Kotsenburg gets Sochi off to golden start

Sat Feb 8, 2014 3:55pm EST
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By Julian Linden

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - The glorious unpredictability of Olympic sport was unveiled in all its majesty on Saturday on an extraordinary, record-matching first day of competition at the Sochi Winter Games.

The modernization of the Olympic program helped produce a young champion for the ages and a rare sibling double while two of the sports traditional sports added to their stockpile of golds with emotionally-charged victories.

Like host-nation Russia, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is banking on the Sochi Games showing the world that it is moving with the times.

On Saturday, in the Caucasus Mountains high above Sochi, all those worlds came together in perfect unison when Sage Kotsenburg won the inaugural men's slopestyle competition.

Later that night, two Canadian sisters - Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe - finished first and second in the moguls, becoming just the third pair of sisters to win gold and silver in the same event at a Winter Olympics.

"It just totally rocks," shrieked Justine. "It is just really amazing."

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway won the biathlon sprint to capture his 12th Olympic medal - matching the all-time record of medals at a Winter Games.

The extreme sports have become the hottest tickets in Winter Olympic sports as the young athletes perform outrageously complicated stunts with a devil-may-care approach that befits their generation.   Continued...

Gold medalist Sage Kotsenburg of the U.S., silver medalist Staale Sandbech (L) of Norway and bronze medalist Mark McMorris (R) of Canada react during the medal ceremony for the men's snowboard slopestyle competition in the Olympic Plaza at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games February 8, 2014. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov