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Monday, February 24, 2014
PICTURE: Getty Images
A view of fireworks inside Fisht Stadium as part of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics closing ceremony this morning.
e MBD South Island Street Stock
Championship was enjoyed by an impressive
crowd of spectators at Greenstone Speedway, on
Track conditions were a bit wet after heavy
overnight rain and the meeting was slow to get
under way, but nearly 30 street stocks from as far
afield as Invercargill, Christchurch, Nelson and
Blenheim took to the track to battle with the local
e championship, run over three heats with the
winner achieving the highest points total, went to
Canterbury driver Colin Robinson, who won the
first heat and picked up enough points in the next
two to stay ahead of the pack. e second heat
was won by Graeme McKernan, from Invercargill,
and the third heat, which started with seven cars
still in contention for overall honours, was won by
Greymouth driver Regan Anisy.
e other feature of the event was the stockcar
team s race held between the Canterbury
Crushers and Greymouth Grizzlies. e winner
of that event, which many did not finish, was
Greymouth s Tony Stanton.
In other racing there was a good field of
stockcars but unfortunately the weather closed in
and only two rounds were completed.
e ministock class produced good racing. e
Christchurch drivers could not match the locals,
Sarah Bellis, Vinny Spafford-Parsons and Jamie
Ruddle, who shared a car.
Josh Turner, from Christchurch, won the
production saloons by winning two heats, the
other going to Tyler Stanton.
e next meeting, on March 8, will be the South
Island Modified Championship.
Street stocks: Colin Robinson, 79 points, 1;
Arnie Tuhura, 74, 2; Steve Jackson, 72, 3.
Stockcars: Daniel McNally, 32, 1; Tony Oliver,
31, 2; Tony Stanton, 27, 3.
Ministocks: Sarah Bellis, 19, 1; Parsons and
Ruddle 16, 2; Paul Robson, 15, 3.
Production saloons: Josh Turner, 17, 1; Tyler
Stanton, 13, 2; Wayne Stanton,12, 3 equal with
TQs: James ompson, 15, 1; Ryan Coll, Atama
Holland and Chris Foster 2 equal.
e Winter Olympics ended today
with host nation Russia on top of the
medals table and Canada winning the
men s ice hockey final, but news that
two more athletes tested positive for
banned substances dimmed the golden
Canada claimed the last, most
coveted title of the games by sweeping
aside Sweden 3-0 to retain their
men s ice hockey crown, but two
more victories for Russia gave them
an unassailable lead with 13 golds to
Norway s 11.
Sweden s misery was compounded by
news that forward Nicklas Backstrom
had failed a doping test.
Team officials were furious at the
International Olympic Committee
(IOC) because they were only told
two hours before the game. e
team doctor said the stimulant was
contained in a pill the athlete had
taken for many years to treat a sinus
" at was one of the worst games
we ve ever seen, not because of the
outcome and the way the team played,
but because Nicklas couldn t compete
in the game," Swedish team manager
Tommy Boustedt said. " is is one of
the toughest days for me and Swedish
hockey, and all because of the IOC."
One top Swedish official accused
the IOC of putting politics ahead
of sport and jeopardising the future
participation of National Hockey
League players at the Olympics.
On a happier note, at the Sanki
Sliding Centre, Alexander Zubkov
added the four-man bobsleigh crown
to his two-man title, while in the
cross-country, Alexander Legkov
grabbed the 50km race in a Russian
ose wins ensured Russia was the
most successful nation at the games,
emulating the Canadians who topped
the rankings on home turf four
years earlier. "People kept asking me
whether I believed Russia could do
as well as Canada did in Vancouver
... and I didn t believe it," 30-year-old
Legkov said. "Now this is our pride,
it s wonderful. What could be better
than ending the Olympics with a gold
medal and helping Russia top the
Underlining the sense of national
pride, a packed Fisht Stadium erupted
in cheers as the Russian team marched
past during the athletes parade at the
Organisers will be delighted that
athletic achievement has gone hand-
in-hand with a generally well-run
games, so far untouched by violence
at the hands of Islamist militants
opposed to President Vladimir Putin
and his pet project.
Voices of dissent over Russia s human
rights record, particularly regarding
legislation that critics say discriminates
against gays, have occasionally crashed
the party, but attention has largely
focused on sport.
IOC president omas Bach said the
Russian hosts had proved their critics
wrong. "Tonight we can say: Russia
delivered all what it had promised,"
he told 40,000 people at the closing
ceremony and millions more watching
on television. What took decades in
other parts of the world was achieved
here in Sochi in just seven years."
Addressing the army of volunteers
who helped guide athletes, reporters
and visitors to their destinations, he
added: " rough you, everybody with
an open mind could see the face of
a new Russia: efficient and friendly,
patriotic and open to the world. We
arrived with great respect for the rich
and varied history of Russia. We leave
as friends of the Russian people."
Bach then formally declared the
Sochi Games closed.
e Olympics had more than 2800
athletes from 88 countries --- both
records --- and featured 12 new events
to attract younger fans and more
broadcasters than ever before.
However, the games have also seen
six doping cases, five more than at the
2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Early today Austrian cross-country
skier Johannes Duerr, who placed
eighth in the skiathlon, tested positive
for performance-boosting EPO
and was excluded from the games,
according to the Austrian Olympic
" ere s nothing left for me than to
apologise to everyone. To my family,
my wife," Duerr told Austrian TV
ORF at the airport as he was leaving.
Bach said the number of cases proved
that the system of testing athletes
was working. " e number of cases
for me is not really relevant. What
is important is that we see that the
system works," he said, addressing
reporters hours before the closing
e show was staged at the Fisht
Stadium, one of several gleaming
arenas built in Sochi that helped push
the price tag for Russia s first Winter
Games to an estimated $51 billion, a
record for any Olympics.
Only time will tell if the project, on
which Putin has staked his prestige,
was worth it, as Russia faces the
formidable challenge of turning Sochi
and the surrounding areas into a year-
round sports and entertainment hub.
Bach said Sochi had undergone
an "amazing transformation" from
somewhere that looked more like a
"Stalinist-style sanatorium city" in the
mid-1990s to an Olympic host city
with state-of-the-art venues.
"It was terrible then. Seeing it 20
years after this transformation is
For now Russian officials are basking
in the glory of an event they believe
helped them build bridges with the
West, with which Moscow has had
uneasy relations under Putin.
" e friendly faces, the warm Sochi
sun and the glare of the Olympic
gold have broken the ice of scepticism
towards the new Russia," Deputy
Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, also
Putin s Olympics organiser, said at the
e medals tally was an unexpected
bonus after Russia mustered just three
golds in Vancouver four years ago to
place 11th in the rankings. e only
regret for Russian fans was that the
men s ice hockey team progressed no
further than the quarter-finals.
Victory gave Canada a sweep of the
ice hockey gold medals for a second
consecutive Olympics. e women
stormed back from 2-0 down in the
last four minutes against the United
States to break American hearts on
e world s gaze then turned to the
final act of the February 7-23 games,
the closing ceremony, which painted
Russia in far softer colours than the
muscular, assertive opening spectacle.
e show s producers deliberately
replicated the embarrassing technical
hitch from the opening ceremony,
when one of five Olympic rings failed
to open. In similar fashion, while
dancers in shimmering silver tops
formed four perfect rings, one group
remained in a tight formation, and
only opened to complete the symbol
when spectators had cheered the joke
loudly. e sense of national pride at
the home team s achievements was
palpable as huge roars erupted for the
Russian team as they paraded past
the crowds. "Well done!" chanted
tens of thousands of Russians as
Legkov, Maxim Vylegzhanin and
Ilia Chernousov received their gold,
silver and bronze medals won in the
Caucasus Mountains high above Sochi
earlier in the day.
After a rousing rendition of the
national anthem by a choir of 1000
children, the ceremony took viewers
on a journey through Russia s rich
heritage of visual arts, music, literature
and dance. A deafening volley of
fireworks from the stadium s rooftop
lit up the sky, and the Olympics were
over. --- Reuters
farewelled Russia tops medal tally
PICTURE: Stephanie Belliss
Street stock champion Colin Robinson (8c) duels with fellow Canterbury drivers, Nigel omas (36C) and David McSherry (62C).
Visitors reap street stock rewards
of the Otago Daily Times
Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph
paid tribute to his two All Blacks, Ben
Smith and Aaron Smith, in the side s
29-21 win over the Blues in Dunedin
e two Smiths both scored tries
to ensure the Highlanders opened
their Super Rugby campaign with a
"I was really proud of those two
guys," Joseph said.
"I said at half-time everyone was
stepping up. It was the first game of
the season but, to me, those two led
by their performances. When that
happens things tend to fall in place for
us, especially in the first 40 minutes.
" e first half was great. We had a
plan and it worked out all right. A
couple of things fell into our hands
but that is what happens when you
create pressure and show a bit of
character, things bounce your way.
" e leaders in our team have done
a great job and have made sure the
players understand what it is to play
for the Highlanders, what the people
are like down here, what they respond
to, and what type of rugby they will
"You saw a bit of that out there."
e victory ensured the Highlanders
would retain the Gordon Hunter
Memorial Trophy, at least until the
teams meet again on March 29.
It may have been a much-needed
win, after last season s collapse, but
Joseph was not getting too carried
e players would also keep their
feet on the ground with a big match
coming up against the Chiefs in
Hamilton this Saturday.
"We ll take the five points and then
have to go up there (Hamilton) next
week and go and play the best team in
" e motivation levels to play next
week will be there because we are
playing the Chiefs and that is great.
But we just have to ice up properly,
prepare well and pick the right team
for the opposition."
Lock Brad orn was forced off
halfway through the first half with a
popped rib and his immediate future
is looking cloudy.
Gareth Evans was forced into lock
late in the game, with Jarrad Hoeata
cramping up, and Joseph said he
was proud of the performance of the
young loose forward.
e loose forwards turned the
ball over to upset the Blues flow,
which Joseph said really helped
the Highlanders. Pressure on Blues
halfback Piri Weepu also helped the
Co-captain Ben Smith said getting a
win early would be a big boost for the
belief of the team.
"A win builds that confidence and
it shows that when we get our
structures right we can be dangerous.
But we are up against it next week,
playing a good Chiefs team," Smith
"It was just simple stuff really. e
for wards carried well, got us over the
game line and our backs implemented
Smiths star for Highlanders
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