Sochi 2014 Results: Biggest Surprises and Disappointments from Day 2
The second full day of competition is winding down in Sochi and has, like most days in the Olympics, yielded a grab bag of results.
Some of those outcomes were surprising, and some—particularly if you're pulling for Team USA—were a little disappointing.
So what turned heads Sunday on the slopes, in the rink and around the tracks? Where did athletes strive to meet, but ultimately fall short of, these world-class expectations? Here's a rundown.
Surprise: Russia Holds a Rally
Coming into Day 2, Russia had no medals. When the day was over, it had four, though only one of them was gold.
Olga Graf grabbed Russia's first hardware of the Games, picking up a bronze medal in women's 3,000-meter speedskating.
Three medals followed soon after: Olga Vilukhina picked up a silver in the women's biathlon sprint, Albert Demchenko captured second place in the men's singles luge and the figure skating team topped it off with a gold.
It's still early, but Russia lags behind Norway, the Netherlands and Team USA in the medal standings.
Disappointment: Jason Brown, Team USA Stumble to Team Skating Bronze
On the eve of the men's free skate and with Team USA running third, the Americans announced Jason Brown would replace Jeremy Abbott, who faltered badly during the short program.
Brown faltered as well when he fell following a jump. Luckily, Team USA salvaged a bronze, but he finished fourth out of the five men's competitors.
But take heart, Jason. At the age of 19, your best years and competitions are still clearly in front of you.
Disappointment: Bode Miller Finishes Eighth
Put a cork in all those "ageless wonder" narratives. At 36 years old, Bode Miller, at least in an Olympics context, was not equal to the challenge Sunday.
Seeking his sixth Olympic medal, Miller was masterful on his training runs for the men's downhill. But a bad angle here and a small flag collision there doomed the run that counted most.
Ultimately, youth was served on the treacherous course, with 23-year-old Austrian Matthias Mayer pulling out the gold. Miller's eighth-place finish clearly held the most disappointment for him, as he hunched over and then sat in the snow, dejected, after it was over.
At least he can take solace in being one of the most famous American skiers in history.
Surprise: Claudia Pechstein Can't Complete Comeback, Yet
Bode Miller wasn't the only aging Olympic lion who came up short Sunday in Sochi.
German speedskater Claudia Pechstein, who will turn 42 before the closing ceremony, finished the 3,000-meter run without her 10th Olympic medal.
It was a surprise to many and a cold twist of fate for Pechstein. In 2009, she was suspended for two years after a controversial blood test revealed a cell abnormality—but no sign of performance-enhancing drugs. The suspension cost her the 2010 Games, a loss she worked feverishly to overcome by making it to Sochi.
Unfortunately for Pechstein, it wasn't to be, at least for now. She'll have one more chance on Feb. 19 when she competes in the 5,000-meter race.
Surprise: An Unlikely Slopestyle Sweep
Sunday's slopestyle winner came as a surprise to precisely no one. Californian Jamie Anderson was favored to take the gold, and that she did, thanks in part to two amazing 720s on her first run.
What did turn some heads was the fact that Team USA took top honors in both the men's and women's snowboard slopestyle. On Saturday, Sage Kotsenburg upset the men's field to bring home the gold circle and set the stage for an unlikely sweep. Anderson, running the anchor leg Sunday, brought it to fruition.
Disappointment: Berger, Norway Finish off the Podium in Women's Biathlon Sprint
Are you sitting down? I hope so. Either way, here goes: Norway finished out of the medal chase in a cross-country skiing-related event.
To date, the women's 7.5-kilometer sprint is the only event, biathlon or cross-country, in which the Norwegians have failed to medal in Sochi.
Most expected Tora Berger to medal, and many expected her to take the gold. But after missing the first shooting target, she struggled to a distant 10th in the event, 33.8 seconds behind the winner, Slovakia's Anastasiya Kuzmina, who won the gold in 2010 but was not widely predicted to medal in 2014.
Surprise: German Lugers Dominant, but Not THAT Dominant
Germany has a "Loch" on the luge competition. Felix Loch.
At only 24, Loch is as dominant a luger as there is, and he took home the gold for Germany Sunday in the men's singles event.
So where's the surprise? It came when the Germans didn't land another athlete on the medal podium to keep Loch company. They swept the world championships last year in Vancouver, but in Sochi, neither David Moller nor Andi Langenhan could break into the money.