NEWS ALERT: Veteran Swiss downhiller Didier Defago won the mens downhill today (Feb. 15) over Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway and American Bode Miller. Miller had last medaled in 2002. Other news: Injured American favorite Lindsey Vonn is back on skis training. Details later.

Canada won its first gold in a skiing event Sunday as the 2010 Vancouver Games continued into its third day of competition.

"These athletes separate themselves from the rest of us by ... a stunning, freakish love of high speed," NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams said the other evening. "They're not like us."

Amen to that, brothers and sisters.

Among the many things that the quadrennial Olympic pageant showcases are the phenomenal skill and single-minded devotion that most of the athletes display to their sport.

Soap opera drama that television seems always to inject into its coverage is a bit much.

The profiles on these amazing athletes, however, are fascinating.

Apollo Ohno works out four times a day, two hours each session.

He's not unique.

That's what it takes to play with the best in the world.

Let's give NBC good marks so far for its coverage, and for its team of anchors and reporters.

Three skiing events resulted in medals Sunday.

Frenchman Vincent Jay won the Olympic men's 10km biathlon sprint gold on Sunday, edging out Norway's Emil Hegle Svendsen and Croatia's Jakov Fak.

Jason Lamy-Chappuis of France won the gold medal in Sunday's Olympic Games Nordic Combined with American Johnny Spillane taking silver and Italian Alessandro Pittin the bronze.

Alexandre Bilodeau won Canada's first gold medal in men's freestyle moguls. Dale Begg-Smith of Australia won silver, and Bryon Wilson of America won bronze.

Two other medal events took place Sunday: women's 3,000 meter speed skating; and men's singles luge.

Medals events Monday, Feb. 15 are women's 10k freestyule cross county skiing; men's downhill; mens 15k cross country skiing; men's snowboard cross finals; pairs free skating; and men's 500 meter speed skating.

The 86th annual Harris Hill Ski Jumping Competition took place this weekend in Brattleboro, Vt., where people have been launching themselves into the air for generations. Seriously, Harris Hill has been around since 1922.

It's the only 90-meter jump in New England.

Like the Olympics, this event drew lots of attention.

One spectator said, "There's more snow here than at Cypress Mountain."

That may have been slight hyperbole, but only slight.

Another difference between Harris Hill and Vancouver?

Women jumped at Harris Hill. Not so at the Olympics, even though American jumper Lindsey Van held the distance record on the normal hill at Whistler until Saturday. She had jumped 105.5 meters. The Swiss gold medalist beat that by 2.5 meters.

IOC President Jacques Rogge inexplicably went against the unanimous-but-one vote of the International Ski Federation and barred the women jumpers from taking part in the 2010 Games.

More information: TV coverage; Schedule of events.