The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi continue to get better by the day. In the wake of the action following Day 3, we saw plenty of new medalists take the stand and countries continuing to fight for position in the overall standings.
With a pair of women's hockey contests, some highly contested curling matches, an exciting biathlon event and more taking place on Monday, it is apparent that the 2014 Olympics will become more exhilarating with each passing day.
The athletes who performed on Monday needed to be in top form, as we saw medals being handed out in five different events. Let's take a closer look at the day's action, break down all medal winners and highlight the drama that took place during Day 3.
Alpine Skiing: Women's Super Combined
|Bronze||Julia Mancuso||United States||2:35.15|
This event brought with it a thrilling conclusion, as American Julia Mancuso delivered a flawless run in the downhill portion. However, she was overtaken during the slalom and finished with a bronze medal for the United States.
Mancuso made history in the process, becoming the third American Winter Olympian to medal in three different events. During an interview with David Leon Moore of USA Today, Mancuso touched upon her place in history:
It's pretty cool. Skiing and growing up with Lindsey—who's just amazing on the World Cup and breaking records left and right there—to have something that I can break records in at the same time is fun and exciting for me. It's a totally different thing, but these are great accomplishments that I'm really proud of. I feel like in our own ways we have such strengths, and it's cool to be a part of that.
Event favorite Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany wowed spectators with a fantastic run on the slalom to earn a gold medal. She just edged out Austria's Nicole Hosp, who earned the silver medal.
Biathlon: Men's 12.5-Kilometer Pursuit
|Silver||Ondrej Moravec||Czech Republic||34:02.7|
|Bronze||Jean Guillaume Beatrix||France||34:12.8|
The biathlon had one of the most enticing storylines on Monday. Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, the 40-year-old Norwegian, attempted to become the first Winter Olympian to earn 13 medals. Unfortunately, his bid fell just shot, as he finished in fourth place.
Bjoerndalen remained upbeat despite his fourth-place finish, according to an interview with Chris Strauss of USA Today. Said Bjoerndalen, "I liked the race today. It was cool and funny and a lot of things happened. I was close to making a really good race today but three mistakes is a little bit too much."
Martin Fourcade of France put on a fantastic showing, beating the rest of the field by at least 14 seconds in the event. Ondrej Moravec of the Czech Republic also had a nice showing with a time of 34:02.7. He edged France's Jean Guillaume Beatrix—the event's bronze medalist—by 10 seconds.
Round-Robin Session 1
The premier matchup in the first session was Switzerland against Sweden. These two powerhouses faced off in a close contest. Switzerland started strong, only to fall behind Sweden in the seventh end by a score of five stones to three.
Chris Kaman, noticing the Olympics are on TV as he's leaving the practice facility: "Oh, no! Curling is already on?! I love curling"— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) February 10, 2014
Sweden added one stone to its lead in the eighth end; however, Switzerland fired right back with two more stones of their own. Unfortunately, the Swiss' efforts fell short in the end, losing to Sweden by a score of 7-5.
In other action, Great Britain beat Russia by a score of 7-4, China delivered a decisive 7-4 victory over Denmark and Canada beat Germany by a score of 11-8 in an offensive shootout.
Round-Robin Session 2
In the second session, the most exciting match was that of Denmark against Russia. Host Russia started strong earning five stones in the first two ends. However, Denmark fought back, pulling within one after the fifth end.
Which team was most impressive in Session 2?
The match continued back and forth as the teams entered the 10th end with Russia trailing by one stone. After some precise shooting, they were able to tie the contest, forcing an extra end. Russia's comeback bid fell short, however, as Denmark came away with the decisive stone to earn the victory.
Team USA made their debut here, but fell to a strong Norway team by a score of 7-4. Canada expected big things from its team, but it ultimately fell short in a 5-4 match against Switzerland.
Meanwhile, Sweden continued its dominance, beating Great Britain by a score of 8-4.
Round-Robin Session 1
During the ladies' first round-robin session, the home team emerged victorious, as Russia defeated Denmark by a score of 7-4. Canada's team had the strongest showing of the day, as they easily handled China, beating them by a score of 9-2 after only seven ends.
The United States curling teams continued to falter. Team USA lost to a very good Switzerland team by a score of seven stones to four. Finally, Sweden took home a win, beating Great Britain 6-4 in nine ends.
These matches featured strong showings from the more dominant teams, and this event is sure to heat up as it continues to move along.
Freestyle Skiing: Men's Moguls
The United States' hopes of earning a medal in this competition rested with Patrick Deneen. He barely qualified for the last finals run, earning the sixth seed over Australian Matt Graham by a difference of .01 points.
Unfortunately, Deneen couldn't put together a strong enough run in the third finals, posting a score of 22.16 and finishing in sixth place.
Deneen explained his disappointment with his finish during an interview with Jeff Metcalfe of USA Today (h/t NWCN.com):
It wasn't the run I was looking for, but one thing is every time I've done the 10 in (per qualifying) competition I've crashed so it was pretty cool to bring it out at the Olympics and stick two runs. That being said, it just wasn't my night. My run was close to being what should have been on the podium, but it just wasn't quite there.
The Canadians dominated the event, as Alex Bilodeau and Mikael Kingsbury put together very strong runs to earn the gold and silver medals for their country, respectively. They were followed up by Alexandr Smyshlyaev of Russia, who earned the bronze medal.
Ice Hockey: Women's Group A
|Team||Played||Wins||Losses||Goals For||Goals Against||Points|
United States 9-0 Switzerland
The United States' women's hockey team really poured it on against Switzerland on Monday. They set an Olympic women's hockey record by scoring three goals within a span of 55 seconds. The team also set a personal record by scoring five goals in a span of 6:22—the fastest they have ever scored as many goals, according to USAHockey.com.
Six different players scored for Team USA, and goaltender Molly Schaus pitched a shutout by saving all 10 of Switzerland's shots.
During an interview with Jimmy Golen of NBC Chicago, Swiss forward Jessica Lutz expressed that the team still felt optimistic in regards to their showing against the dominant United States.:
We know we're going to get lots of shots and goals against us, but we'll tell each other let's just keep going no matter what the score is. They got five goals early on, but after that we stuck with it. They didn't have goals for a while. That's success for us.
Despite the lopsided defeat, the team is maintaining a positive outlook. On the other side, all eyes will be on Team USA as it prepares for a highly anticipated clash with Team Canada.
Canada 3-0 Finland
Finland gave Canada all it could handle on Monday. The Canadians have put together arguably the strongest women's Olympic hockey team in history, winning gold medals in three of the four Olympics they have attended.
However, on Day 3 of the 2014 Games, Canada found itself in a defensive battle. It wasn't until early in the third period that Canada opened up the scoring, finally getting past star goaltender Noora Raty and breaking the monotony of the scoreless game.
With 49:27 already elapsed in the matchup, Meghan Agosta-Marciano found the back of the net, putting Canada on top for good. After two more goals, Team Canada emerged victorious with a 3-0 win.
This sets up what should be a fantastic matchup on Wednesday when we will witness a clash of the titans, as Team USA is set to take on rival Team Canada.
Luge: Women's Singles
|3||Erin Hamlin||United States||1:40.632||+0.818|
Full standings can be found on Sochi2014.com.
After two runs of the women's singles luge event on Monday, we have a very close competition on our hands. All three of the top-seeded women are within one second of each other.
At this point, Germany is in command. Teammates Natalie Geisenberger and Tatjana Huefner are sitting in the first and second positions, respectively. However, they are being closely chased by American Erin Hamlin, who is just .818 seconds off the pace.
Hamlin is just the second American ever to be in the top three after two heats, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. Per Zillgitt, Hamlin explained why she was able to put together a couple of nice runs:
I've had a great week of training. It's been dispersed over quite a few days, and it's odd having days off in between. But it was good and consistent. I was able to relax and get comfortable, which is huge for me. That was my main goal. I was hoping I could skip that whole learning-phase.
The final two runs of this event will take place on Tuesday. This is sure to bring about a thrilling finish.
Men's 1,500-Meter Finals
The men's short-track 1,500-meter event came down to a photo finish, as all five of the top athletes at the end of this competition finished within one second of each other.
Charles Hamelin of Canada stole the show as the only Olympian to finish with a time under 2:15. Winning this event certainly bodes well for the 29-year-old athlete, as this is not his best event. During an interview with Robert Laflamme of the Canadian Press via CTV News, Hamelin expressed his thoughts on the event:
It's not the distance I'm most comfortable with, but I had a good start and, later, I was able to keep control of the course. I hope to be just as solid for the rest of the week. Vancouver was a disappointment and I wanted to bounce back. I worked hard to get to this point.
He will have a great chance to continue racking up medals for Canada throughout the remainder of the 2014 Olympics.
Hamelin edged out Tianyu Han of China and Victor An of Russia, who finished second and third, respectively. It was a disappointing finish for the United States as American hopeful J.R. Celski just missed the podium with a fourth-place finish.
Ladies' 500-Meter Heats
The ladies kicked off the 500-meter event with the heats portion on Monday. The field was narrowed to a group of 16 skaters who will participate in Thursday's quarterfinals.
The United States had one skater advance, as American Emily Scott recorded a time of 45.210 on Monday. However, with the fastest time of 43.356 turned in by Kexin Fan of China, Scott has a lot of work to do if she is to remain competitive.
Other skaters to record sub-44-second times on Monday were Qiuhong Liu of China with a time of 43.542, South Korea's Alang Kim with a 43.919, Canada's Marianne St-Gelais with a 43.729, Italy's Arianna Fontata with a 43.568, China's Jianrou Li with a 43.633 and Canada's Jessica Hewitt with a 43.447.
Ladies' 3,000-Meter Relay Semifinals
The ladies' 3,000-meter relay turned out to be a two-horse race on Day 3 of the 2014 Olympic Games. The South Korean team and Canadian Team put on dynamic performances, as both finished over five seconds ahead of the rest of the field.
Which team will take home the gold medal?
South Korea sits as the top seed at the moment after posting a total time of 4:08.052 during the semifinals. They will surely be the team to beat heading into the finals, which will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 18.
Giving South Korea a run for its money is Team Canada. Canada posted a total time of 4:08.871—just .819 seconds off the leaders' pace.
Russia looks to be the favorite to take the bronze medal in the event. The Russians posted a total time of 4:13.938, which puts them just about 1.5 seconds ahead of fourth-place Hungary.
Speedskating: Men's 500-Meter
The Netherlands continues its dominance in men's speedskating. Only a few days after the country swept the men's 5,000-meter event—including Sven Kramer breaking the Olympic record—the Dutch were at it again on Monday.
Finishing within .15 seconds of each other, Michel Mulder, Jan Smeekens and Ronald Mulder took home the gold, silver and bronze, respectively.
What a crazy finish to the speed skating Men's 500m!! Must see #Sochi2014— Tracy Wolfson (@tracywolfson) February 10, 2014
Both of the Mulder brothers were not seeded in the top three before the second run, as Ronald ranked sixth. However, after a blazing 34.49-second time in Run 2, he jumped into third place.
Michel spoke of his delight to have his brother at the podium with him, during an interview with Paul Newberry of the Associated Press via ABC News. Said Mulder, "It is a dream, of course, to come here, me and my twin brother. It would be the perfect scenario to be 1-2, but together on the podium is amazing."
The United States was never really a factor in this event, as the Americans' best finish came from Shani Davis (24th place) with a time of 70.98—a full 1.67 seconds behind first place.