SOCHI, Russia – On the mountain in Krasnaya Polyana, an old Olympic champion made one last run to glory while a fresh face burst on to the scene.
Alexander Zubkov, the 39-year-old Russian, closed Monday night's action on the mountain with a dominant run in two-man bobsled. He teamed with Alexey Voevoda to blow the doors off the rest of the field for another gold medal for his home country and show the rest of the world that he still had something left.
Zubkov had not won an international two-man competition since the 2011 world championships, a string of 25 straight defeats. But he was in first place from start to finish at the Olympics and won the gold with a staggering 0.66-second cushion over the silver medalists from Switzerland.
"He had four perfect runs," Switzerland's Beat Hefti said. "He's the winner and that's OK."
While Zubkov was making one last brilliant run, 18-year-old American skier Mikaela Shiffrin was finishing up practice and preparing to make her highly anticipated Olympic debut.
With Lindsey Vonn out because of an injury, Shiffrin could become the new face of American skiing. She combines an analytical approach to breaking down a run with a daredevil's verve for pushing the limits, and she's been preparing for this moment ever since she first skied in a World Cup race at the age of 15.
"I think I'm the best prepared I could possibly be," she said on Monday.
— 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