Sunday marked the second full day of 2014 Winter Olympics action in Sochi, Russia, and there was plenty to marvel at amongst the premier competitions.
Perhaps the biggest story to emerge is how Russia's figure skaters seized the gold medal in the first ever team competition with a dominant performance that carried over the previous days' momentum.
That also marked the first gold medal of the Olympics for the hosting country:
But that is just the mere beginning of the notable developments that unfolded in the infantry stages of these Winter Games, which promise to be among the most thrilling in recent memory if the initial events are any indication. With exciting finishes, big names involved and excellent media coverage, the Sochi spectacle was a huge success yet again.
Here is an overview of where the medal count stands through two days of epic action:
Let's take a look at the list of medal winners, along with a recap of the notable storylines and events that defined Sunday's entertainment.
|Winter Olympics 2014 - Day 2 Medal Winners|
|Alpine Skiing||Men's Downhill||Matthias Mayer (Austria)||Christof Innerhofer (Italy)||Kjetil Jansrud (Norway)|
|Snowboarding||Women's Slopestyle Final||Jamie Anderson (USA)||Enni Rukajarvi (Finland)||Jenny Jones (Great Britain)|
|Cross-Country||Men's Skiathlon 15 km Classic + 15 km Free||Dario Cologna (Switzerland)||Marcus Hellner (Sweden)||Martin Johnsrud Sundby (Norway)|
|Speedskating||Women's 3,000 meters||Irene Wust (Netherlands)||Martina Sablikova (Czech Republic)||Olga Graf (Russia)|
|Cross-Country||Women's 7.5 km Sprint Biathlon||Anastasiya Kuzmina (Slovakia)||Olga Vilukhina (Russia)||Vita Semerenko (Ukraine)|
|Figure Skating||Team Competition||Russia, 75 points||Canada, 65 points||USA, 60 points|
|Ski Jumping||Men's Normal Hill Final||Kamil Stoch (Poland)||Peter Prevc Slovakia||Anders Bardal (Norway)|
|Luge||Men's Singles Run 4||Felix Loch (Germany)||Albert Demchenko (Russia)||Armin Zoeggeler (Italy)|
As mentioned before, Russia took the team gold medal in figure skating in dominant fashion, thanks to a second virtuoso performance in as many days by 15-year-old prodigy Yulia Lipnitskaya.
The Russian teen beat out American star Gracie Gold in the ladies' free skating program to give her country 10 more points, which clinched the top prize before the free skate ice dance even got underway at the Iceberg Skating Palace.
However, the American tandem of Meryl Davis and Charlie White finished first in the finale with their best effort, per Nick McCarvel of NBCOlympics.com:
Alpine skiier Matthias Mayer kicked the day off right for Austria by securing the gold medal in the men's downhill final with a time of 2:06.23, edging out Italy's Christof Innerhofer (2:06.29) and Norwegian bronze medalist Kjetil Jansrud (2:06.33).
USA hopeful Bode Miller wound up in eighth place, and offered a simple analysis of the situation after the disappointing result on Twitter:
A more successful competitor hailing from the U.S. was snowboarder Jamie Anderson, who backed up her hype as a previous four-time gold medal winner in the Winter X Games by standing atop the podium on Sunday yet again.
Anderson shared her impassioned thoughts when the event was over after she had scored a 95.25 in the second of two runs, per the USA Today's Rachel Axon:
I'm so happy. It was fricken' mind blowing. What a day...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.
Then came Dario Cologna's triumph in the men's skiathlon, which consisted of an hour-plus journey of freestyle and classic skiing and culminated in a great finish. Cologna beat out defending champion Marcus Hellner of Sweden by four tenths of a second with a time of 1:08:15.4.
Swiss compatriot and tennis superstar Roger Federer was thrilled with Cologna when the event concluded:
Unfortunately for the Czech Republic's Martina Sablikova, she became another gold medalist from the 2010 Vancouver Games who had to settle for silver on Sunday in the women's 3,000-meter speedskating. Russia's Olga Graf settled for bronze.
After taking the lead as part of the 12th pairing, 2006 Olympic gold medalist Irene Wust raced to a victorious time of 4:00.34, opening up a 1.61-second margin on her formidable foe.
Favorite Anastasiya Kuzmina was able to successfully defend her gold in the women's 7.5 km sprint biathlon, though, beating out Russia's Olga Vilukhina by more than 20 seconds in an amazing effort that sent her collapsing to the ground in exhaustion.
At least Vilukhina can emerge pleased with her effort, which marked the second medal in Sochi for the Russians, adding to Graf's bronze. Great satisfaction came with the team figure skating triumph, though, making the previous lack of medals seem like a distant worry.
With a time of 3:27.526 in the men's luge, German Felix Loch managed the gold over homeland crowd favorite Albert Demchenko.
Capping things off was a thrilling men's normal hill final in ski jumping. The top two finishers emerged in the final two jumps of the competition. Peter Prevc vaulted himself into the silver medalist slot with a sensational jump on the penultimate run, but Poland's Kamil Stoch confirmed his status as the premier skiier.
Stoch soared 105.5 meters in Round 1 and then capped off his showing with a 103.5-meter flight to win the gold. It was a moment the 26-year-old had prepared for the majority of his life, per Sochi 2014's official Twitter account:
There's no question Stoch was ready.
In looking ahead to what Monday has to offer, there are several noteworthy showcases to look out for. The men's 500-meter speedskating promises to be a blistering dash, and the women's super combined downhill and slalom will offer a strong does of vicarious adrenaline, too.
Even further down the line, the battle between Gold and Lipnitskaya will be one of the best developments to follow in the lead up to the ladies' free skating competition, which concludes on Thursday, Feb. 20. Those two should be big favorites for the gold, and Gold has a chance to redeem herself as an individual against Lipnitskaya and the USA to a degree after their loss to Russia in the team competition.
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