Another busy schedule in Sochi saw 18 new medals handed out to the top performers on Day 5 of the 2014 Olympic Games.
Heading into Day 6, Norway holds a tenuous two-medal lead in the medal count over Canada and Russia, with all three nations tied for the top mark with four gold medals. Coming in right behind those nations are the United States and Russia.
These standings are hardly stable, however.
With 11 more days of competition still to come, there's plenty of time to move up or down the board.
Here's a look at every medal winner from Wednesday, followed by a closer examination of how the day unfolded.
|Women's Downhill Skiing||Tina Maze (Slovenia)||Dominique Gisin (Switzerland) (Also won gold)||Lara Gut (Switzerland)|
|Pairs Figure Skating||Maxim Trankov/Tatiana Volosozhar (Russia)||Fedor Klimov/Ksenia Stolbova (Russia)||Aliona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy (Germany)|
|Men's Doubles Luge||Germany||Austria||Latvia|
|Nordic Combined||Eric Frenzel (Germany)||Akito Watabe (Japan)||Magnus Krog (Norway)|
|Ladies' Halfpipe||Kaitlyn Farrington (USA)||Torah Bright (Australia)||Kelly Clark (USA)|
|Men's 1,000-Meter Speedskating||Stefan Groothuis (Netherlands)||Denny Morrison (Canada)||Michel Mulder (Netherlands)|
Women's Alpine Skiing: Downhill
Day 5 started out on a unique and unlikely note, as the gold medal for the women's downhill ski race was split between Tina Maze of Slovenia and Switzerland's Dominique Gisin. Both women finished the race with the exact same time of 1 minute, 41.57 seconds, making it the first tie in the history of alpine skiing at the Olympics.
Gisin couldn't even bear to watch as Maze crossed the finish line with the identical time, as relayed by Ollie Williams of BBC:
"I didn't want to look when Tina crossed the line, then zero. Zero? Zero's good!" Dominique Gisin, shares downhill gold with Tina Maze.— Ollie Williams (@OllieW) February 12, 2014
Lara Gut of Switzerland rounded out the top three, while American Julia Mancuso earned a disappointing eighth-place finish. She commented after the race that it wasn't her day, per her Twitter account, while noting how amazing it was to see her competitors tie for gold:
Ahh! It happens! Not my day today- but pretty cool to see a tie for gold! #believeinUS still proud to represent my country in 8th!— Julia Mancuso (@JuliaMancuso) February 12, 2014
Nordic Combined: Individual Normal Hill
Germany's Eric Frenzel won a hard-fought victory over Japan's Akito Watabe, using a final-lap surge in the 10,000-kilometer cross-country race to claim the gold.
CBC reporter Douglas Gelevan captured just how close the finish was, with Frenzel coming in just 4.2 seconds ahead of Watabe:
Frenzel dominated the normal-hill jump portion of the competition, scoring 131.5 points and taking a six-second lead into the cross-country section. However, his competitors slowly gained on him throughout the race, and it took a huge burst in the final lap by the German to win the event.
Norway's Magnus Krog finished with the bronze medal, coming in 8.1 seconds behind the champ.
Men's Speedskating: 1,000-Meter
Heading into the 2014 Winter Games, one of the biggest stories coming out of American media outlets was Shani Davis' attempt at a three-peat in the men's 1,000-meter speedskating race. If he had been able to pull the feat off, then Davis would have set a new benchmark for Winter Olympics excellence.
But it was not meant to be.
Not only did Davis fail to win his third straight Olympic gold, but he also failed to hit the podium altogether, finishing in eighth place while Stefan Groothuis of the Netherlands won gold, as highlighted by BBC Sport:
Groothuis was joined on the podium by fellow Dutch skater Michel Mulder, who won a bronze medal, with Canadian skater Denny Morrison taking the silver medal.
Interestingly enough, Morrison wasn't even supposed to race this event, but teammate Gilmore Junio gave up his spot to let him race. Here's what he had to say about his decision, via Chris Iorfida of the CBC:
How Denny is skating now, I believe it’s in the best interest of the team if he races. To represent Canada at the Olympics is a huge honour and privilege but I believe that as Canadians, we’re not just here to compete; we are here to win. Denny has proven to be a consistent medal threat in the distance.
Well played, Mr. Junio.
Men's Luge: Doubles
Germany has owned the Olympic luge competitions thus far in 2014, so it wasn't surprising that Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt smoked the competition in the doubles event on Wednesday.
The incredible German duo won by more than half a second over second-place finishers Andreas and Wolfgang Linger of Austria and nearly a full second faster than the bronze-medal team of Latvia's Andris and Juris Sics.
Canada nearly won a second medal in the event, as Tristan Walker and Justin Snith finished just .05 seconds off the third-place pace set by the Sics brothers, CBC Olympics pointed out:
All told, following the win on Wednesday, Germany has won four total medals in the luge competitions—three of which are gold.
Women's Snowboarding: Halfpipe
America was expected to dominate the women's halfpipe event. After all, American women had won six of the 12 total medals in this competition heading into the Games, and the team came into Sochi with a couple of multiple medal winners.
And dominate Team USA did, but it wasn't Kelly Clark or Hannah Teter with a gold medal around her neck on Wednesday, as many anticipated. Instead, unheralded Kaitlyn Farrington stole the show with a final-round score of 91.75 to win over 2010 gold-medal winner Torah Bright of Australia.
Farrington had never previously medaled in any major international event, and this was her first Olympic appearance, yet the 24-year-old rider outclassed a loaded field to claim the gold in Sochi.
"Who would have known she was going to win this thing? I don’t think anybody knew that was coming," Teter said, via Houston Mitchell and Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times. "Surprise, Surprise."
Coming in third place to claim her second career bronze medal in this event was USA's Clark, who won gold in 2002.
Figure Skating: Pairs
While many of the events on Wednesday ended with surprising results, the pairs figure skating competition finished as many expected it would.
After breaking a world record in the short program on Tuesday, Russia's Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov easily cruised through the free program on Wednesday to claim the gold in front of the home crowd.
Trankov discussed the emotions he went through, via Olympic.org:
There were moments when things seemed easy and I thought I was just flying but I had to check myself before the emotions took over. The Olympics in Russia -- I don't know when it will happen again and it's something we'll take with us for the rest of our lives. The whole country is giving us their support now.
Fellow countrymen Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov outclassed the German duo of Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy to take the silver medal. The Germans couldn't manage a clean run in the free skate, which the pro-Russian crowd was only too happy to cheer about, per Rachel Blount of the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Stay classy, Russia! Szolkowy falls on first side-by-side jump, huge cheer from crowd. Geez.— Rachel Blount (@BlountStrib) February 12, 2014
While Blount's point about sportsmanship is valid, one can hardly begrudge the home crowd for fervently supporting their fellow countrymen. Russia has reigned supreme on the ice thus far in Sochi, and after the nation's poor showing in 2010, the recent success has fans on a big high.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78.