Medal Count 2014 Olympics: Updated Day 7 Tally and Day 8 Storylines to Watch

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 14, 2014

Shani Davis of the U.S. skates in the prototype of the official US Speedskating suit during a training session at the Adler Arena Skating Center at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. The team thought it had a chance to do something special, given some impressive World Cup results this season and new high-tech suits from Under Armour, which got an assist in the design from aerospace giant Lockheed Martin. Now, there's plenty of grumbling that the suits are actually slowing the skaters down in Sochi. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Even though a full seven days of the 2014 Winter Olympics events are up, there is still plenty of action left from the Sochi Games as we head into Day 8.

After Day 7, we've seen the United States of America eliminate the gap between themselves and Norway at the top of the medal count as both countries own 13 medals. This came after Noelle Pikus-Pace's stunning silver medal in women's skeleton. 

Although it's the Americans and Norwegians at the top right now, anything could change on Day 8 as numerous medals are up for grabs and a number of nations aren't far behind the leaders. 

Let's take a look at the medal count and storylines to watch out for during Day 8.


Will U.S. Men's Hockey Repeat History, Beat Russia Again?

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 13:  Zach Parise #9 of United States controls the puck against Slovakia during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day six of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Shayba Arena on February 13, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Thirty-four years ago, the U.S. men's hockey team won one of the most memorable games in the history of sports—the "Miracle on Ice" 4-3 win over the then-Soviet Union, now Russia. 

The two sides will meet again in the group stage on Day 8 in a showdown between two of the most serious medal contenders in Sochi. 

Both teams won their opening match of the group stage, as the Americans jumped Slovakia, 7-1, and the Russians beat Slovenia, 5-2. The rosters for each team are loaded with NHL stars from top to bottom, which has shown through their early dominance.

But there's no doubting that this game will be a huge measuring stick for each team as they figure out where they stand among the best teams in the world. It's one thing to play Slovakia or Slovenia, but a whole different deal playing against similarly skilled competition.

If Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and the Russians can turn their home-ice advantage into a big one and put the Americans on their heels, the U.S. could be in trouble against highly-powered Russia.

Of course, this isn't an elimination game, but the winner will put themselves into a great position moving forward while the loser will be put in a tough spot. 


Can Norway's Anders Bardal Notch Another Gold for Surprise Country?

Feb 8, 2014; Krasnaya Polyana, RUSSIA; Anders Bardal (NOR) during men's normal hill individual qualification at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at RusSki Gorki Ski Jumping Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Norway has been the surprise of the 2014 Olympics so far country-wise, as they have led the medal count for much of the early part of these Games and are tied with USA for the top spot entering Day 8.

Anders Bardal could add to that in the men's ski jumping large hill competition on Saturday.

The 31-year-old already has medaled in these Games, notching the bronze in normal hill, and also has a bronze in team large hill from the 2010 Vancouver Games. Just as well, he took gold in the 2013 World Championships in normal hill.

Austria's Thomas Diethart and Slovenia's Peter Prevc look like formidable contenders right now, but few in the sport have the credentials that Bardal owns, and he should ride that supreme skill set to the top of the podium for Norway. 

If he does, it will likely give the Norwegians a small boost over the U.S. as America is unlikely to medal in the competition. 3


Can an American Sneak Onto the Podium in Men's Skeleton?

Michael Sohn/Associated Press

The men's skeleton finals began on Friday in Sochi with the first two of four runs. Russia's Aleksandr Tretiyakov leads the field by more than a half-second, but two Americans aren't far behind.

Team USA's John Daly and Matt Antoine are in third and fourth place, respectively. Sure, they both could end up medalling if one of the top two participants falters down the stretch.

But it's much more likely they will be competing against each other for a bronze medal, or collectively trying to hold off the five contenders within a half-second of each of them.

Pikus-Pace was able to get on the podium for the U.S. in women's skeleton in exciting fashion, but the Americans will be feeling empty without at least one medal to their credit in the men's part of the competition.