The first week of the 2014 Winter Olympics has been immensely thrilling, and the Games only promise to get more exciting as they head toward a conclusion over the next nine days.
The Germans top the list with the most gold medals earned with seven, but a number of nations are right on the heels of that figure and could easily catch them in the next day or so.
Norway has the most medals overall as of noon ET on Friday afternoon, reaching the podium 13 total times. However, the Norwegians have claimed the top spot on that podium just four times.
The United States is still very much in the running for most medals overall and the most golds, having earned 12 total medals in Sochi. The Americans have struggled to earn gold, however, with a disappointing four first-place performances over the first week of Olympic competition.
Let’s take a look at the latest medal tally and then take a peek at some of the marquee events that occurred on Day 7 that altered the medal landscape.
Alpine Skiing, Men’s Super Combine
|Rank||Country||Name||Downhill Time (Rank)||Slalom Time (Rank)||Total Time||Difference|
|1||SUI||Sandro VILETTA||1:54.88 (14)||50.32 (2)||2:45.20||0.0|
|2||CRO||Ivica KOSTELIC||1:54.17 (7)||51.37 (=3)||2:45.54||+0.34|
|3||ITA||Christof INNERHOFER||1:54.30 (8)||51.37 (=3)||2:45.67||+0.47|
This Alpine skiing event is extremely tough, as competitors must be well-versed in the art of downhill and slalom skiing. It’s called the super combine because the times from both types of runs are combined to determine a winner, which is much easier said than done.
Sandro Viletta proved to be the best of the bunch, parlaying an elite slalom time into gold after a subpar showing on the downhill track. The Swiss star helped make this day memorable for his country by stunning some heavily favored competition. You can see him celebrating in this photo courtesy of The Denver Post:
Sochi 2014 posted a photo of the scoreboard and a smiling Viletta still clearly enjoying his improbable victory:
Ivica Kostelic of Croatia came in second after a seventh-place performance in the downhill and tying with eventual bronze medalist Christof Innerhofer of Italy for third in the slalom.
Innerhofer was just 0.47 seconds off the lead and 0.13 seconds from a silver medal, but he was still overjoyed about the finish. Doug Mills of The New York Times spotted the Italian flipping on the podium to celebrate:
Flipping over his Bronze Medal, Italy's Christof Innerhofer flips with Gold medal winner Sandro Viletta looking on. pic.twitter.com/sZ5FaHme8W— Doug Mills (@dougmillsnyt) February 14, 2014
Team USA was a no-show in this event, with Bode Miller’s sixth-place finish representing America’s best. The veteran skier was bluntly disappointed in how things turned out, telling Barry Svrluga of The Washington Post: “I was pretty lousy.”
Miller has one more chance to earn a gold for the United States, as he plans to compete in the super-G event on Sunday. It’ll be interesting to see if he pulls out all the stops in what is likely the last Olympic event of his long career.
Biathlon, Women’s 15-Kilometer Individual
|Rank||Country||Name||Time||Shooting||Total Penalties||Total Penalties||Behind|
Darya Domracheva has been Belarus’ biggest star in Sochi. She just secured her and the nation’s second gold medal of the 2014 Winter Olympics, absolutely obliterating the field in the women’s individual biathlon event.
Domracheva finished the course in 43 minutes, 19.6 seconds—a whopping 1:15.7 ahead of the next closest competitor, Selina Gasparin of Switzerland.
Remember, the Belarusian superstar earned a penalty for a missed shot that added a minute to her total time and still smoked Gasparin—who missed zero targets—by over a minute. That is a downright impressive performance and left no doubt as to who is the best women’s biathlon performer in Russia right now.
Douglas Gelevan of the CBC posted a picture of Domracheva crossing the finish line and noted that the crowd was roaring when she made it to the end.
According to Eric Willemsen of the Associated Press (via ABC News), Domracheva explained that she was calm and confident before her first gold in the 10 kilometer and likely used that same method of preparation to win her second gold on Friday:
I was really calm and confident before the race. I was the hope of my country. I didn't read the papers but I felt that everyone had hopes on me. I felt their nerves. But I just tried to be myself and rely on myself as I have a lot of experience.
It worked, as she beat out an 84-woman field on her way to becoming the most dominant women’s biathlete at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Cross-Country, Men’s 15-Kilometer Classic
If you were hoping someone other than Dario Cologna would finish atop the cross-country podium, it’s been a disappointing Winter Games. The Swiss superstar won his second gold in Sochi on Friday, dominating the men’s 15-kilometer classic-style race.
He finished 28.5 seconds ahead of Johan Olsson and 38.8 seconds faster than Daniel Richardsson, both of whom medaled for Sweden.
The 27-year-old Cologna competed in short sleeves on a relatively hot day in Sochi, winning at the same distance he raced when he captured his first-ever Olympic medal. That came during the 2010 Vancouver Games, when he earned his first and only gold—prior to Sochi—in the 15-kilometer freestyle.
Cologna noted that the conditions were extremely tough due to soft snow, telling the CBC’s Douglas Gelevan:
Cologna "conditions were tough for me too. But I found a way to manager them. Chasing Olsson really helped" - after gold in 15k @CBCOlympics— Douglas Gelevan (@DGelevan) February 14, 2014
Sepp Blatter, FIFA’s president, took the time to congratulate his fellow Swiss and was impressed by the number of gold medals that Cologna will bring back to the country:
Another sensational performance from @dariocologna. 2 Golds! What an Olympics you're having!— Joseph S Blatter (@SeppBlatter) February 14, 2014
Conditions were tough, but the best competitor emerged and claimed gold with a memorable run. Congratulations to Cologna for yet another top-tier performance in Sochi.