The 2014 Winter Olympics are now in full swing and the most medals in a single day were just handed out. Eight events reached their conclusion on Day 2 of the Sochi Games and subsequently awarded precious metals to the top teams or competitors.
It was one of the most exciting days of Olympic action thus far and should be a sign of things to come. There were so many races that came down to a fraction of a second and competitions that were decided by a miniscule amount of points from the judges.
That just proves that athletes must be razor-sharp and capitalize on an opportunity that only comes around once every four years. Let’s take a look at which ones were able to do so and are now taking home medals on Day 2 of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Women’s Snowboarding: Slopestyle
|Gold||Jamie ANDERSON||United States||95.25|
|Bronze||Jenny JONES||Great Britain||87.25|
The United States simply dominated the new slopestyle event at Sochi, winning gold in the men’s and now women’s events thanks to the efforts of Jamie Anderson.
The 23-year-old star was exceedingly brilliant on her second run, wowing the judges and earning an eye-popping score of 95.25.
Sochi’s official Twitter feed sent out a picture of the scoreboard at the end of the event:
While Anderson was a heavy favorite when she took to the course at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, it was impressive that she dealt with the pressure and managed to live up to such lofty expectations.
As per Rachel Axon of USA Today, the California native had this to say after her victory:
I was really passionate and determined to come out here and do my best and do everything I can to be my strongest and most grounded, calm self, even with the hype of everything on the outside world. It just feels out of control. I can't even explain what I'm processing right now.
Jenny Jones cannot be upset with her third-place performance, as she became the first British athlete to medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics. The 33-year-old can finally add an Olympic medal to a trophy case that includes numerous X Games wins.
Enni Rukajarvi rounded out the podium with a second-place finish, a solid performance that was just shy of being as impressive as Anderson’s.
Women’s Biathlon: 7.5-Kilometer Sprint
Anastasiya Kuzmina continued her reign at the top of the women’s biathlon. The 2010 gold medal-winner defended her medal with a blazing fast time of 21:06.8 during the 7.5-kilometer sprint on Sunday.
The Laura Biathlon Center hosted a great race, but Kuzmina could not be stopped. She did not miss a single shot and crushed the rest of the field, finishing 19.9 seconds ahead of Olga Vilukhina—a 25-year-old representing the host nation in her first Olympic competition.
BBC Sport noted that the Slovak star gave her all to win this gold:
Vilukhina narrowly edged Ukranian Vita Semerenko, who posted a final score of 21 minutes, 28.5 seconds.
America didn’t fare too well in this event, with Team USA’s Susan Dunklee coming in 14th place.
Men’s Luge: Singles
Felix Loch is widely regarded as the best athlete in the world when it comes to the luge and he showed why yet again during his final runs during the medal round of the men’s luge singles event in Sochi.
The German superstar compiled the best marks of all competitors over the course of four runs, posting a three minute and 27.526-second composite time.
While eventual silver medalist Albert Demchenko of Russia provided some drama by winning the first run, Loch stepped up his game and emerged victorious on the next three heats.
Is Zoeggeler's performance one of Day 2's best stories?
Approximately one half second separated these two elite athletes over the course of four trips down the track, showing just how perfect each run must be in order to win a gold after four years of training.
Armin Zoeggeler, a 40-year-old veteran, defied Father Time with a bronze medal showing. His composite time of 3.28.797 had him in the running throughout the evening, but he was never a threat to Loch’s supremacy.
Christopher Mazdzer was the top American in Sochi’s singles luge, but he wasn’t anywhere near the podium. He finished in 13th with a time of 3:29.954.
Men’s Cross-Country: Skiathlon 15-Kilometer Classic + 15-Kilometer Free
|Bronze||Martin Johnsrud SUNDBY||Norway||1:08:16.8|
This competition came right down to the wire.
Dario Cologna’s late charge helped the Swiss earn another medal in Sochi, as he personally made a drastic improvement over his last Olympic performance.
The 27-year-old is the current world skiathlon champion, but finished a mere 13th in Vancouver four years. It was looking like it would be more of the same result on Sunday, as Cologna was in 13th-place at the end of the classic portion of this race.
However, once the free portion of the event began, no one was going to stop this Swiss star.
He charged hard and had a second wind during the final kilometer, barely edging Marcus Hellner and Martin Johnsrud Sundby to cross the finish line in first.
Cologna had to overcome a troublesome ankle to win this event, which is likely why Dr. Boris Gojanovic, head of sports medicine at the Swiss Olympic Medical Center, was quick to congratulate the winner:
Dario Cologna!!! Unbelievable perfomance!!! #hoppschwiiz GOLD skiathlon— Dr Boris Gojanovic (@DrSportSante) February 9, 2014
Hellner will have to settle for silver after winning gold in Canada during the last Winter Olympics. Sundby was fortunate to reach the podium, as he edged out Russian Maxim Vylegzhanin by a tenth of a second.
Men’s Alpine: Downhill
American’s will be sad to learn that longtime downhill star Bode Miller failed to earn a medal for his efforts in this event at Sochi.
However, anyone who tuned in was treated to a thrilling competition in which an underdog upset the rest of the field to claim gold.
Austria’s Matthias Mayer went down the mountain early and set a mark that could not be bested by the favorites. He nudged Christoh Innerhofer of Italy by 0.06 seconds to post the best time of the final round.
Sochi 2014 tweeted out a photo of the crowd after Mayer completed his improbable victory:
Kjetil Jansrud of Norway was the third-place finisher with a run of 2:06.33, also just failing to overcome Mayer’s top time.
The aging Miller wasn’t a favorite in this, but fans in the United States were hoping that he could pull out an improbable gold performance at the age of 36. It would have been the longtime stars’ sixth Olympic medal, but it was not to be.
He finished eight with a time of 2:06.75 after failing to maintain a good pace in the middle of the course.
Figure Skating: Team Trophy Day 3
Men’s Free Program
|Position||Country||Name||Total Segment Score||Team Points|
Plyuschenko was downright incredible during the men’s free portion of the team figure skating competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The 31-year-old is extremely old by figure skating standards, but showed up his younger competition and dazzled the crowd with an array of technically difficult and beautifully executed moves.
As per Richard Demak of Sports Illustrated, this Russian superstar actually skated to a medley known as the “Best of Plyushchenko”:
Plyushchenko skated well, making the most of his opportunity. His music? "Best of Plyushchenko"— Richard Demak (@rdemak) February 9, 2014
It’s hard to knock his choice, especially considering it resulted in a high score of 168.20 from the judges.
Canada’s Kevin Reynolds came in second with a score of 167.92, although some might argue his myriad of jumps and technical proficiency deserved more. His artistry left something to be desired, which reflected in his score.
Japan’s Tatsuki Machida was unable to follow Plyuschenko’s performance and felt the pressure to pull out all stops as the last skater. It resulted in a less-than-perfect routine, which the judges deemed worthy of a 165.85.
Team USA’s Jason Brown finished in fourth, as his score suffered due to a fall and subpar execution. His routine earned a 153.67 from the judges.
Ladies’ Free Program
|Position||Country||Name||Total Segment Score||Team Points|
Yulia Lipnitskaya has emerged as a bona fide superstar during the opening figure skating events of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Is Yulia Lipnitskaya the next big star in figure skating?
The homegrown Russian is just 15 years old, but continues to show maturity and wisdom beyond her years. She plays to the raucous crowd and is absolutely adored by the judges for her ability to pull off seemingly impossible moves with razor-sharp precision.
Lipnitskaya was up last and it was immediately clear as soon as she was through that no one else had a chance.
Vladimir Putin was on hand to watch the young star perform and came away mesmerized by what he saw. As per Leah Goldman of Business Insider, the Russian president was on his feet applauding after her stellar routine.
Steve Rosenberg of the BBC found that a Russian TV announcer said the entire country should be praising her efforts:
Russian TV on figure skater Yulia Lipnitskaya: "If President Putin himself has stood up to applaud her, the whole country should too!"— Steve Rosenberg (@BBCSteveR) February 9, 2014
Lipnitskaya’s score of 141.51 blew the competition out of the water, as Team USA’s Gracie Gold came in a distant second with a score of 129.38. Valentina Marchei of Italy came in third with a score of 112.51.
Free Dance Ice Dance
|Position||Country||Name||Total Segment Score||Team Points|
|1||USA||Meryl DAVIS, Charlie WHITE||114.34||10|
|2||CAN||Tessa VIRTUE, Scott MOIR||107.56||9|
|3||RUS||Elena ILINYKH, Nikita KATSALAPOV||103.48||8|
Meryl Davis and Charlie White won for the second time during the team figure skating competition.
These two American superstars have been unstoppable during the Sochi Games and it showed again in the final event, the Free Dance Ice Dance.
They were in total sync, showing rapport and unprecedented chemistry on their way to a score of 114.34—the top mark by a big margin. The routine insured that the United States would win a bronze medal, just a shade off the individual silver the pair won at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Of their style, White told the Associated Press via ESPN.com:
We don't feel like we're trying to carry any sort of burden or load. We're counting on the whole team to pull through together and I think that's what makes us such a strong team.
Longtime rivals Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir helped Canada win a silver medal with a runner-up performance in the Free Dance Ice Dance on Sunday.
Their score of 107.56 was reflective of their incredible routine, but they’ll have to improve if they wish to defend their gold in the Ice Dancing individual event later this month in Sochi.
Russia came in third with Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov finished in third, a good enough performance to lock up the host nation’s gold medal in the first ever team event in the Winter Olympics.
Men’s Ski Jumping: Individual Normal Hill
Kamil Stoch earned Poland’s first gold medal of the 2014 Winter Olympics, flying high above the competition in the individual normal hill final.
The 26-year-old has been ascending up to the peak of his sport for some time now, having won a world championship in 2013 on the large hill. He finally broke through in Sochi and has a first-place finish to show for it.
Stoch’s combined score was an even 278.0, putting him a head and shoulder above the rest of the field.
Peter Prevc was a distant second, compiling a 265.3 in the medal round. The 21-year-old Slovak narrowly edged Anders Bardal of Norway, who earned a 264.1 score for his jumps.
Bardal was hoping to improve upon the bronze medal he earned as part of the team large hill event in Vancouver back in 2010, but ended up placing third here and adding another bronze to his collection.
Women’s Speedskating: 3,000 Meters
|Silver||Martina SABLIKOVA||Czech Republic||4:01.95|
The Dutch absolutely own the sport of speedskating and the women’s 3,000-meter was no different.
Irene Wust collected her third career Olympic gold medal at the conclusion of Sunday’s event at the Adler Arena Skating Center, getting redemption for her seventh-place showing in this competition in 2010 during the Vancouver Games.
Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch heaped praise upon Wust’s great outing in this 3,000-meter race:
I love watching the Dutch in speed skating and @IreneWust just put on a show in the 3000.— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) February 9, 2014
The 27-year-old finished over a full second ahead of Martina Sablikova, the Czech star that won gold four years ago.
Olga Graf put the first medal of the 2014 Sochi Games in Russia’s coffers, earning bronze for her solid performance on the ice.
She wasn’t expected to hit the podium, but her excellent efforts on the biggest stage resulted in a surprising third-place showing.
Make sure you tune in to Day 3 of the 2014 Winter Olympics on Monday. There will be five more medals to dole out to worthy champions, including finals for Alpine Skiing with the Ladies’ Super Combined – Slalom, Men’s Pursuit for the Biathlon, Men’s Moguls in Freestyle Skiing, Men’s 1,500-meter in Short Track and Men’s 500-meter in Speedskating.
While there won’t be as many medals handed out as there was today, there will still be plenty of great competitions that you simply cannot afford to miss. These events only come around every four years, so catch as much as you can so you don’t regret it after the Games end on Feb. 23.