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SOCHI OLYMPICS

WINTER OLYMPICS

Swiss curlers upset Canada’s winning streak

Switzerland's men's curling team defeated defending champions Canada 5-4 in Olympic competition at Sochi on Monday, bringing the gold medal favourites' 16-game winning run in the men's competition to an end.

Swiss curlers upset Canada's winning streak
Swiss curler Claudio throws rock during game against Canada. Photo: Paetz Yuri Kadobnov/AFP

Canada's last Olympic defeat came eight years ago against Italy at the 2006 Turin Games.
   
Earlier in the day, the Canadians romped to a 11-8 win against Germany in their Sochi opener while Switzerland, skipped by Sven Michel, lost 7-5 to Sweden.

The Swiss win against Canada marked a highlight for Switzerland Monday, a day after after cross country skier Dario Cologna won the country's first gold medal.

Cologna, who has battled back from ankle ligament surgery, outpaced the field to finish first in the 30-kilometre skiathlon, 0.4 seconds ahead of defending champion Marcus Hellner, of Sweden..

The native of Graubünden won a gold medal in the 15-kilometre freestyle at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010.

But Cologna said Sunday's gold medal was his biggest victory so far.

"I said I hoped to be at my best again before the end of the Olympics but it can't be better than this."

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SPORT

IN PICTURES: Runners take on Swiss glacier race despite melt

Hundreds of runners braved a lung-busting ascent into the Alps in Switzerland's Glacier 3000 Run on Saturday, albeit on a shortened course due to summer heatwaves melting the ice.

IN PICTURES: Runners take on Swiss glacier race despite melt

The event’s 14th edition was back without limitations after being cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19 and run in 2021 with restrictions imposed due to the pandemic.

The race is normally run over 26.2 kilometres but was contested on a slightly modified 25.2km course this year due to the glacier melting, with the last pass over its surface shortened.

Runners make their way under a ski lift  on the glacier run in Switzerland

Runners make their way under a ski lift during the last kilometres of the Glacier 3000 run. (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP)

“The accelerated melting of the top layer of the glacier has created a camber and a soft layer which the runner sinks into,” said race director Oliver Hermann.

“Rather than intervening to flatten the track, we preferred to deviate the course.”

Runners on last stretch of Switzerland's glacier run

On the final stretch of this year’s shortened course. (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP)

The finish line is 1,886 metres higher than the start, at nearly 3,000 metres up in the mountains by the Scex Rouge peak.

READ ALSO: Heatwaves close off classic Swiss and Italian Alpine hiking routes

The route begins in the jet-set ski resort town of Gstaad, at 1,050 metres above sea level.

It passes through forests, green mountain pastures before heading into rocky lunar-like landscapes and taking in the Tsanfleuron Glacier.

The course follows the Saane river upstream for 15 km before climbing up 1,800 metres over the remaining 10 km to the finish line — at an altitude of 2,936 metres.

A couple hold their hands while walking on the melting Tsanfleuron Glacier above Les Diablerets

A couple hold hands while walking on the melting Tsanfleuron Glacier above Les Diablerets, where the Glacier 3000 Run took place on August 6th. (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP)

Some 311 men and 98 women completed the individual course, while 50 two-person teams also took part.

READ ALSO: Why Switzerland’s glaciers are melting faster than usual this summer

The first man to finish was Kenyan competitor Geoffrey Ndungu in two hours and 17 minutes. He had finished in second place last year.

He was followed by compatriot Abraham Ebenyo Ekwam in 2:21 and then Switzerland’s Jonathan Schmid in 2:23.

Victoria Kreuzer was the first woman to finish, in 2:46, ahead of Nicole Schindler and Pascale Rebsamen — a Swiss clean sweep.

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