Day 1 of the 2014 Winter Olympics was an epic start to what is sure to be a fantastic spectacle from Sochi, Russia.
Norway jumped out to an early lead in the Games with two gold medals and four overall. Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and Marit Bjoergen dominated their respective events en route to top-podium finishes, while Canada and the Netherlands turned in strong performances to tie for second.
The United States grabbed a gold and a bronze, with the top prize belonging to Sage Kotsenburg.
Here is a look at the full medal count with Day 1 in the books, followed by an individual breakdown of each event:
Snowboard Men's Slopestyle
|6||Jamie Nicholls||Great Britain||85.50|
|10||Billy Morgan||Great Britain||39.75|
The first gold medal of the Sochi Olympics went to the United States.
Despite the pre-event favorites being Canadians Max Parrot, Mark McMorris and Sebastien Toutant after Shaun White's decision to drop out, it was Sage Kotsenburg who rose above the rest of the field to bring home the hardware.
Kotsenburg posted a stellar 93.50 mark after a fantastic run, and he was followed by Staale Sandbech (91.75) and the aforementioned Morris (88.75) on the podium, as Kate Pettersen of CBC captures:
The Americans now have a major advantage going into the halfpipe event, as White has won the last two gold medals. The rivalry between the Americans and Canadians may prove to be a lopsided one if the start to the action in Sochi is any indication.
Ladies' Skiathlon 7.5-Kilometer Classic and 7.5-Kilometer Free
|Place||Competitor (Country)||Classic (Rank)||Pit (Rank)||Free (Rank)||Total Time (Min./Sec.)||Behind|
|1||Marit Bjoergen (Norway)||19:10.6 (1)||35.1 (T-26)||18:47.1 (1)||38:33.6||—|
|2||Charlotte Kalla (Sweden)||19:11.6 (3)||33.5 (4)||18:50.3 (2)||38:35.4||+1.8|
|3||Heidi Weng (Norway)||19:12.0 (4)||33.7 (T-5)||19:01.1 (4)||38:46.8||+13.2|
|4||Therese Johaug (Norway)||19:11.5 (2)||35.7 (T-31)||19:01.0 (3)||38:48.2||+14.6|
|5||Aino-Kaisa Saarinen (Finland)||19:12.4 (5)||34.2 (9)||19:02.3 (5)||38:48.9||+15.3|
|6||Justyna Kowalczyk (Poland)||19:12.9 (6)||39.6 (53)||19:37.2 (10)||39:29.7||+56.1|
|7||Kerttu Niskanen (Finland)||19:17.4 (7)||32.0 (1)||19:45.9 (14)||39:35.3||+1:01.7|
|8||Jessie Diggins (USA)||20:01.7 (27)||34.3 (T-10)||19:29.5 (8)||40:05.5||+1:31.9|
|9||Emma Wiken (Sweden)||19:48.5 (14)||33.8 (7)||19:44.9 (13)||40:07.2||+1:33.6|
|10||Masako Ishida (Japan)||19:24.4 (8)||34.3 (T-10)||20:09.6 (27)||40:08.3||+1:34.7|
Thanks to a strong showing from three athletes, Norway stole the show at the Ladies' Skiathlon to help kick off the Sochi medal race.
Marit Bjoergen stole the show with her 38:33.6 final time but was followed closely by fellow Norwegian Heidi Weng, who came in third place with a total time of 38:46.8.
In turn, Weng hardly slipped by for bronze with her fellow Norway ally Therese Johaug close on her heels to finish fourth—and 1.4 seconds behind what would have been a bronze medal.
As expected, it was an emotional day for the Norwegian team, as Mattias Karen of the Associated Press details:
Bjoergen's win was rather predictable after her five total medals in the Vancouver Games, a number she may be able to surpass on her current pace, as Nick Zaccardi of NBCOlympicTalk.com illustrates:
Marit Bjoergen (NOR) wins first of what could be record six medals at single Winter Games. Gold in XC skiathlon.— Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) February 8, 2014
Jessie Diggins was the top American representative and finished in eighth place thanks to a tremendous performance after the pit stop.
Men's 5,000-Meter Speedskating
|Rank||Pair||Competitor (Country)||Time (Min./Sec.)||Behind|
|1||10||Sven Kramer (Netherlands)||6:10.76||—|
|2||12||Jan Blokhuijsen (Netherlands)||6:15.71||+4.95|
|3||11||Jorrit Bergsma (Netherlands)||6:16.66||+5.90|
|4||12||Bart Swings (Belgium)||6:17.79||+7.03|
|5||11||Sverre Lunde Pedersen (Norway)||6:18.84||+8.08|
|6||7||Denis Yuskov (Russia)||6:19.51||+8.75|
|7||8||Ivan Skobrev (Russia)||6:19.83||+9.07|
|8||13||Patrick Beckert (Germany)||6:21.18||+10.42|
|9||6||Havard Bokko (Norway)||6:22.83||+12.07|
|10||6||Moritz Geisreiter (Germany)||6:24.79||+14.03|
It was a clean sweep for the Netherlands at Adler Arena Skating Center in the men's 5000-meter event as Sven Kramer led the way for the all-Dutch podium.
The result was not exactly a shock, as Kramer won the gold at the event in Vancouver, too. Perhaps more importantly, his total time of 6:10.76 set an Olympic record, as Jared S. Hopkins of the Chicago Tribune explains:
Sven Kramer set a new Olympic record time and earned his second straight Olympic Gold in the 5,000, 4 first time since 84\84— Jared S. Hopkins (@JaredSHopkins) February 8, 2014
Jan Blokhuijsen (6:15.71) and Jorrit Bergsma (6:16.66) rounded out the podium for the silver and bronze, respectively.
America's best shot to medal was Jonathan Kuck, who was blown away by his running mate Kramer. He finished 19th.
Looking ahead, one can easily see Kramer, who was simply a class above the rest on Saturday, win all three gold medals with two more events to go.
Men's 10-Kilometer Sprint
|Rank||Name||Start Time||Shooting||Total Penalties||Time||Behind|
|1||Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (Norway)||18:42:00||0+1||1||24:33.5||0.0|
|2||Dominik Landertinger (Austria)||18:37:30||0+0||0||24:34.8||+1.3|
|3||Jaroslav Soukup (Czech Republic)||18:50:00||0+0||0||24:39.2||+5.7|
|4||Anton Shipulin (Russia)||18:54:00||0+1||1||24:39.9||+6.4|
|5||Jean-Philippe Le Guellec (Canada)||19:02:30||0+0||0||24:43.2||+9.7|
|6||Martin Fourcade (France)||18:49:30||1+0||1||24:45.9||+12.4|
|7||Simon Eder (Austria)||18:45:00||0+0||0||24:47.2||+13.7|
|8||Ondrej Moravec (Czech Republic)||18:33:00||0+0||0||24:48.1||+14.6|
|9||Emil Hegle Svendsen (Norway)||18:44:30||0+1||1||25:02.8||+29.3|
|10||Jakov Fak (Slovenia)||19:06:00||0+0||0||25:06.5||+33.0|
At the crisp age of 40, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen was simply faster on the skis and more accurate with a rifle than the rest of the competition as he won his record-tying 12th Winter Olympic medal and gold No. 7, as the Australian Olympic Committee illustrates:
OLE! Norway bags 2nd #biathlon Gold! Ole Einar Bjoerndalen wins his 7th Olympic gold in a career that began at Nagano 1998. Sensational— AUS Olympic Team (@AUSOlympicTeam) February 8, 2014
Bjoerndalen shot just one penalty and still saw his total time of 24:33.5 best the field.
Austria's Dominik Landertinger grabbed the silver with a 24:34.8 mark, while the Czech Republic's Jaroslav Soukup was able to outlast the competition thanks to an error-free run with his rifle and a 24:39.2 total.
This particular biathlon event remains the lone Winter Olympic sport in which the United States has never won a medal, as Tim Burke ended the day in 19th place.
It was the Dufour-Lapointe show in the women's Moguls event to conclude Day 1 of the Winter Games.
Canada's Justine Dufour-Lapointe took home the top prize thanks to a sound 22.44 score, while her sister, Chloe, was not far behind with a total score of 21.66.
Hannah Kearney of the United States had a rather disappointing overall performance and finished in third to round out the podium with a bronze medal. She was arguably the favorite as the defending champion and top-ranked woman in the world.
Note: All info courtesy of Sochi2014.com unless otherwise specified.