Sochi Winter Olympics 2014: Day 8 Medal Predictions, Results
Saturday may have been marked down as a failure in the books of many Russian fans because of the loss by the men's hockey team to the United States in a shootout, but the host nation had a strong day in the medal events.
The Russians earned two gold medals and a silver on Day 8 of competition as Victor An and Alexander Tretiakov celebrated wins in the men's short-track 1,000 meters and men's skeleton.
With those two golds and the silver earned by Vladimir Grigorev in short-trac, the hosts catapulted over Norway in the lead for most medals with 15.
The day started off with a tumultuous women's Super G as 18 competitors failed to finish in the race that was won by Austria's Anna Fenninger.
Poland was a surprise dual gold winner with Kamil Stoch and Zbigniew Brodka earning first-place positions in their respective events.
Sweden and China also took home golds on a day that featured seven medal events.
A complete list of the medal count can be found here.
Continue reading for complete recaps and medal results from Day 8 at the 22nd Olympic Winter Games.
Women’s Alpine Skiing: Super-G
Austrian Anna Fenninger continued her country's dominance in Olympic women's super-G competition, claiming the gold medal on Saturday at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center.
The 24-year-old Fenninger managed to survive a course that caused 18 of 49 skiers to crash or miss a turn, particularly early on in the competition. She finished in a time of 1:25.52, a 0.55-second advantage over Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch.
It was the first Olympic medal for Fenninger, who has three World Championship medals but had won only one previous super-G competition in her eight years of Alpine skiing. She became the fourth Austrian woman to win the Olympic super-G, which has only been contested eight times.
Hoefl-Riesch, who repeated as Olympic super-combined champion five days earlier, earned the silver for her fourth career Olympic medal. That put her into a tie for fifth most in Olympic women's Alpine history with three others, including American Julia Mancuso.
The bronze went to Austria's Nicole Hosp, who was 0.11 behind Hoefl-Riesch and now has two medals in Sochi after earning the silver in the super combined. Along with Fenninger, that gives Austria eight of the 24 women's super-G medals in Olympic history.
Mancuso, bronze medalist in the Sochi super combined, finished in eighth place at 1:27.04. She was in second place after finishing her run and was just the sixth woman in the first 14 skiers to complete the course.
Gold: Anna Fenninger, Austria, 1:25.52
Silver: Maria Hoefl-Riesch, Germany, 1:26.07
Bronze: Nicole Hosp, Austria, 1:26.18
Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather, 24, not only medaled in three of the last four World Cup super-G races, but she has the bloodlines to land on the Olympic podium.
Her mother, Hanni Wenzel, was Olympic champion in giant slalom in Lake Placid in 1980. Coming into the Games, tiny Liechtenstein has won nine Olympic medals, all in Alpine skiing.
Julia Mancuso, with a super-combined bronze in her pocket, is primed for another run at the podium here and hopes to make up for a disappointing eighth in downhill.
Austria’s Nicole Hosp, combined gold medalist Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany and Slovenia’s Tina Maze, who tied for downhill gold with Dominique Gisin, are all skiing fast at these Olympics, but soft snow could make results unpredictable.
Gold: Tina Weirather, Liechtenstein
Silver: Lara Gut, Switzerland
Bronze: Julia Mancuso, United States
Women’s Cross-Country Skiing: 4x5-Kilometer Relay
Charlotte Kalla erased a massive deficit on the final leg, pulling past two skiers over the last 100 meters to given Sweden the gold medal in the women's relay Saturday at the Laura Cross-Country Ski and Biathlon Center.
Kalla, who already had silver medals in the 15-kilometer skiathlon and the 10-kilometer classic, started her five-kilometer anchor leg in third place, trailing Finland by 25.7 seconds and Germany by 19.9 seconds. She slowly cut into the lead, eventually getting right on the heels of Finland's Krista Lahteenmaki and Germany's Denise Herrmann as the skiers entered the skiing stadium.
Kalla passed both on the final turn, winning by a half-second over Lahteenmaki as Finland earned the silver medal. Herrmann crossed the line four-tenths of a second later, giving Germany the bronze.
Russia led after the first leg—teams' first and second skiers use the classic skiing style, while the final two do the freestyle technique—but ended up finishing in sixth, just behind pre-race favorite Norway in fifth. It was the first time Norway did not win a relay event in international competition since 2009.
The United States team placed ninth, finishing more than two and a half minutes behind Sweden. The Americans never recovered from the opening leg, when Kikkan Randall struggled mightily and had her team in 12th place after five kilometers.
Gold: Sweden, 53:02.7
Silver: Finland, 53:03.2
Bronze: Germany, 53:03.6
This will likely be a battle for silver and bronze. Norway, with skiathlon gold medalist Marit Bjoergen at the helm, is always strong. This Olympics, particularly so.
The Norwegians are the strong favorites as defending world and Olympic champions. But Finland and the Scandinavian countries should figure in. Slow snow and warm temperatures could be a factor.
The United States may be the spoiler here, led by Kikkan Randall. After the flame-out earlier this week in her strongest event, the freestyle individual sprint, Randall has an opportunity to redeem herself.
Jessie Diggins, 22, is scheduled to anchor the U.S. and is skiing strong, having finished a career-best eighth in the Olympic skiathlon and 13th in the sprint. Last year, the U.S. took bronze in the 4x5-km World Cup relay for the first time.
Women's Short-Track Speedskating: 1,500 Meters
China's Yang Zhou repeated as Olympic champion, winning the 1,500-meter event Saturday at the Iceberg Skating Palace.
Zhou finished the race in a time of two minutes, 19.140 seconds, edging out South Korea's Suk Hee Sim by 0.099 seconds after pulling ahead with five laps left. The silver is the first Olympic medal for Sim, who is just 17 years old.
Earning the bronze was Italy's Arianna Fontana, who already had a silver medal from the 500-meter competition on Thursday.
American Emily Scott finished fifth overall, leading after four laps but later getting knocked down after falling back in the pack.
Gold: Yang Zhou, China, 2:19.140
Silver: Suk Hee Sim, South Korea, 2:19.239
Bronze: Arianna Fontana, Italy, 2:19.416
As unpredictable as this sport is, one thing is as close to certain as could be: South Korea rules here in the longest individual event on the women’s program.
Then again, you need only look at Thursday’s crash-marred women’s 500-meter event, when China’s Jianrou Li won by keeping her feet after three of four skaters wiped out.
So take these predictions with a grain of salt, but figure on South Korea to be in the mix somewhere. In each Olympics, South Korea has won two medals in this race.
Suk Hee Sim dominates the distance on the World Cup circuit, followed by teammate Alang Kim, with Seung-Hi Park another medal favorite. China’s Yang Zhou is the defending Olympic champion and holds the world record. The Chinese women are skating without star Wang Meng, who suffered a broken ankle before the Games.
Jessica Smith is the United States' best chance at a medal, but it’s a long one. Then again, it’s short track.
Gold: Suk Hee Sim, South Korea
Silver: Yang Zhou, China
Bronze: Alang Kim, South Korea
Men's Short-Track Speedskating: 1,000 Meters
Victor An completed his long journey back to the Olympics, one that had him change national allegiances, as the 28-year-old South Korean-born skater won the 1,000-meter gold medal for Russia on Saturday at the Iceberg Skating Palace.
An, who won four medals (including three golds, one at this distance) for South Korea in 2006 but then failed to make the team in 2010, won in a time of one minute, 25.325 seconds. That was 0.074 seconds ahead of fellow Russian Vladimir Grigorev, giving the host country three medals in the short-track discipline.
Earning the bronze was Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands, the 13th medal for his country but the first outside of traditional speedskating.
Gold: Victor An, Russia, 1:25.325
Silver: Vladimir Grigorev, Russia, 1:25.399
Bronze: Sjinkie Knegt, Netherlands, 1:25.611
Canada’s Charles Hamelin, a three-time Olympian, looks to add to his 1,500-meter gold here.
But Russian skater Victor An, the three-time Olympic champion as South Korean-born Ahn Hyun-Soo, will be seeking his first gold of the Games after winning bronze behind Hamelin. An is ranked World Cup No. 3 at this distance. His 1,500-meter medal represents the first in short track for Russia.
J.R. Celski, out of the medals in the 1,500 meters, was disqualified from this event in 2010 after pushing Hamelin’s brother, Francois. Celski, seeking his first medal in Sochi after Apolo Ohno’s retirement, has a decent medal chance here.
Gold: Charles Hamelin, Canada
Silver: Victor An, Russia
Bronze: J.R. Celski, United States
Men’s Speedskating: 1,500 Meters
The Dutch dominance in men's speedskating was ended by a difference of three-thousandths of a second as Zbigniew Brodka of Poland bested Koen Verweij of the Netherlands by that time difference to win the gold medal in the men's 1,500 meters.
Brodka skated a 1:45.006 in the 17th heat of 20 in the event and had to wait around for the computers to break down the minuscule time differential between he and Verweij.
Verweij, who participated in the final pairing of the race, was heartbroken after finding out that his Polish counterpart had snagged the medal by that fractional margin.
Verweij did earn the 13th speedskating medal of the Games for the Dutch, but it was a silver that he earned instead of the coveted gold.
In the bronze-medal position, Denny Morrison skated the 1,500-meter distance in a time of 1:45.22 for Canada.
American Shani Davis finished down in 11th place, while Brian Hansen ended up as the fastest United States skater in seventh place.
Gold: Zbigniew Brodka, Poland, 1:45.006
Silver: Koen Verweij, Netherlands, 1:45.009
Bronze: Denny Morrison, Canada, 1:45.22
Last Updated by Joe Tansey.
This is the last chance for U.S. star Shani Davis to win an individual medal and salvage his Olympics. Davis already owns two Olympic silver medals in this event, plus he has held the world record since 2009.
But with controversy erupting over the team’s Under Armour speed suits—suspicions are they might create a wind drag—you have to fear that the issue has gotten into the team’s heads.
Going into Saturday, the Americans have, stunningly, yet to medal in speedskating—either long-track or short-track. Davis finished eighth in the 1,000-meter race, where he was the two-time Olympic champion, and 24th in the 500, where he was not expected to contend.
Meanwhile, the Dutch have won 12 medals at Sochi, including gold (Stefan Groothuis) and bronze (Michel Mulder) in the 1,000-meter race.
Gold: Koen Verweij, Netherlands
Silver: Denis Yuskov, Russia
Bronze: Shani Davis, United States
After suffering hockey heartbreak earlier in the day, Russia was able to celebrate at the Sanki Sliding Center as Alexander Tretiakov won his country's first gold medal in skeleton.
Tretiakov sent the home crowd into an uproar after dominating both of his runs Saturday.
The Russian slider won the gold medal by just over eight-tenths of a second over world No. 1 Martins Dukurs of Latvia, who won the silver medal by a landslide.
In the race for the bronze medal, Matt Antoine of the United States earned the second American skeleton medal of the Games with a fourth-run time of 56.73 that put him ahead of Latvia's Tomass Dukurs and his fellow American, John Daly, who lost out on a medal after his terrible start during his fourth run.
Tretiakov's gold was the fourth of the Games for Russia, and the hosts moved past the Netherlands to the top of the overall medal chart with the win.
Gold: Alexander Tretiakov, Russia, 3:44.29
Silver: Martins Dukurs, Latvia, 3:45.10
Bronze: Matt Antoine, United States, 3:47.26
Last Updated by Joe Tansey.
The U.S. is poised to win its first men’s medal in the event since skeleton’s debut in 2002 in what’s shaping up to be a battle for bronze.
Both John Daly and Matt Antoine are in contention after Friday’s first two of four runs. Daly stands third, and Antoine fourth, with 0.26 of a second separating them.
The biggest surprise is leader Alexander Tretiakov of Russia. Tretiakov holds a surprisingly commanding lead over Martins Dukurs of Latvia, second in the standings by more than a half-second.
Daly trails Tretiakov by a whopping 1.59 seconds.
Gold: Alexander Tretiakov, Russia
Silver: Martins Dukurs, Latvia
Bronze: John Daly, United States
Men’s Ski Jumping: Individual Large Hill
Poland's Kamil Stoch completed his sweep of the individual men's ski jumping events with a victory in the long hill competition to close out Saturday's schedule.
Stoch became the 10th athlete to win two golds in Sochi and just the fourth to win both in two individual events joining Dario Cologna, Martin Fourcade and Darya Domracheva.
The Polish jumper also became the third person to sweep both individual events at the Winter Olympics.
Seven-time Olympian Noriaki Kasai, 41, of Japan finished in second place with a silver medal in a competition that saw a few of the medal favorites knocked out in the first round.
Peter Prevc of Slovenia took home the bronze medal to go along with his silver from the normal hill.
Gold: Kamil Stoch (Poland)
Silver: Noriaki Kasai (Japan)
Bronze: Peter Prevc (Slovenia)
Last Updated by Joe Tansey.
Training has been hampered by mild temperatures causing soft snow in the hill’s landing area, with falls suffered by some of the sport’s top jumpers and more than a dozen competitors skipping a round of training in the days prior to Friday’s qualifier.
Poland’s Kamil Stoch could sweep the gold medals after winning the normal hill title and jumping strongly on the big hill.
Stoch is jumping well despite a crash during Wednesday’s training, which saw two other jumpers fall. Stoch suffered minor injuries to his face and left arm, but was luckier than Russia’s Mikhail Maksimochkin, who broke ribs and was taken to the hospital and is expected to be out of the competition.
Switzerland’s Simon Ammann, the defending Olympic champion going for a record fifth Olympic gold, walked away after a crash of his own.
Top U.S. hopefuls Anders Johnson, Peter Frenette, Nick Fairall and Nick Alexander aren’t expected to contend for a medal.
Gold: Kamil Stoch, Poland
Silver: Peter Prevc, Slovenia
Bronze: Severin Freund, Germany
Team USA's Best Chances for Gold on Day 8
Take a look at the video above to see Team USA's best chances to earn gold during Day 8 action in Sochi.