What you missed in PyeongChang last night: Vonn's swan song, ladies' shaky starts
The ladies’ short program stole the show. Two teenagers competing for the Olympic Athletes from Russia are well above the rest of the competition. 18-year-old Yevgenia Medvedeva skated first and set a short program record for the ladies, earning an 81.61. The record didn’t last long when her teammate, 15-year-old Alina Zagitova, beat that record, earning an 82.92 to lead all skaters.
All three Americans, Mirai Nagasu, Karen Chen and Bradie Tennell, had rough starts to their routines. They all fell or put a hand down on their first jumping element. They all recovered to have clean skates and currently sit in 9th, 10th and 11th, respectively.
Lindsey Vonn raced in her final downhill race at the Olympics. She ended up with the bronze and was all smiles during the competition. Her good friend and biggest competition, Sofia Goggia, took home the gold. Vonn will compete in the combined event.
Twice as nice
Coming into the Olympics, everyone knew that Team OAR would dominant the top two positions in the ladies' event. It was just a matter of who would be first and who would be second between Alina Zagitova and Yevgenia Medvedeva. 15-year-old Zagitova recorded the highest short program score ever recorded, earning 89.92 to lead after the ladies’ short program. Medvedeva sits in second after skating flawlessly, earning a personal best of 81.61. OAR has yet to win a gold medal at these Games. Medvedeva is only 18 years old. She was unbeatable from November 2015 to January 2018, but her teammate is giving her a run for her money.
Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada skated her personal best of a 78.87. She currently sits in third after the ladies’ skate. Osmond has already won a gold medal in PyeongChang as part of Team Canada in the team event.
Mirai Nagasu currently leads the American contingent in ninth place. Nagasu earned a 66.93 after failing to land the triple Axel. She was the first American to land it at the Olympics in the team event.
Karen Chen sits in 10th right behing Nagasu after earning a score of 65.90. She comes to the Olympics as the 2017 U.S. National Champion and is making her Olympic debut. Chen is unique in the fact that she choreographed her program.
Bradie Tennell was the very first skater to perform, which can be a challenge in itself. She won nationals right before the Olympics. She is known for her consistency and last night fell for the first time in such a long time that she couldn’t remember her last fall. After her fall on the opening comibination, she skated cleanly, earning a 64.01. She currently sits in 11th.
The free skate will pick up on Thursday, Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. ET.
Vonn’s last hoorah
Italy’s Sofia Goggia won the women’s downhill. Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel was the surprising silver medalist. Lindsey Vonn claimed bronze in what is likely her final downhill event at an Olympics.
Vonn waited a long eight years for a chance to race the women’s downhill in the Olympics. Before the race, she said she felt healthy for the first time competing in the downhill at the Olympics (in Torino she crashed in training).
Vonn wasn’t disappointed with third and displayed plenty of class as she waited for the rest of her competitors. For a while it looked like she would win silver until Norway’s Mowinckel raced in the 19th spot. Vonn’s bronze makes her the oldest female Olympic medalist in Alpine skiing history. It was her third Olympic medal and second in downhill (she won gold in the 2010 downhill, bronze in the 2010 super-G). With the bronze medal she also becomes the first American with multiple medals in the women’s downhill.
Goggia is the first Italian woman to win the gold medal in the downhill. She won the Olympic downhill test event last year in PyeongChang. Goggia was largely considered Vonn’s biggest competition. Vonn and Goggia highly respect each other, and their friendship is well documented.
Mowinckel is the first women with multiple medals in the Alpine events at these Games since she also won silver in the giant slalom. Previously, Mowinckel’s best downhill result in World Cup was sixth place.
The rest of the Americans had strong performances. Alice McKennis finished in fifth as the next highest American behind Vonn. Breezy Johnson finished in seventh and Laurenne Ross came in 15th overall.
Worth the wait
The U.S. won its first ever cross-country skiing gold medal after Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins won the women’s team sprint. It was the first women's cross-country medal of any type won by the U.S. They were the first U.S. athletes, male or female, to earn a medal in cross-country skiing since 1976, ending a 42 year drought. This marks just the second ever cross-country medal for the U.S.
Team USA earned the first-place position in the finals after Diggins and Randall skied the fastest overall time during the semifinals. In the final, Diggins and Randall faced off against a Norwegian team that coasted in the semifinal and Sweden who was significantly slower in the semis.
The race came down to a sprint bewtween Diggins and Sweden’s Stina Nilsson. Diggins just edged her out at the finish line.
The silver medal is Kalla’s fourth medal of the Games, and it was the third medal for Nilsson.
Norway’s Marit Bjorgen and Maiken Caspersen Falla took home the bronze. It is a significant medal for Bjorgen. It marks her 14th career Olympic medal, making her the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time, male or female. It was Norway’s 12th medal of the Games, with many of them coming in cross-country.
Big air debut
Men’s snowboard big air made its Olympic debut. Americans Red Gerard, Kyle Mack and Chris Corning all qualified for the final.
The qualifying round saw big tricks and one gold medal favorite eliminated in Marcus Kleveland. Triple corks were the favorite trick to attempt in the qualifying round.
Max Parrot scored the highest score of the first heat, with two front side triple cork 1440s. Gerard, Mack and Corning all landed backside triple cork 1440s. Mack scored the highest of the Americans with a score of 88.75. The challenge for 17-year-old Gerard was to refocus after winning the slopestyle gold medal early in the Olympics. He actually flew back to the U.S. after winning and returned to PyeongChang before the qualifying round.
The second heat saw higher scores with harder tricks to earn a top six spot. The top five out of six all landed 1620s. The final will be held Friday night in the U.S. Parrot and McMorris are heavy medal favorites.
The lone American not to advance was Ryan Stassel. Five of Team USA’s 13 medals at these Games have come in snowboarding so far.
The Czech Republic eliminated the United States men's hockey team from the Olympics with a 3-2 victory in a shootout in the quarterfinals. The Czech Republic will play Team OAR in the semifinals.
Czech goalie Pavel Francouz stopped all five USA shot attempts in the shootout. Offensively, Petr Koukal scored the only goal in the shootout.
Ryan Donato scored his fifth goal of the tournament, which is the most of the tournament. His first period goal meant that he would surpass his father, Ted, for career Olympic goals. Jim Slater scored USA’s first short-handed goal of the tournament. Slater, 35, played 10 seasons in the NHL for Atlanta and Winnipeg.
In the other quarterfinal game of the night, OAR defeated Norway in a 6-1 win. After losing its first game of the tournament, OAR has outscored its opponents 18-3 in the three subsequent games. Six different OAR players scored a goal against Norway.
Brady Leman won gold in the unpredictable men’s ski cross. World Cup leader Marc Bischofberger took silver. In his Olympic debut, Olympic Athlete from Russia Sergey Ridzik finished with the bronze.
The 1/8 final races proved to be the most dangerous and unpredictable races of the night. Three skiers were taken off the course in stretchers. First, Frenchman Terence Tchiknavorian broke his tibia.
Next, Christoph Wahrstoetter crashed into the safety fences. He appeared to be unconscious at one point but regained consciousness and was taken to the hospital.
Lastly, three-time Olympian Chris Del Bosco crashed very hard off a jump in the last heat of the 1/8 finals. He was taken to the hospital and is suspected to have a broken pelvis.
Reigning gold medalist Jean Frederic Chapuis got knocked out in the quarterfinals, ensuring a new champion would be named.
In the final, there was an early crash knocking out Ridzik and Canadian Kevin Drury. It was a two-man race between Leman, who came in fourth in Sochi, and Bischofberger. Ultimately, Leman was victorious.
Bronze medal game
Finland beat Team OAR 3-2 in the bronze medal game of the women’s hockey tournament. 44-year-old Riikka Valila became the oldest medalist in Olympic hockey history, men’s or women’s.
Valila isn’t just a symbolic teammate; she played more than 25 minutes in the bronze medal game. She led all Finnish forwards in ice time. She scored four goals in PyeongChang, the second-most by any player in the tournament.
She wasn’t the only Finnish women making history in the game. Her teammate, goalie Noora Raty, set a record for most Olympic women’s hockey games played by a goalie.
This was Finland’s third bronze medal in Olympic women’s hockey. No other country has had more than one bronze medal in the event. USA and Canada will play in the gold medal match.
Women’s team pursuit
The Netherlands beat the USA in the semifinal of the women’s team pursuit. The USA will skate against Canada for the bronze medal.
Brittany Bowe did not skate in the semifinal, but is likely to skate in the bronze medal. The U.S. has not won an Olympic women’s speed skating medal since 2002.
Netherlands’ gold medal race will likely be the final Olympic race for Ireen Wuest, the most decorated Olympic speed skater in history.
Norway wins again
Norway won gold in the men’s team sprint. It is Norway’s 13th cross country skiing medal at these Games. Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo won his third gold medal of the Games.
OAR won the silver medal, while France took home bronze. The U.S. finished sixth out of 10 teams, 20.72 behind the winner. Erik Bjornsen and Simi Hamilton competed for the U.S.
Team USA advanced to its first curling semifinals since 2006. The beat Great Britain 10-4. The U.S. had a record of 4-4 going into the game, and controlled their own destiny. If they won, they’d advance.
In other scores from the night, South Korea beat Japan 10-4. Canada topped Denmark 8-3. The win guaranteed Canada the two seed in the semifinals. In the last match, Norway beat Sweden 7-2.