Medal Count 2014 Olympics: Updated Day 6 Tally and Day 7 Storylines to Watch

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Medal Count 2014 Olympics: Updated Day 6 Tally and Day 7 Storylines to Watch
Gero Breloer/Associated Press

Six days of the 2014 Winter Olympics are done with, but much of the action in Sochi is just beginning.

Day 6 on Thursday turned in some exciting performances in men's freestyle skiing, with Team USA sweeping the podium in the slopestyle competition and women's skeleton.

Also many of the best hockey teams took to the ice for the first time, as the Americans and Canadians both notched lopsided victories in their first appearances in Sochi.

With six days in the books, some of the best action is still yet to unfold, and Day 7 will feature some of the biggest moments yet of the 2014 Games.

Let's take a look at the updated medal count, as well as the most riveting storylines heading into Day 7 in Sochi.

 

Can Australia's Lydia Lassila Defend Her Gold in Women's Aerials?

Jim Urquhart-USA TODAY Sports

Australian skier Lydia Lassila comes into Sochi as the defending gold-medal winner in women's aerials freestyle skiing, and the experienced legend will have a chance at defending her crown Friday in the finals.

The 32-year-old is in her fourth Games but just her first as a defending champ. What could be the final Olympic action of her illustrious career is sure to be filled with pressure, as a handful of contenders are breathing down her neck.

China's Xu Mengtao didn't medal in her first Games in Vancouver in 2010 but was in position to when she led all skiers in women's aerials through one of two runs. But she crashed on the second, which resulted in a sixth-place finish. 

However, she won gold in the 2013 FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships and looks to be one of the world's best in the sport. 

Just as well, Russian skier Veronika Korsunova could claim glory for the host country by toppling Lassila's farewell party. She finished behind Mengtao in last year's FIS championship.

 

Will Great Britain's Elizabeth Yarnold Hold onto Her Lead in Skeleton?

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Through two of four final runs in women's skeleton luge, Elizabeth Yarnold of Great Britain went into the overnight break as the leader with a time of 1 minute, 56.89 seconds. 

But a handful of dangerous contenders aren't far behind.

Team USA's Noelle Pikus-Pace logged a swift second run and moved into second place at 1:57.33, while fellow American Katie Uhlaender isn't far behind in fourth place. Russia's Elena Nikitina sits in third. 

In total, four participants are within a second of Yarnold's lead—far from an insurmountable deficit, especially given there are two runs left in the overall race. Pikus-Pace looks to be in great position heading into the finale, at less than a half-second off the lead. 

Great Britain is in line for a big-time gold medal, but the Americans and Russians are still very much in the running. 

 

Will Starting Lehtonen over Rask Doom Finland?

Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Finland's men's hockey team won easily in its first appearance in the 2014 Games on Thursday, dominating Austria. So, what was the problem? 

Finnish goaltender Tuukka Rask allowed four goals on 20 shots in the 8-4 win. 

To remedy the situation, Finland is going to its deep pool of goalies and starting Kari Lehtonen in net in Friday's game against Norway, per NHL.com's Mark Stepneski:

But it could be a bit of an overreaction or a misguided move. 

Lehtonen has been one of the NHL's better goalies this season, but with just two career postseason appearances, he lacks a lot of big-game experience that you'd prefer on the Olympic stage. What's more, Finland also has Antti Niemi, who was a healthy scratch in the first game but has won a Stanley Cup. 

Meanwhile, Rask wasn't at his best in the opener, but few would argue against the notion that he's Finland's most prized possession among its many elite goalies. For this team to win gold, it will likely need Rask, and failing to stick with him could affect his confidence in any potential future starts.

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