One of the most intriguing storylines to emerge during the first handful of days at the 2014 Winter Olympics are the extremely close medal races. The battles for both most gold medals and most total medals remain very much up for grabs.
Surprisingly, the United States has been falling slightly behind. The failure of medal favorites like Shaun White on Tuesday and Shani Davis on Wednesday to reach the podium has prevented the U.S. from making a charge. There are still more than 60 medal events to go, though.
With that in mind, let's check out how the medal count currently stands. The table will update as medals are awarded throughout Day 6. It's followed by a look at Thursday's medal schedule and a preview of the day's action in Sochi.
Current Medal Count
Day 5 Gold-Medal Results
|Gold-Medal Winners on Day 5|
|Event||Gold Medal Winner(s)|
|Women's Downhill||Tina Maze (SLO) & Dominique Gisin (SUI)|
|Nordic Combined Normal Hill||Eric Frenzel (GER)|
|Men's 1,000-meter Speedskating||Stefan Groothuis (NED)|
|Luge Doubles||Tobias Arlt & Tobias Wendl (GER)|
|Women's Halfpipe||Kaitlyn Farrington (USA)|
|Pairs Figure Skating||Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov (RUS)|
Day 6 Medal Schedule
|Medal Schedule - Day 6 - 2014 Winter Olympics|
|Event||Time ET||Time GMT||Time MSK|
|Men's Ski Slopestyle||4:30 a.m.||9:30 a.m.||1:30 p.m.|
|Women's 10-kilometer Cross-Country||5 a.m.||10 a.m.||2 p.m.|
|Women's 500-meter Short-Track Speedskating||7:05 a.m.||12:05 p.m.||4:05 p.m.|
|Women's 1,000-meter Speedskating||9 a.m.||2 p.m.||6 p.m.|
|Men's 20-kilometer Biathlon||9 a.m.||2 p.m.||6 p.m.|
|Luge Team Relay||11:15 a.m.||4:15 p.m.||8:15 p.m.|
For a complete look at all of the events on Day 6, visit the Sochi Olympics' official site.
Day 6 Preview
American speed skater Heather Richardson is an athlete to watch on Thursday. She represented the United States four years ago in Vancouver when she was just 20 and failed to medal. Now, she returns to the Olympic stage with a chance at gold.
Richardson will compete in the women's 1,000-meter speedskating event. Her toughest competition figures to come from Dutch star Ireen Wust, who's already captured gold in the 3,000 meters. But the North Carolina native has a great chance to help start an American resurgence.
The United States men's hockey team also gets its Olympic journey started on Day 6. Head coach Dan Bylsma opted to name Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick as his starter over 2010 hero Ryan Miller, who played a major role in the U.S. coming within one goal of gold in Vancouver.
Scott Burnside of ESPN passed along comments from Quick, who turned the focus back on the team as a whole instead of the starting netminder decision:
Obviously there's a lot of hard work put into it. I think the biggest thing is being able to play with guys back in L.A., the guys that I play with. It says a lot about them. When you play with great players they put you in a position and give you opportunities like this. So you're thankful for that. Obviously, we've got a great group of guys here and just try to win one game at a time. That's the focus.
Team USA opens up with a game against Slovakia. Fellow top contenders Canada and Russia also get play started with matchups against Norway and Slovenia, respectively. There's a lot of pressure on the Russian team while playing on home soil.
Curling continues with three more sessions of round-robin play, two on the women's side and one on the men's side. The Canadian women's team, led by skip Jennifer Jones, is quickly emerging as the clear favorite, while the men's tournament is more wide open.
Jones and Co. made a statement by beating fellow gold-medal contender Great Britain on Day 5, as noted by SN 590 The Fan:
Thursday also marks the end of luge competition in Sochi. The Germans have won all three disciplines so far—including Tobias Arlt and Tobias Wendl in Wednesday's doubles event—and there's no reason to believe that will change in the team relay. In fact, it would be a major shock if Germany didn't take gold in the event.
Aside from speedskating and luge, there are medals on the line in biathlon, cross-country skiing, freestyle skiing and short-track speedskating.
It should all add up to another exciting day at the 2014 Winter Games.