tomba won gold in giant slalom at the Albertville 1992 winter Olympics.

Ivica Kostelic of Croatia won his second silver of Vancouver games in 1:39.48 and Andre Myhrer of Sweden had the bronze ni 1:39.76 in the final Alpie skiing event of the games.

In women's 30km mass start classic event, Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland claimed her first Olympic title in a hard-fought race with Marit Bjoergen of Norway.

Throughout the race, Kowalczyk did battle with Bjoergen and with only 0.80km to go, she passed the Norwegian on a steep climb, forcing both to push hard to the end.

Only meters away from the finish line, Bjoergen switched from double poling to the classical stride wihiel Kowalczyk kept pace with her double poling and kick.

Kowalczyk made it first to the line by half a ski length with a time of one hour 30 minutes and 33.7 seconds. Bjoergen smiled at her opponent as she went over the line for the silver just 0.30 seconds later.

Aino-Kaisa Saarinen of Finland was third at 1:31:38.7.

In speed skating, Canada clinched the men's team pursuit gold with superb team work while Germany defended their women's team pursuit title by edging Japan in 0.02 seconds on the last day race in Richmond Olympic Oval.

In front of 6,761 home fans, the team of Canada, including Denny Morrison, Lucas Makowsky and Mathieu Giroux showed great team work and led all the way ahead of the United States to lift the men's team pursuit title in three minutes 41.37 seconds.

The Unitd States came in second in 3:41.58.

In the battle for bronze, Netherlands, led by two Olympic champions Sven Kramer and Mark Tuitert, sped to a new Game record 3:39.95. Norway placed fourth.

In the women's team pursuit final, Germany was behind Japan from start until the lap when Daniela Anschutz Thomas, Stephanie Beckert and Katrin Mattscherokt stormed past the last straight finishing line in 3:02.82, 0.02 seconds faster than the Japanese girls Masako Nozumi, Nao Kodaira and Maki Tabata.

Poland beat the United States for the third place.

Other two gold medals for Canada were from snowboard men's parallel giant slalom and men's curling.

In snowboard men's parallel giant slalom, the last event in Cypress Mountain, 2009 PGS world champion Jasey Ja Anderson defeated fog and his rival to take his first Olympic title, beating Benjamin Karl of Austria with an amazing comeback in his secnod run of the Big Final.

In that run, the 34-year-old Canadian snowboard legend in fact managed to recover all 0.76 second disadvantage from his first run, winning the race by 0.35 seconds.

Mathieu Bozzetto of France won the Small Final against Stanislav Detkov of Russia and took the bronze.

In men's curling final, Canada kept its unbeaten record to defeat Norway 6-3 and collected the 13th gold medal for the host at the Vancouver games, which meant that Canada won't be overtaken in medal standings by their nearest rivals Germany and the United States.

It has been a huge achievement for a country that did not win a single title on home ground at the 1976 Summer Games and the 1988 Winter Games.

In the bronze medal match of men's curling, Switzerland edged Sweden 5-4 Saturday morning.

After 15-day competitions, only the gold medals in men's cross country skiing 50km mass start classic event and the men's ice hockey are to be decided on Sunday.

For Petter Northug, the final cross country skiing event will be his last and only chance to get an individual gold. In men's ice hockey final, the United States looks to avenge its loss in the gold medal match of the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games while Canada hopes to become the first host country to win men's ice hockey since 1980.

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