Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Defago wins downhill gold as Miller claims bronze for U.S.

  • Didier Defago ends Switzerland's gold-medal drought in downhill skiing event
  • Defago heads off Norway's World Cup champion Aksel Lund Svindal at Whistler
  • American star Bode Miller edged into bronze position after earlier setting leading time
  • Seth Wescott earns second gold for U.S. as he defends his snowboard cross title

(CNN) -- Didier Defago ended Switzerland's gold-medal drought in the Winter Olympics downhill skiing event as American star Bode Miller was edged into the bronze position at Whistler in Canada on Monday.

But Seth Wescott gave the United States a second gold medal as he retained his snowboard cross title, while Switzerland's Dario Cologna and Sweden's Charlotte Kalla triumphed in the men's and women's freestyle cross-country skiing events.

The 32-year-old Defago earned his country's first Olympic title in the sport's premier event since 1988 in Calgary, setting the fastest time of one minute, 54.31 seconds at the Dave Murray course as he became the oldest man to win it.

Share the sites and sounds of Vancouver

Miller, the 2005 world champion, had been in pole position with his run of 1:54.40 but Norway's World Cup champion Aksel Lund Svindal (1:54.38) and then Defago denied him the third Olympic silver of his career.

Defago had never won a world or Olympic medal, but came into the Vancouver Games on the back of two World Cup downhill victories in January.

Video: Cheese saves the Games?

His compatriot and pre-race favorite Didier Cuche, a two-time World Cup downhill champion and silver medallist in last year's world championships, finished a disappointing sixth in 1:54.67.

Austria's Mario Scheiber was fourth while Mark Guay was hosts Canada's best finisher in fifth as compatriot Robbie Dixon crashed out along with American Marco Sullivan.

The event had been scheduled to take place on Saturday, but adverse weather conditions saw it delayed along with the women's downhill, which will now be raced on Wednesday with American star Lindsey Vonn being boosted by extra time to recover from her shin injury.


Wescott followed up his gold medal from the Turin Games in 2006, when it first became an Olympic sport.

The 33-year-old denied Canada a second victory of the week, heading off Mike Robertson in the four-man final as he came from behind and delivered a surprise result after being seeded only 17th out of 32 riders following the initial qualifying run.

France's Tony Ramoin won bronze ahead of another American, Nate Holland, who had qualified by winning his semifinal ahead of Wescott but paid for a costly spinout in the final.

Cross-country skiing

Cologna gave Switzerland a second gold medal of the day, and leading third overall, with victory in the men's 15-kilometer freestyle event.

The 23-year-old, who won the 2008-09 World Cup title, finished 24.6 seconds ahead of Italy's Pietro Piller Cottrer as he completed the course in 33:36.3.

Cottrer, the 2005 world champion, took his career Olympic medal tally to four as he was 11.1 seconds quicker than bronze medallist Lukas Bauer of the Czech Republic.

In the women's 10-kilometer freestyle race, Kalla claimed her first Olympic medal with a convincing victory at Whistler Olympic Park.

The 22-year-old won in a time of 24:58.4 to head off Estonia's Kristina Smigun-Vaehi, who claimed two golds at Turin but had to settle for silver as she finished 6.6 seconds adrift.

Norway's four-time world champion Marit Bjoergen was third, 15.9 seconds behind Kalla as the 29-year-old added to her tally of two Olympic silver medals.

Ice hockey

Defending women's champions Canada romped to a second successive win in Group A, crushing Switzerland 10-1 to follow up the record-breaking 18-0 thrashing of Slovakia.

Meghan Agosta added two goals to the hat-trick she scored on Saturday, while captain Hayley Wickenheiser scored her first of the tournament and provided two assists, a feat matched by Cherie Piper.

Sweden, the 2006 silver medalists, were to play Slovakia later on Monday.

Tuesday's other medal events include figure skating's pairs freestyle competition and the men's speed skating 500-meter races.