Brakewoman Pittman and pilot Astrid Radjenovic saved their best for last in the fourth and final heat, notching a 58.37 second run to climb one spot to 14th overall in an event won by the Canadian team of Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse.
The Australians’ time was the eighth-fastest of the fourth and final heats, leaving them more than satisfied with their efforts.
Afterwards, Pittman still said she was tossing up whether she would return to the track to prepare for the 400m at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, before again preparing for another bobsleigh tilt at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
One thing that does seem certain, though, is that Pittman will have to find a different pilot in four years’ time. After the Aussies’ final heat, Radjenovic indicated that retirement loomed as she focused on the next stage of her life … starting a family.
Brooklee handles the short program
Australia’s Brooklee Han has qualified for the free program of the women’s individual figure skating after overcoming an early error in her short program.
Han, 18, wasn’t able to successfully complete her first jump — a triple toeloop plus double toeloop — but she compensated later in her routine with the addition of a double back.
It was enough for Han to secure sixth place, advancing her to the free program to be held tomorrow night.
“I had a little wobble at the beginning of the program,” Han told the Australian Olympic team’s website. “I don’t know what I was thinking.
“In the crossover into the triple toe I had to pick up speed and unfortunately I wasn’t able to get the triple toe perfectly out there. But then I was able to fight through and do a triple loop and tack a combination on there. So I was happy that I could think as I was going.”
Russia bundled out of ice hockey
In a major shock, Russia has been knocked out of the men’s ice hockey at the quarter-final stage, losing 3-1 to Finland overnight.
The home team looked to be in control of the match after taking a 1-0 lead at the 07:51 of the first period, thanks to a goal from Ilya Kovalchuk. However, Finland equalised through Juhamatti Aaltonen in the dying stages of the first period, before securing the victory with two goals (Teemu Selanne, Mikael Granlund) in the second period.
Norweigan claims 13th Winter Olympics medal
Norway has won the first Olympic mixed relay in biathlon, with Ole Einar Bjoerndalen becoming the most decorated Winter Olympian ever with 13 medals.
Bjoerndalen broke the record he shared with cross country skiing great Bjoern Daehlie, also matching his fellow Norwegian’s record of eight gold medals.
Bjoerndalen earlier won gold in Sochi in the men’s sprint biathlon.
Bjoerndalen can win another medal in the final men’s biathlon event of the Sochi Games, the 4×7.5km relay on Saturday.
Tora Berger faulted twice, but Tiril Eckhoff, Bjoerndalen and Emil Hegle Svendsen all shot cleanly for Norway. They finished in one hour, nine minutes, 17 seconds.
Czech Republic was 32.6 second behind to win silver, and Italy came in 58.2 seconds behind for bronze.
In the men’s team sprint classic final, Finland took gold ahead of Russia and Sweden. The Australian team of Phillip Bellingham and Callum Watson was 12th in its semi final.
Sablikova claims third gold medal
The Czech Republic’s Martina Sabilkova claimed her second gold medal of the Sochi Olympics and the third of her career when she successfully defended her title in the women’s 5000m speed skating.
Sablikova’s time of 6 minutes 51.54 seconds was almost 10 seconds outside the world record she set in 2011, but it was still enough for her to comfortably win gold ahead of the Dutch duo of Ireen Wust (6:54.28) and Carien Kleibeuker (6:55.66).
Sablikova had earlier at Sochi won gold in the women’s 3000m.
Gold to the USA in men’s giant slalom
Ted Ligety won the USA’s seventh gold medal at Sochi, edging out Frenchmen Steve Missilier and Alexis Pinturault to win the men’s giant slalom.
Ligety, the gold medallist in the super-combined event at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, could only manage fifth in the super-combined and ninth in the giant slalom at Vancouver in 2010. And while his second run (1:24.21) in the giant slalom overnight was more than three seconds slower than his first run (1:21.08), it was still enough for him to claim a 0.48 second overall victory.
Australian Dominic Demschar finished 39th overall, more than eight seconds behind Ligety, while fellow Aussie Ross Peraudo failed to finish his second run.
— with AAP