2014 Winter Olympics Recap: Day 8
Course Fail It was in the 60s today in Sochi, and as a result, the alpine skiing courses are a disaster. Today was the women's Super G, where a whopping 18 skiers did not finish. Anna Fenninger of Austria took gold by .55 over Maria Hoefl-Riesch, but she was about the only person happy today about the race. Julia Mancuso finished 8th.
Two Stories of Exhilaration, Two of Heartbreak It is said the bronze medal winner is almost as happy as the gold, while the silver medalists is often heartbroken after coming so close. Men's skeleton shows that well. For Alexander Tretiakov, winning gold is a dream come true, in his home country no less. For Martins Dukurs of Latvia, silver is a disaster considering he was the favorite going in. For Matthew Antoine of the United States, bronze gives the excitement of standing on an Olympic podium. For most of the competition, Antoine was battling with countryman John Daly for that bronze, but Daly had a terrible last run and fell all the way to 15th place.
Impossibly Close It's burying the lead to mention Shani Davis's 11th place finish in the 1500 meters. The US were wearing their old uniforms today, so it looks like there's more troubling the American speed skating team than that. The real story was Zbiginew Brodka of Poland, who is Davis's pair took the lead with a 1:45.00 time. In the final pairing, Koen Verweij of the Netherlands also recorded a 1:45.00 time. The judges look at the next digit, and that showed that Brodka had won by just three thousandths of the second, 1:45.006 to 1:45.009. Denny Morrison of Canada took bronze for his second medal of the Games.
An Incredible Comeback Going into the final exchange of the women's cross country 4x5km relay, Sweden was 25 seconds back and it looked like a race between Finland and Germany for gold. No one told Charlotte Kalla that. Kalla crawled all the back during her anchor 5K to pass the other two for the gold in the final straightaway. Finland took silver and Germany bronze. The shock of the day was that heavily favored Norway was never in contention and finished fourth.
They Also Won Gold medals were won by Zhou Yang of China in women's 1500m short track, Victor An of Russia in men's 1000m short track, and Kamil Stoch of Poland in ski jumping large hill. Stoch has swept the individual ski jumping competitions.
Today in Hockey In addition to the USA's dramatic win, Slovenia won its first ever Olympic hockey game, defeating Slovakia 3-1. Switzerland picked up an upset win of the Czech Republic 1-0 on the strength of Jonas Hiller's second shutout of the tournament. Sweden dodged an upset bid by Latvia in a 5-3 win. Group C is complete with Sweden finishing first and thus getting a bye to the quarterfinals. Switzerland finishes 2nd and is still eligible for the last bye into the quarters. The Czechs and Latvia finish 3rd and 4th and must play the qualifying round.
The women's tournament held its quarterfinals today. Switzerland eliminated the hosts 2-0, while Sweden upset Finland 4-2. The United States will next face Sweden, the team that eliminated them in 2006, while Switzerland plays Canada.
Today in Curling It's really not Team USA's tournament. The women's team lost again, this time 7-6 to Sweden after the Swedes scored two in the final end. The men mercifully did not play today. Overall on the men's side, Sweden and China have started 6-1 and have clinched spots in the playoffs. Canada and Great Britain are both 5-2 and are looking good for the other two spots. 3-3 Norway is the only team with any real chance of getting in there. The US is actually in 6th right now.
On the women's side, Canada is 7-0 and are in the playoffs, and right now look almost unstoppable. Sweden is second at 5-2, followed by three times at 4-3: Switzerland, Great Britain, and China. 3-4 Russia are still in it as always. The US is 1-6 and in dead last.
Medal Count Hockey disappointment aside, look who now have the most total medals, the Russians. Germany still has the most golds, while Poland has the best medal "record" so to speak. Of their four medals, all are gold.
1. Russia 15 (4 G, 6 S, 5 B)
2. Netherlands 14 (4 G, 4 S, 6 B)
3. United States 14 (4 G, 3 S, 7 B)
4. Norway 13 (4 G, 3 S, 6 B)
5. Germany 12 (7 G, 3 S, 2 B)
6. Canada 12 (4 G, 5 S, 3 B)
On Tap Men's hockey concludes its preliminary round with four games: Austria-Norway, Russia-Slovakia, Slovenia-United States, and Finland-Canada. Ice dancing begins with the short dance, a continuation of the rivalry between the Canadian duo and the American duo. The men take to Super G. We'll see if the course can handle it. Medals will also be awarded in biathlon (men's 15km mass start), cross country (men's 4x10km relay), snowboarding (women's snowboard cross), and speed skating (women's 1500 meters). If you're a masochist, you can watch the US men's curling team get their butts kicked by Canada and Sweden, and the women's team by Canada. Finally, bobsleigh gets underway, the last sport of the Games to start, with the first two runs of two-man. Yes, that means tomorrow is the day for the Jamaican team.
I won't be around tomorrow, so here's the Presidents Day schedule. It's women's hockey semifinal day, and medals will be awarded in biathlon (women's 12.5km mass start), bobsleigh (two-man), figure skating (ice dancing), freestyle skiing (men's aerials), ski jumping (team), and snowboarding (men's snowboarding cross).