What you missed in PyeongChang last night: Mikaela Shiffrin shines
Mikaela Shiffrin was finally able to ski after days of delays. The 22-year-old’s highly anticipated debut in the giant slalom went flawlessly. She captured gold and sets herself up nicely for a big Games, with the women’s slalom event tomorrow. She is just getting started, as the skier could race in as many as five events.
The figure skating pairs event also concluded in Primetime. German pair Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot captured gold. It’s Savchenko’s fifth Olympics, and she left with bronze medals in each of the last two Games.
Yun Sung-Bin dominated the first two runs of the men’s skeleton event. The South Korean set a track record in both runs. He made news earlier in the week by not taking all of his practice runs as to not give away his line.
Golden girl shines in giant slalom
Mikaela Shiffrin delivered in her first race of the 2018 Games. The 22-year-old captured gold with a combined time of 2 minutes, 20.02 seconds. After weather delayed the event (and the slalom race), it was a perfect day for racing.
After the first run, the American was in second by .20 seconds with a time of 1:10.82. It was a good, clean run by Shiffrin. She was a bit more reserved than Italy’s Manuela Moelgg, but she put herself in position to make up the difference in the second run.
In Shiffrin’s second run, she took more chances, and it paid off. She made up the time on Moelgg, bettering her first run by 1.62 seconds. Moelgg ended up having a poor second run and finishing off the podium. In her six World Cup giant slalom wins, Shiffrin had never trailed to overtake the leader.
Shiffrin becomes the first American to win the women’s giant slalom at an Olympics since Julia Mancuso in 2006. She is only the third American to win two career Alpine skiing gold medals, joining Andrea Mead Lawrence and Ted Ligety.
Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel took silver, while Italy’s Federica Brignone won bronze.
Shiffrin had talked about potentially contending for five gold medals. She is off to a good start, as the giant slalom isn’t even her best event. Shiffrin has won World Cup races on back-to-back days five times in her career, including twice this season. The 22-year-old will now defend her Olympic slalom title later tonight (8 p.m. ET).
Home track advantage
Yun Sung-Bin leads the men’s skeleton after two dominating runs. He is .74 seconds ahead of second place (a large gap for skeleton). If Yun keeps up his dominating performance he could be South Korea’s first medalist in a sliding sport (skeleton, bobsled or luge).
Nikita Tregubov, an Olympic Athlete from Russia, is in second place. Latvia’ Martins Dukurs is in third place. Dukurs won silver in Sochi.
Americans Matt Antoine, who won bronze in Sochi, and John Daly, finished Day 1 in 11th and 13th, respectively.
Antoine had a much better second run but still sits .91 seconds out of a medal position. On the first run, he hit the wall coming out of the infamous ninth turn and struggled down the track.
Daly was attempting to avenge his fourth place finish in Sochi, but a medal would be very unlikely at this point. He says he wants to go out and enjoy his two runs tomorrow because he doesn’t know if he’ll ever get another run in the Olympic again. Never say never – Daly came out of retirement in order to race in PyeongChang.
Yun set a track record with a time of 50.28 seconds. He took .21 seconds off in his second run. The South Korean strategically only took two training runs this week in an attempt to hide his lines from competitors.
Competition resumes on Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Worth the wait
Aliona Savchenko finally won gold in her fifth Olympic appearance in the figure skating pairs event. It was her first time competing with partner Bruno Massot. Savchenko had previously won two bronze medals in 2010 and 2014. She now ties the medal record in Olympic pairs skating with three medals.
In their free skate, they notched the highest score ever recorder under the IJS at 159.31 points, bringing their total score to 235.90 points.
China’s Sui Wnjing and Han Cong led the field after the short progam on Tuesday. However, the duo had a rough start to their free skate program, which allowed for the German pair to win gold.
Megan Duhamel and Eric Radford from Canada had a free skate for the ages. Duhamel is known for being too calculated during her routines but was able to let go and perform an emotional piece to Adele lyrics. They were the first pair to execute a quad throw Salchow at an Olympic Games.
Americans Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim ended up 15th overall with 185.82 points. The duo can leave PyeongChang happy though after competing four programs in just a week, winning bronze in the team event.
The Canada vs. U.S. women’s hockey game lived up to expectations. Ultimately, Canada defeated the U.S., 2-1.
Meghan Agosta and Sarah Nurse each scored for Canada. The win secured the top seed for Canada in the semifinals.
A critical moment came with 14:08 left in the second period. Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson took a penalty shot for the U.S. However, she hooked the puck high of the net at the last second.
Kendall Coyne scored the lone American goal of the game. The two teams are likely to see each other again in the gold medal match.
Crazy crashes in snowboard cross
France’s Pierre Vaultier defended his gold medal in men’s snowboard cross. Australia’s Jarryd Huges took home the silver, and Spain’s Regino Hernandez won bronze.
American snowboarders Nick Baumgartner and Mick Dierdorff finished just off the podium in fourth and fifth places after they crashed on the same jump in the final.
The semifinal the Americans were in was chaotic. Five of the six racers ended up crashing. Baumgartner crashed near the beginning of the race and thought he was done. However, because he crashed so early, he was able to recover when the rest of the riders crashed on the final turn. Dierdorff was able to recover the fastest from the second crash to claim the third spot, advancing from the semifinals race.
It further proved the sport’s reputation that in snowboard cross, it’s really anyone’s race in any round.
U.S. bounces back with win in women’s curling
The U.S. had a tall task facing medal favorites Great Britain. It was a back and forth game. The U.S. was down 1-0 after the first end. But in the third, they responded, taking the lead 2-1. Great Britain again took the lead, but the U.S. regained the lead in the sixth end with a risky move.
Skip Nina Roth elected to throw through the house in the fifth in order to maintain the hammer in the sixth end. Roth was then able to land her hammer throw in the sixth to take a 4-3 lead for Team USA. The team would end up winning 7-4.
The U.S. improves to 1-1 overall with eight games remaining. Elsewhere, Japan defeated Denmark by a score of 8-5. Korea topped Canada 8-6. In the last game, Team OAR beat China, 7-6, in extras.
Norway shines in the women’s 10km
Ragnhild Haga captured the gold medal, and Marit Bjorgen took home the bronze in the women’s 10km individual. Marit Bjorgen moves into a tie for the most Olympic medals in cross-country skiing with 12 all-time.
A rare tie for bronze caused it to be a four-skier podium. Finland’s Krista Parmakoski tied Bjorgen for bronze. Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla earned silver, her second medal of the 2018 Games.
The Americans were hoping to end a 42-year Olympic medal draught in the sport. Even though the streak continues, it wasn’t all bad for the Americans. Jessie Diggins had an impressive race, finishing fifth overall in 25 minutes, 35.7 seconds.
Hanna Oeberg pulls off upset for Olympic gold
Sweden’s Hanna Oeberg was perfect in the women’s biathlon 15km individual. Perfection deserves gold, and that’s exactly what she got. She finished with a time of 41 minutes, 7.2 seconds. Oeberg was one of 87 biathletes to shoot clean in the 15km individual. She becomes the first Swedish woman to win the event.
Laura Dahlmeier, who won gold in the first two women’s biathlon events, won bronze. Slovakian biathlete Anastasiya Kuzmina earned the silver medal. Dahlmeier’s bronze medal is Germany’s fifth biathlon medal of the PyeongChang Games.
American Susan Dunklee finished a disappointing 19th.
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