Sochi Winter Olympics 2014: Coolest Photos from Day 5
The fifth full day at Sochi featured eight events, six gold medalists, a high in the upper 50s and another metric ton of winter action.
After the hardware was all handed out, the rich were even richer; Germany, the Netherlands, Russia and Switzerland all picked up two medals each.
Team USA captured two of its own, but both came in the same event (women's snowboard halfpipe) while favorites like speedskater Shani Davis and the women's hockey team fell short of expectations.
No matter where your allegiances lie, it was another entertaining and compelling day of action. Only the Olympics can do what the Olympics can do. Here are the coolest images from a Wednesday below the blistering Russian sun.
Cleared for Takeoff
An athlete in the Nordic combined—an event blending the ski jump with a 10-kilometer cross-country ski—lifts off from the ramp.
If you've ever wondered what a ski jumper looks like from underneath, you can now cross another item off your bucket list. So much easier than the marathon one.
Everyone's a Comedian
Apparently, someone thought a picture of a palm tree would be a super-hilarious commentary on the balmy Russian temperatures, which climbed into the 50s on Wednesday and led to renewed concerns over course conditions.
Although, yeah, it is pretty funny. And that's a good rendition, too, especially when you consider that the person who drew has probably never seen a palm tree in person.
Australian skier Greta Small displays laser-like focus as she takes to the air during the women's downhill final. To be honest, I don't know how anyone makes it to the bottom of that course. As they say in Australia: Mama mia!
Small finished 29th.
Get Pumped Up
No time for palm trees on the track, brother. Austria's luge team was all business Wednesday, and pretty emotional after finishing a big second run.
The team ultimately went on to capture the doubles luge silver medal. Are you sitting down? Good: The Germans won the gold.
It's All a Blur
French figure skater Vanessa James whips past the lens during the pairs free skate Wednesday.
James competed alongside partner Morgan Cipres. But their death spiral wasn't enough to scare up a winning score; they finished a disappointing 10th.
I Only Have Eyes for You
A women's hockey fan leaves no doubt about her loyalties during Wednesday's showdown between Canada and Team USA.
But answer me this, fan. If those glasses are so awesome, why are they on your head? Let's let function be our guide, my friend. Check and mate.
Stick Save and a Very Good One
Canadian women's goalie Charline Labonte rejects a shot during Team Canada's faceoff with Team USA in the women's hockey prelim rounds.
Canada took a close 3-2 victory in a contest many believed was a gold-medal match preview. And if it was a gold-medal preview, it doesn't look so awesome for the Americans; they were outshot and outscored 12-3 and 3-0 in the third period, respectively, by their neighbors to the north.
An Unlikely Savior
The unmitigated savior of the day for Team USA was unheralded snowboarder Kaitlyn Harrington, who came out of nowhere to become the Olympic champion in the women's snowboard halfpipe. In this photo, she appears to be boarding on air.
Harrington and countrywoman Kelly Clark, who won bronze, provided the lone flash of color in a bleak Wednesday for the Americans. Maybe it's just the jingoistic sense of perfectionism or entitlement showing, but the Stars N' Stripes are lagging behind the big guys with "only" nine medals.
But take heart. Team USA is still tracking ahead of other big powers like Russia, which also has nine medals but trails 3-2 in the gold column.
Please Call Security
If you're like me, you learn something new about curling every day.
Another layer of the onion was peeled back Wednesday when I learned that curling teams are often introduced by bagpipers.
Sochi is not an entity to buck tradition, and organizers certainly didn't want to "pipe in" that music, if you see what I mean. So they brought in some Russian bagpipers, which apparently exist.
Stay warm, sir.