The Sochi Network

The Sochi Awards: Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole!

The Sochi Network

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Man of the Games

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen became the most-successful Winter Olympian in history after winning the opening sprint event and then taking gold in the Biathlon mixed relay. He took over on the third leg one second down and then passed over to Emil Hegle Svendsen 43.1 seconds ahead. Svendsen did the rest and it meant the 40-year-old passed compatriot Bjoern Daehlie as the most successful Olympian of all time with eight gold medals, four silvers and one bronze. Bjoerndalen, who also has 19 world championship titles, won his first Olympic gold medal at the 1998 Games in Nagano. Call him the Michael Phelps of snow.

Woman of the Games

Marit Bjoergen won three gold medals to become the most successful woman in Olympic Winter Games history. The 33-year-old opened up on day one with victory in Cross Country's Skiathlon then took the team sprint before rounding it off in the the 30km to earn a record-tying sixth gold and 10th medal in any Winter Olympic sport. The four-time Olympian and 12-time world champion matches speed skater Lidia Skoblikova (former USSR) and cross-country skier Lyobov Yegorova (United Team and Russia) with her sextet of wins. The 10 medals - three silvers and one bronze round off the set - of any colour equals Stefania Belmondo and Raisa Smetanina.

Team of the Games

The Dutch Speed Skaters dominated the Adler Arena. Victories in eight of the 12 events and 23 medals in total for the skaters in orange was simply remarkable. Since team pursuit was added to the Olympics at the 2006 Turin Games, remarkably the Dutch had failed to win gold in either the men's or women's events until Sochi when they capped their incredible Games with two gold medal performances, both of which came in a Olympic record time.

Race of the Games

Charlotte Kalla became the first person to win three medals in Sochi with a final relay leg in the women's Cross Country 4x5km relay that Kriss Akabusi would have been proud of. Kalla almost single-handedly (but not literally as a BBC Snowboarder might say) earned Sweden their first gold. She started in third, 25.7 seconds back, but produced an amazing final leg to snatch the victory. She gradually cut into the lead in a perfectly timed leg and came through the inside on the very final turn before out-sprinting her German and Finnish rivals - she was promptly mobbed by her team-mates and rightly so.

Photo Finish of the Games

What happens when three people all fall off the final jump in Ski Cross.

Flop of the Games

Aksel Lund Svindal was the Norwegian flag-bearer at the opening ceremony and was tipped as a multiple Alpine Skiing medallist as a five-time world champion, a winner of two overall World Cup Crystal Globes and seven World Cup event titles. But he failed to claim a medal in his three races. He was fourth in the downhill, which he had been favourite to win, equal eighth in super combined and seventh in super-G. He did not compete in the giant slalom or slalom after suffering an allergic reaction.

Unlucky Man Award

Tim Tscharnke was leading the men's cross-country team sprint for Germany as they headed into the stadium on the final lap. However with a medal guaranteed and a chance of gold up for grabs, Sami Jauhojaervi went over the tip of his skis and he fell. The Finn went on to win and the International Ski Federation rejected a protest by Germany. "The Finnish guy crossed my line, that's why I fell," Tscharnke told reporters after Germany finished seventh. "I simply couldn't do anything."

Unlucky Woman Award

Things run in threes they say, they certainly did for the British short-track skater Elise Christie. The Scot was in the shake-up for medals in all three individual events but was disqualified in all three. She finished second in the 500m final but was DQ'd for wiping out Arianna Fontana. In the 1500m, the Nottingham-based skater darted through the inside to win her heat but was inside the track by about 5cm on the final straight so did not technically finish the race. The 1000m is her favourite distance and she looked destined to be advanced to the final after being wiped out, whilst in second place, by Jianrou Li. But in the most debatable of all three judgements the referee decided that Christie had impeded the Chinese before that incident.

Devon Loch Award

Lindsey Jacobellis was trying for a third time to win gold in Snowboard Cross. In 2006, she was on her way to winning the final at the Turin Olympics when she grabbed her board on a jump at the bottom of the hill and fell. She settled for silver, then cut a gate at the Vancouver Games and failed to make the final. The calamitous American was way ahead in her semi-final but then crashed under no pressure. In true boarder style, she nonchalantly went on to win the Small Final and even did the same grab, off the final kicker, that cost her Turin gold.

Villain of the Games

Croatian coach Ante Kostelic, the father of multi Olympic medalist Ivica, set the course for the second run of the slalom and was savaged for the set-up. "Sadistic. Stop the slalom. Set a new course and kick Kostelic out in the sea," was one reaction on Twitter as the unedifying sight of the world's top slalom skiers missing gates one after another played out. It was beyond tough and was borderline farcical with a number of off-angle vertical gates, creating something BBC commentator Graham Bell described as a forest of poles. Beeb colleague Emma Carrick-Anderson went a little further and said Kostelic had drunk too many vodkas while a user on the Eurosport live updates summed up the general feeling by saying: "What a complete fool. What he did to slalom today will take years to repair. Slalom just went down the drain as an interesting sport for television. If he ever sets a slalom course again the FIS are even bigger fools."

Comeback Award

There were some incredible stories involving half the line-up for the men's Snowboard Cross final. On December 21, gold medallist Pierre Vaultier went down hard in a crash in Lake Louise and tore the Anterior Cruciate Ligament in his knee. Three weeks later his French compatriot Paul-Henri de le Rue was placed in an induced coma after landing on his head in a crash in Andorra. However the award goes to Stian Sivertzen. The Norwegian had a tear in his aorta and cracked his pelvis, neck and lower back in a crash in 2009 and developed a clot on his brain after surgery which resulted in him suffering a stroke. He was in a coma for five days and had to learn how to walk again before getting back on his board. He finished in fifth.

Fashion Statement Award

Slovenian Freestyle Ski Cross star Filip Fisar

PETA Award

Gus Kenworthy, the Essex-born Slopestyler was not only the middle part of a US podium sandwich in the Freestyle Skiing event, but also became one of the most popular people on the internet. The 22-year-old from Colorado is taking a bunch of dogs back with his medal. He came across a bunch of strays and, given Sochi's mandate to exterminate street dogs, pledged to save the canines.

Baron de Coubertin Award

Freestyle Skiing aerials has advanced so much that the top women are landing quad-twisting triple somersaults. Joselane Santos did a straight back flip and could not have been happier. She became the first freestyle skier from Brazil to make the Winter Olympics - even more remarkable as she only took up skiing five months ago. The 29-year-old does most of her training at a dry-slope ski park outside Sao Paulo but landed both her jumps and broke down in tears of joy, just for competing.

Steven Bradbury Award

Emil Joensson has pedigree with World Cup victories but he had his own Bradbury moment in the Cross Country sprint. The Swede was 100m behind his rivals at halfway in the final, the toll of skiing the 1.8km course on four occasions hitting him hard. But he watched Anders Gloeersen, Sergey Ustiugov and Marcus Hellner crash on the descent as they went over each other like dominoes, giving him a free passage to a medal. He crossed the line 19.8 seconds behind the winner to take bronze and promptly collapsed over the line before being carried off the course.

(Bradbury was the Australian who took gold in Short Track in 2002 when everyone fell ahead of him)

Confessions of a Skier Award

Lebanon's Sports and Youth Minister ordered an investigation after racy pictures and a video of skier Jacky Chamoun surfaced on the internet, causing a stir in her Arab nation. They were taken during a shoot for an Austrian ski calendar three years ago. Chamoun said on Facebook: "I want to apologise to all of you, I know that Lebanon is a conservative country and this is not the image that reflects our culture. I fully understand if you want to criticise this." One positive, that post has received over 13,000 likes.

Coleman Balls Award

BBC Snowboard commentator Tim Warwood: "It's literally like Spider-Man and doctor octagon hugging"

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