The free dance portion of the men’s figure skating competition highlighted Day 7 of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, but there was plenty of action from the ski slopes, to the curling and hockey rinks.
There were also a number of medals awarded which made the medal count incredibly tight on the top of the standings. The United States and Norway are even with 13, but the Netherlands, Russia and Canada are right behind.
Here is a closer look at the specific medals that were handed out in Day 7:
|Event||Gold Medal||Silver Medal||Bronze Medal|
|Cross Country: Men's 15-kilometer||Dario Cologna (Switzerland)||Johan Olsson (Sweden)||Daniel Richardsson (Sweden)|
|Alpine Skiing: Men's Super-Combined||Sandro Viletta (Switzerland)||Ivica Kostelic (Croatia)||Christof Innerhofer (Italy)|
|Biathlon: Women's 15-kilometer Individual||Darya Domracheva (Belarus)||Selina Gasparin (Switzerland)||Nadezhda Skardino (Belarus)|
|Men's Figure Skating||Yuzuru Hanyu (Japan)||Patrick Chan (Canada)||Denis Ten (Kazakhstan)|
|Women's Skeleton||Lizzy Yarnold (Great Britain)||Noelle Pikus-Pace (United States)||Elena Nikitina (Russia)|
|Freestyle Skiing: Women's Aerials||Alla Tsuper (Belarus)||Mengtao Xu (China)||Lydia Lassila (Australia)|
Let’s dig a bit deeper into the medal events.
Day 7 Medal Events
Cross Country: Men's 15-kilometer
The gold medal in the men’s 15-kilometer cross-country race went to Dario Cologna of Switzerland for the second-straight Olympics.
It was a pair of Swedish athletes—Johan Olsson and Daniel Richardsson—who took home the silver and bronze medals, respectively. However, the competition was all about Cologna, who dominated the field and beat out Olsson by a massive 28.5 seconds.
Cologna tore a ligament in his ankle last year, so his efforts were particularly impressive.
Alpine Skiing: Men's Super-Combined
The biggest story from the men’s super-combined event from an American perspective was the collective failure of Bode Miller and Ted Ligety to land on the podium.
Miller won the event in Vancouver in the 2010 Olympics, and Ligety won in Torino in the 2006 Winter Games—so this result was certainly disappointing for the Americans. Sports Illustrated’s Tim Layden took the time to look back at better days for Miller in light of his sixth-place finish:
On morning of men's super combined in Sochi, here's Bode Miller's miraculous 2010 gold medal combi slalom. http://t.co/yC3omVc4sI— Tim Layden (@SITimLayden) February 14, 2014
Sando Viletta of Switzerland won the gold, Ivica Kostelic of Croatia won the silver and Christof Innerhofer of Italy captured the bronze on the bumpy course. Many of the world’s top skiers struggled to maintain their speed and keep their footing, but Viletta was consistent throughout the event.
Ligety was even more disappointing than Miller and finished in 13th place.
Biathlon: Women's 15-kilometer Individual
Belarus had itself a day at the women’s 15-kilometer biathlon event.
Darya Domracheva took home her second gold medal in Sochi with a victory, while teammate Nadezhda Skardino captured the bronze. Domracheva also counts a bronze medal from the 2010 Games in Vancouver to her resume.
Selina Gasparin of Switzerland won the silver, but it was the failure of Tora Berger to even medal that drew many headlines. She won the gold in 2010 but missed three targets in her first two shootings, which ultimately knocked her out of contention.
Men's Figure Skating
If the short program of the men’s figure skating competition was all about fallen records and dominating performances, the free skate was all about surviving attrition.
Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, who dazzled the audience with his first skate, fell two separate times but still claimed the gold because Canada’s Patrick Chan struggled as well. It was Japan’s first gold in Olympic men’s figure skating.
While the silver medal is an incredible accomplishment, there is no doubt Chan was disappointed because Hanyu left the door wide open. Kazakhstan’s Denis Ten claimed the bronze.
Merely two years ago America’s Noelle Pikus-Pace was retired and done with her skeleton career. Now she is an Olympic silver medalist.
She came out of retirement with the knowledge that her husband and two children were willing to traverse the world to watch her compete. They were in attendance to watch her finish in second place in the skeleton competition in Sochi, and plenty of tears were shed.
Her husband Janson told Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today that he was happy to support her: "I thought she could compete at her best potential with the family there. It's a sacrifice, and it's really hard to do it alone and leave everyone and be by herself."
Pikus-Pace, who won the only medal for the United States in Day 7, also had to deal with concussion symptoms.
The gold medal went to Lizzy Yarnold of Great Britain, and Russia’s Elena Nikitina claimed the bronze.
Freestyle Skiing: Women's Aerials
Belarus also added to its medal total in the women’s aerials competition when Alla Tsuper won the gold in her fifth Olympics.
China’s Xu Mengtao, who could have won the gold had she not dragged her hand on a landing in the final run, won the silver, and Lydia Lassila of Australia won the bronze. Lassila still finished in third place despite a nasty crash.
Emily Cook of the United States was impressive early in the competition, but a fall knocked her out of the running for the medals.
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