Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen became the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time after winning his 13th medal in the mixed relay in Sochi on Wednesday.

The 40-year-old surpassed the record he jointly held with his compatriot, now-retired cross-country skier Bjoern Daehlie, when he won gold with team-mates Tora Berger, Tiril Eckhoff and Emile Svendsen.

Bjoerndalen had matched Daehlie's record when he won the men's sprint on the opening Saturday of the Games. He could win a 14th medal in the men's relay on Saturday.

The Czech Republic team of Veronika Vitkova, Gabriela Soukalova, Jaroslav Soukup and Ondrej Moravec took silver, while Italians Dorothea Wierer, Karin Oberhofer, Dominik Windisch and Lukas Hofer claimed bronze.

Ted Ligety won his second Winter Olympics gold medal eight years after his first by powering to victory in the men's giant slalom.

Ligety, whose only triumph at the Games before Wednesday was in the combined at Turin 2006, was in a class of his own and laid the groundwork for his triumph with a first run that left him almost one second clear of the rest of the field.

The American overcame a couple of nervy moments in his final run to post an overall time of two minutes 45.29 seconds, which was enough to clinch top spot by 0.48secs ahead of runner-up Steve Missillier, whose fellow Frenchman Alexis Pinturault took bronze.

Finland secured gold in the cross country men's team sprint final after Sami Jauhojaervi held off the challenge of Russian Nikita Kriukov in the home straight, with Teodor Peterson earning a bronze medal for Sweden.

Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg and Marit Bjoergen led Norrway to victory in the women's event ahead of Finland and Sweden.

American brakeman Lauryn Williams was denied her place in history after defending champions Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse sealed gold for Canada in the woman's bobsleigh at the Sanki Sliding Center.

Williams appeared on course to go into the record books as only the second person to top the podium in both the Summer and Winter Games as she and pilot Elana Meyers held a comfortable lead overnight.

But Humphries and Moyse used all of their experience to produce a storming final run that Meyers and Williams could not match to triumph again by 0.10seconds, with fellow Americans Jamie Greubel and Aja Evans earning bronze.

Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic defended her speed skating 5,000m title, with a time of six minutes 51.54 seconds proving too quick for Dutchwoman Ireen Wust.

Carien Kleibeuker clocked six minutes 55.66 seconds to win bronze, giving Holland their 21st speed skating medal in Sochi.

Vic Wild claimed gold for hosts Russia in the men's snowboard parallel giant slalom final, minutes after seeing his wife Alena Zavarzina win bronze in the women's event.

US-born Wild, who became a Russian citizen two years ago, beat Nevin Galmarini in the big final at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, with Slovenia's Zan Kosir completing the podium.

Switzerland's Patrizia Kummer walked off with gold in the women's race after Tomoka Takeuchi of Japan fell in the second run of their showdown, with Zavarzina taking bronze in the small final before watching her husband's success.

Canada are assured of medals in both the men's and women's curling events after reaching their respective finals.

The men saw off China 10-6 and will now face Great Britain, who snatched a 6-5 victory over Sweden with the last stone.

Canada's women beat GB 6-3 to set up a final against defending champions Sweden, who were 7-5 victors over Switzerland.

South Korea star Kim Yu Na will head into Friday's free dance at the top of the leaderboard after impressing the judges in the women's figure skating short programme.

Kim was awarded a score of 74.92, giving her a slender advantage over Russia's Adelina Sotnikova (74.64) and Italian Carolina Kostner (74.12).

Home favourite Yulia Lipnitskaya fell during her routine and lies fifth on 65.23.