SOCHI, Russia – It's time to party in Minsk.
Belarus won two Olympic gold medals and a bronze on Friday, equaling their haul from the entire Vancouver Games in a single day.
Alla Tsuper was a surprise winner in women's aerials. Darya Domracheva took gold and Nadezhda Skardino bronze in the women's 15-kilometer biathlon, the first time Belarus has taken two medals in the same event at a Winter Games.
"It's always been my dream to be on one podium with Darya. Now that dream has come true," Skardino said.
Belarus is a former Soviet republic that borders Russia and has a population of less than 10 million people. The country had nine total medals in five previous Winter Games and only one gold.
As unique as it was for the Belarussians to own a podium the way they did in biathlon, it was Tsuper's victory that really stood out. She finished eighth in Vancouver and planned on retiring after the Sochi Olympics. But her 98.01 score gave her the gold, and defending champion Lydia Lassila of Austria botched her landing to fall out of contention.
"I'm very happy to be Olympic champion," Tsuper said. "I was showing my fight and my power, that I could do everything and I put trust in myself. I was fortunate today, fortune was on my side."
— By Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski
Associated Press reporters are filing dispatches about happenings in and around Sochi during the 2014 Winter Games. Follow AP journalists covering the Olympics on Twitter: http://apne.ws/1c3WMiu