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Olympics: Tretiakov wins men's skeleton

Alexander Tretiakov of Russia earned his country's fourth gold medal of the Sochi Olympics with victory in the men's skeleton.

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia: Alexander Tretiakov of Russia earned his country's fourth gold medal of the Sochi Olympics on Saturday with victory in the men's skeleton.

The 2013 world champion produced two more consistent rides to clock a combined time of 3min 44.29sec to finish 0.81sec ahead of second-placed two-time world champion Martins Dukurs of Latvia.

"I felt huge happiness after crossing the finishing line in the fourth run," Tretiakov said.

"It means my cycle of training wasn't in vain. My victory is the result of a lot of training and hard work. All the emotion suddenly came out at the end and I felt lightness and joy.

"This is a very important medal, it's a real medal and I'm happy to win it for my country."

The 28-year-old Russian, who led the event by 0.56sec after the two opening runs on Friday, failed to match the speed of five-time World Cup winner Dukurs in the third run as the gap was reduced to 0.54sec.

But in the last run, the 2010 bronze medallist was in command again and managed to increase his advantage over his Latvian rival, who earned a second consecutive Olympic silver medal.

"I did all four runs at my maximum. Technically I was good and the sled was the best," Dukurs said. "Maybe the start was not the best."

"In general I am very satisfied with all four runs. But competitors do exist, and you cannot know what their level will be. Alexander (Tretiakov) was just better today."

Matthew Antoine of the United States, who was fourth after the opening day, came from behind to leapfrog compatriot John Daly to win bronze with a time of 3min 47.26sec.

"We made an equipment change today and took a different approach," Antoine said.

"I had a pretty good feeling in the last run but you never really know until you see the clock. Once I saw it, it was pure celebration. This is definitely the best moment of my life."

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