Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics diary: GB curlers win bronze, Russian ice hockey failure, money saving skier and ski cross drama

19:37 20 February 2014

Great Britain

Great Britain's curlers (L-R) Claire Hamilton, Vicki Adams, Eve Muirhead and Anna Sloan celebrate winning the women's bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA

PA Wire/Press Association Images

London24 Sport rounds up all the action from 24 hours at the Games with the quirky, unusual and newsworthy things you may have missed from Russia.

WINNERS OF THE DAY

Team GB - women’s curlers Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams and Claire Hamilton bagged a bronze to ensure Britain will at least match their best ever Winter Olympics medal haul of four, with three in the bag already and a gold or silver to come on Friday from the men’s curlers, David Murdoch, Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews and Michael Goodfellow.

PICTURE OF THE DAY (see above)

Great Britain’s women’s curlers celebrate winning the bronze medal match against Switzerland at the Ice Cube Curling Centre during the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“We listen to music, we eat as much as possible and slap each other in the face.” - Great Britain bobsledder Andrew Matthews on what the British teams do pre-race.

STAT OF THE DAY

Curler Lauren Gray is the first Briton ever to win an Olympic medal before actually making her Games debut. Gray is the alternate for the bronze medal-winning women’s curling team but never got on the ice in Sochi.

• The Russian ice hockey team bade ‘do svidaniya’ to Sochi 2014 on Wednesday, to the dismay of the host nation, and inevitable recriminations followed in the Russian media on Thursday morning.

The shock waves of Finland’s 3-1 win over Alexander Ovechkin and Co in the Bolshoy Dome were reflected in a number of media outlets.

R-sport, the sporting arm of Russian host agency RIA Novosti, carried the headline ‘Failure in Bolshoy: Russian ice hockey players without Olympic medals third time in a row”.

“Burned in Finnish sauna” was the scathing verdict of privately-owned daily newspaper Kommersant.

“Our expectations are our problems” bemoaned Sovetsky Sport, a sports newspaper published by the Russian Olympic Committee.

“We don’t need ice hockey like that” was the indignant offering in the privately-owned Sport Express.

The Sochi 2014 bear mascot tapped into the mood of the nation and was pictured in mournful pose in an empty Bolshoy Ice Dome.

But the deepest despair was felt by the fans. At one coffee stall in the Main Press Centre in the Olympic Park, Pavel, normally so cheerful when serving up lattes and apple pie, was utterly inconsolable. Head shaking with disbelief, he said: “For me, the party’s over. It’s terrible.....a disaster. I don’t know what happened to these guys. Good players, but they’re not a team”.

• Belgian halfpipe skier Katrien Aerts revealed how she has foregone the luxury of a permanent home, opting instead to share a caravan with her boyfriend near the Belgian town of Maaseik to save enough money to allow her to compete at Sochi 2014.

Aerts has to train abroad as there are no mountains in her homeland and the costs of competing on the less than lucrative freestyle skiing circuit means she has to keep tight control of her finances.

“I try to live as a low a budget as possible,” said Aerts. “I can’t rent a home because I’m never home and it costs too much money so I bought myself a caravan.

“It’s a cheap way to live so I can spend all my money on the skiing.

“I have no television and no internet. I just want to ski and skiing gives me a lot more than watching television.”

Aerts, who is ranked 10th in the world cup standings, added: “It’s very special to be at the Games. You don’t feel like there are big efforts because you’ve got the Olympics and that’s really satisfying. It’s not bad living in a caravan.”

• Ski cross would not be ski cross without some drama and mayhem along the way. And Thursday’s men’s event threw up arguably the most dramatic finish ever seen when three racers were involved in a photo finish in the quarter-finals.

Russia’s Egor Korotkov, Sweden’s Victor Oehling Norberg and Finland’s Jouni Pellinen (blue) all fell on landing after the final jump and slid across the finish line together, with images needed to decide who was first past the post amid the tangle of limbs, skis and poles.

In the end, Korotov was given the nod, qualifying for the next round in second place behind Switzerland’s Armin Niederer - the only man not to end up on his behind.

When Oehling Norberg, who placed third, was asked afterwards if he could have done anything differently, he replied: “Kept my skis aligned.”

• McDonalds staff are often the butt of jokes in the UK, but the people serving up mounds of burgers and fries in Sochi have something to boast about.

There are almost 400 members of staff working across the various outlets at the Games, chosen from 70 city restaurants across Russia. And each and every one of them is either an employee of the month or a star staff member.

Who said you don’t need credentials to work in a fast-food joint?

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