Sochi (Russia) (AFP) - Japanese teenager Sara Takanashi was hoping to become the first Olympic Games women's ski jumping champion on Tuesday as Sochi organisers battled the enemy of all winter sports -- warm weather.
The 17-year-old Takanashi, the reigning World Cup champion, is favourite to crown the sport's 10-year fight to have the discipline feature on the Olympic programme.
"I have already decided everything tactically and I'm going to stick to it," said Takanashi.
In training so far at the RusSki Gorki Jumping Centre, the youngster has been pushed all the way by veteran Daniela Iraschko-Stolz, the openly gay Austrian who has been making headlines as much for her private life as for her prowess on the ski jump hill.
Reigning world champion Sarah Hendrickson has struggled in Sochi after fighting back after a knee operation five months ago.
But the 19-year-old was delighted to be named first to go down the normal hill when the trial run is held later Tuesday ahead of the two medal jumps.
"I am bib number one today. That means I will be the first girl EVER to ski jump in an Olympic event. ALL SMILES," tweeted the American.
"Shoot... should we be putting on make-up for the event tonight? Special occasion?"
Norway celebrated double gold in cross-country sprint with Maiken Caspersen Falla winning the women's title and Ola Vigen Hattestad the men's.
With Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg taking the silver in the women's event, Norway can now boast 102 medals in Olympic cross country skiing.
Oestberg dedicated her silver medal to her cousin who died in the bombings and shootings carried out by Anders Behring Breivik in Noway 2011.
Snowboarding star Shaun White made light of a difficult halfpipe to reach Tuesday night's final as he seeks a third successive gold.
The American finished top of the second heat with a score of 95.75. Japan's Taku Hiraoka was second on 92.25 and Danny Davis of the United States third (92.00).
- Snow can be a little challenging -
Canada's Dara Howell claimed the women's slopestyle ski gold after compatriot Kaya Turski, the world champion, crashed out in qualifying.
Devin Logan of the US won silver, Canada's Kim Lamarre claimed bronze while Canada's Yuki Tsubota was stretchered off the course after an ugly-looking fall on her final run and was treated for a jaw injury.
The Extreme Park has been deluged by criticism over its safety standards, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) defended the state of the halfpipe course, claiming that the mild winter temperatures could be a factor.
"It's always a problem when it is a little bit warm but there is no problem with the halfpipe itself," said IOC spokesman Mark Adams.Lee Sang-Hwa
"There is no suggestion that there is anything wrong with the halfpipe. As with events anywhere on snow when it is a little warm it can be a little challenging."
Temperatures rose Tuesday to 12 degrees Celsius (54 Fahrenheit) at sea level where stadium-based events are held and 5 degrees Celsius (41 Fahrenheit) at the mountain cluster which is hosting the alpine and nordic events.
"The events is running to schedule and the FIS (International Ski Federation) are used to this. There is plenty of snow, it is just a little bit warm. The next few days will be a little warm but not unbearable."
South Korea's Lee Sang-Hwa retained her 500m speed skating crown in a new Olympic record time.
Lee, 24, who has proved untouchable in 2013/14, winning all seven World Cup races she has entered, notched a combined time of 74.70sec from her two races.
Darya Domracheva of Belarus destroyed her Norwegian and Russian rivals in the women's 10 km biathlon pursuit to take her country's first gold at the Sochi Olympics.