Canada strike more gold as Italy break duck

Sat Feb 27, 2010 6:29pm EST
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By Mary Milliken

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Canada struck new gold in the hills and on the flats of its home ice on Saturday, mining more medals in snowboarding and speedskating to top the standings in the twilight of the 2010 Winter Games.

Just days after a public outcry over a lack of medals, the Olympic host nation boasted 12 golds halfway through the penultimate day of action before the closing ceremony on Sunday.

Snowboarder Jasey Jay Anderson won a fog-filled men's parallel giant slalom and the Canadian men skated to victory in the speedskating team pursuit.

The German women won their speedskating pursuit final following a bizarre semi-final in which one of their skaters belly-flopped on the ice in the final straight and swam across the finish line.

As Germany won its 10th gold of the Games, Italy picked up its first in the final Alpine race, the men's slalom.

Giuliano Razzoli, who grew up admiring Italy's skiing great Alberto Tomba, prevailed on a tricky course where poor weather in the first leg tripped up nearly half the racers including Olympic comeback kid Bode Miller.

The 25-year-old Razzoli, who had clocked the fastest time in the first leg through fog and sleet, became the first Italian man to win the title since Tomba 22 years ago to the day in Calgary 1988.

Poland also won its first gold in the women's 30km cross country race, as Justyna Kowalczyk sprinted in the finish to rob Norway's Marit Bjoergen of her fourth gold in these Games.   Continued...

<p>Gold medalist Jasey Jay Anderson of Canada shows his medal after the men's snowboard parallel giant slalom on Cypress Mountain at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, February 27, 2010. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>