Impressive landmark for Bilodeau

Canadian is first freestyle skier to retain gold medal

Impressive landmark for Bilodeau

Canada's Alex Bilodeau left his best until his very last to retain the men's moguls title at the Sochi Winter Games on Monday and become the first freestyle skier to achieve the feat

The 26-year-old, who had already announced that this season would be his last, nailed his final jump brilliantly to lead another Canadian moguls one-two under the lights at the Extreme Park with Mikael Kingsbury claiming silver.

Bilodeau put together a perfect run in the finals to make history, posting a score of 26.31 on the slushy Rosa Khutor Extreme Park course in the medal round.

Fellow Canadian Kingsbury endured a slight form break in the middle of his run and ended up with silver. Alexandr Smyshlyaev of Russia took bronze.

Attention at the Winter Olympics turned on Tuesday to the eagerly awaited men's ice hockey competition even before a puck had been shot in anger, as host team Russia and heavyweights Canada and the United States paraded before the world's media.

For many fans the Winter Games do not properly begin until the puck drops on the men's ice hockey rink, and that happens on Wednesday at the gleaming new Bolshoy Ice Dome and Shayba Arena on Russia's Black Sea Coast. On day four, most of the action was up in the nearby Caucasus Mountains, where mild temperatures were causing  concern about poor snow conditions.

The final training session for Wednesday's women's downhill was cancelled due to the conditions, and ahead of the Nordic Combined competition on the same day American Bill Demong said of the snow: "It's not even slushy, it's just mushy.”

US skier Bode Miller has blamed the weather for wrecking his hopes of glory in Sunday's downhill, and he fears the mild conditions may scupper his bid to successfully defend his super combined title, saying softer snow favours slalom technicians. Despite the gripes, competition went ahead on Tuesday and American snowboarder Shaun White, one of the best known faces in winter sport, will be vying to retain his halfpipe title.

The first of eight medals to be decided on Tuesday went to teenager Dara Howell of Canada in the inaugural women's freestyle skiing slopestyle. Several skiers crashed out spectacularly, including Howell's compatriot and favourite Kaya Turski, who did not qualify, and fellow Canadian Yuki Tsubota, who appeared to suffer a serious injury on her second run of the final.

The result strengthened Canada's place at the top of the overall medals' table with four golds.

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