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Olympics: Joy for Fenninger, USA, but Games hit by horror accident

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Anna Fenninger swept to Olympic super-G gold while the USA edged ice hockey rivals Russia on a sombre Saturday where a freestyle skier suffered a broken back in a horrific fall.

Austrian 24-year-old Fenninger showed off her smooth and technically sound giant slalom skills, conquering the demanding course to clock 1min 25.52sec for victory.

Only 12 of the leading 30 women managed to finish the 2.2km-long Rosa Khutor run -- with just three of the first 10 getting safely home.

Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch won silver at 0.55sec to go with the gold she won in the super-combined, while combined silver medallist Nicole Hosp of Austria took bronze, a further 0.11sec adrift.

"You have to be so tactical. I can't describe my emotions, I am really stunned. I didn't think it was going so well while I was going down," said Fenninger.

Switzerland's Dominique Gisin, who shared gold with Slovenia's Tina Maze in the downhill, was one of the skiers to crash out while Maze finished fifth just behind downhill bronze medallist Lara Gut of Switzerland.

In men's ice hockey, T.J. Oshie scored the shootout winner as the USA defeated Russia 3-2 in a nail-biting hockey clash to decide the latest chapter of the two giants' historic rivalry.

Pavel Datsyuk had two goals in regulation for the Russians while Joe Pavelski and Cam Fowler scored powerplay goals for the Americans with both coming while Russian forward Alexander Radulov was sitting in the penalty box.

With the score tied 2-2 in the third period, the Russians appeared to score the winner, but the goal was disallowed, apparently because the net had been knocked out of place.

"I guess every kid guy growing up wants to do the shootout and go out and mess around and practise it so tonight it paid off," Oshie said.

But away from the action, there was a sombre mood at the Extreme Park when Russian freestyle skier Maria Komissarova sustained a broken back in a fall while training on the ski-cross course.

The state-owned R-Sport news agency quoted a source familiar with the situation as saying the 23-year-old had sustained a fractured vertebrae while it was later revealed that Komissarova had undergone a six-hour operation to have a metal rod inserted in her spine.

- 'Stable but serious condition' -

"Maria Komissarova received a serious injury today during training. She was urgently taken to hospital," the Russian freestyle federation said.

"Doctors carried out the necessary examination and took the decision to operate on the spot."

Doctors said it would be 3-4 days before they could comment on the skier's future recovery after she was described as being in a "stable but serious" condition in hospital.

In all seven golds were decided on Saturday.

Poland's Kamil Stoch won his second ski jumping gold of the Olympics when he triumphed on the large hill to deny Japan's Noriaki Kasai the chance to become the oldest ever Winter Games champion.

Stoch led by almost three points after the first jump, but a huge leap from 41-year-old Kasai in the second round put the pressure on the Pole.

Yet he did just enough to maintain a lead of 1.3 points and secure the gold medal, to add to the world title he won last year. Slovenia's Peter Prevc took bronze.

Russia's Victor Ahn won his fourth gold in short track when he stormed to victory in the men's 1,000m.

Ahn, who won three golds for his native South Korea at the 2006 Turin Olympics before switching nationality, triumphed in a time of 1min 25.325sec.

Poland's Zbigniew Brodka won a dramatic 1,500m speed skating race by just three-thousandths of a second from devastated Dutchman Koen Verweij.

Sweden took a thrilling gold in the women's 4x5km cross country relay, overtaking Finland and Germany in the last metres while in women's short track, China's Zhou Yang defended her 1,500m title.

Alexander Tretiakov earned Russia's fourth gold of the Olympics with victory in the men's skeleton.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140215/olympics-joy-fenninger-usa-games-hit-horror-accident-1