Sochi Winter Olympics 2014: Day 9 Medal Predictions and Results
Day 9 of the Sochi Olympics featured yet another dominant performance by the Dutch in long-track speedskating, while it was a mixed bag for the Americans in snow-based events.
Medals were awarded in four different competitions, with a fifth medal event—the 15-kilometer men's mass start in biathlon—postponed until Monday because of foggy conditions.
Americans won two medals in skiing, as Eric Weibrecht earned a silver and Bode Miller tied with Canada's Jan Hudec for the bronze, but were shut out in the women's snowboard cross after Lindsey Jacobellis fell in her semifinal heat.
The Netherlands swept the medal stand in the women's 1,500 speedskating event, with winner Jorien Ter Mors setting an Olympic record, while Sweden was the surprise winner in the men's 4x10-kilometer cross-country skiing race.
Keep reading for more detailed recaps of Sunday's medal events, as well as how those results compared to our pre-event predictions.
Men's Alpine Skiing: Super-G
Finally, some redemption for the American skiers in the super-G.
While the race was taken by Norway's Kjetil Jansrud with an impressive time of one minute, 18.14 seconds, Americans Andrew Weibrecht and Bode Miller both hit the medal stand.
Weibrecht, the 29th skier on the course, came through with a remarkable run of 1:18.44 and earned the silver medal. While Weibrecht is not one of the most consistent skiers on the tour, he comes through during the Olympics. He took the bronze medal in the event at the 2010 Vancouver Games.
Weibrecht had a chance to take the gold medal, but he was not as strong as Jansrud in the final portion of the course.
Miller set the tone early on in the race, completing his super-G run in 1:18.67. That run held the lead for quite a bit of the first round until Jansrud used a superb performance near the finish to take the lead.
Shortly after Jansrud's run, Miller was tied by Jan Hudec of Canada. That meant both skiers earned a bronze medal, and it was Canada's first men's Alpine skiing medal in 20 years.
Miller's bronze was his sixth Olympic medal. He has won one gold, three silver and two bronze medals.
Gold: Kjetil Jansrud, Norway, 1:18.14
Silver: Andrew Weibrecht, USA, 1:18.44
Bronze: Bode Miller, USA, 1:18.67
Bronze: Jan Hudec, Canada, 1:18.67
Alpine skiing has been a massive disappointment for the American team thus far in Sochi.
The sense heading into the super-G is that anything can happen after seven of the first eight skiers—including six in a row—failed to finish the difficult course in the women's portion of the event.
Bode Miller was expected to contend for a medal in this event prior to the Olympics. But after struggling badly and failing to medal in any of the earlier Alpine events, he is a long shot to reach the podium.
Both Miller and U.S. teammate Ted Ligety seem to be second-guessing themselves. Miller told Reuters' Alan Baldwin that he wishes he had undergone eye surgery before the Olympics. Meanwhile, Ligety said he is having trouble finding a balance between respecting the course and being aggressive.
The favorite for gold is Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal, with Canada's Erik Guay and Austria's Matthias Mayer also expected to contend for medals. Anyone who finishes with a clean run on the oft-slushy slope could pull out a medal, however, so the final results are hard to predict.
Gold: Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway
Silver: Erik Guay, Canada
Bronze: Matthias Mayer, Austria
Women's Snowboard: Cross
It was a major disappointment once again for Lindsey Jacobellis in the snowboard cross. Leading her semifinal heat by a wide margin, Jacobellis fell in the final stages of her ride and didn't even make it to the final.
If she had, she would have had a very tough time coming away with the victory. That's because Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic was dominant at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. Not only did she come away with the gold medal, she won all four of her races and was undefeated on the day.
Her final race was relatively close, but she wasn't challenged once she established her lead. She easily held off Canada's Dominique Maltais, who claimed the silver medal. French snowboarder Chloe Trespeuch won the bronze.
American Faye Gulini had a strong performance and finished fourth, something that's bound to sting after coming so close to the podium.
Jacobellis won the consolation race called the "little final" and finished in seventh place.
Gold: Eva Samkova, Czech Republic
Silver: Dominique Maltais, Canada
Bronze: Chloe Trespusch, France
There was a time not long ago when American Lindsey Jacobellis wondered if her days as a competitive snowboarder on the international stage were over.
Now, she is arguably the gold-medal favorite in the women's snowboard cross at the Sochi Olympics.
After tearing an anterior cruciate knee ligament at the X Games in January 2012, Jacobellis, 28, did not compete again until last November. One month later, she won a World Cup in this event in Lake Louise, Canada, setting the stage for Sochi.
This is the third trip to the Olympics for the winningest female athlete in the history of the X Games. Jacobellis has learned firsthand how fragile life at the top of her sport can be, so she desperately wants to cash in on this opportunity. She also wants to best her silver-medal finish at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy.
Jacobellis' top challengers are likely to be a pair of Canadians: Dominque Maltais and Maelle Ricker.
Gold: Lindsey Jacobellis, United States
Silver: Dominque Maltais, Canada
Bronze: Maelle Ricker, Canada
Men's Cross-Country Skiing: 4x10-Kilometer Relay
Sweden won all four legs of the 4x10-kilometer relay and raced to an easy victory in the event. Shockingly, pre-race favorite Norway finished fourth and was never in the race.
The host Russians finished second, while the underdog French team managed to pick up the bronze. That was a huge surprise because none of the pre-race predictions had France anywhere close to the top three.
Sweden broke sharply out of the gate and never let up. Lars Nelson was all business as he started the runaway for his country. Daniel Richardson, Johan Olsson and anchor Marcus Hellner also won their legs easily. Previously, Sweden won the women's 4x-10-kilometer relay Saturday.
Sweden won the men's event by 27.3 seconds with a time of 1:28:42.0 and was dominant throughout. The United States finished in 11th, 4:33.1 slower than the winners.
Gold: Sweden, 1:28:42.0
Silver: Russia, 1:29:09.3
Bronze: France, 1:29:13.9
To understand why Norway is so good in cross-country skiing, just know this: The Norwegian army held competitions as early as 1767, according to USSkiTeam.com.
So it should come as no surprise to anyone that Norway ranks as a heavy favorite heading into this team relay event.
The team relay isn't for the lighthearted. The first two competitors for each team ski legs of 10 kilometers apiece using the classical style, while the last two competitors finish off the event with the freestyle technique over two more 10-kilometer stretches.
That's a total of 40 kilometers each team must cover as quickly as possible. Other medal contenders include Russia, Sweden and Switzerland.
Women's Speedskating: 1,500 Meters
The Netherlands continued their dominance in speedskating, sweeping all three medal spots in the 1,500-meter race and breaking an Olympic record in the process Sunday at the Adler Arena.
Jorien ter Mors won the gold with a time of one minute, 53.51 seconds, breaking the previous Olympic mark (set in 2002 by Germany's Anni Freisinger) by 0.51 seconds. Normally a short-track skater who took fourth in the 1,500-meter race in that discipline in Sochi, the 24-year-old ter Mors beat out a talented field of fellow countrywomen for the gold.
Ireen Wust, the defending 1,500-meter Olympic champ who already won the 3,000 meters in Sochi, finished second at 1:54.09. It was her third medal of these Games and sixth all-time.
Taking third was another Dutch skater, Lotte van Beek, who skated in 1:54.54.
Dutch skaters actually took the top four spots, with Marrit Leenstra just missing out. That gives the Netherlands 16 of the 24 long-track speedskating medals in Sochi, and with a short-track medal also collected, the Dutch move into the Olympic lead with 17 medals at these Games.
The top American skater was Heather Richardson, who finished seventh.
Gold: Jorien ter Mors, Netherlands
Silver: Ireen Wust, Netherlands
Bronze: Lotte van Beek, Netherlands
Ireen Wust of the Netherlands (pictured above, front) won a gold medal earlier in Sochi and claimed she "cuddled" with Russian President Vladimir Putin afterward.
This was notable because Wust was the first openly gay gold medalist at these Winter Games, and Putin has been under international fire for Russia's newly enacted law prohibiting "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors."
Of their brief encounter after Wust won the women's speedskating 3,000-meter event, Wust told Dutch national broadcaster NOS (via CBSSports.com), "He was happy to see me, but then he had to leave again. But I cuddled him."
She might be in line for another Putin cuddle as the clear favorite to strike gold again in the 1,500 but will likely face all the competition she can handle from Netherlands teammate Lotte van Beek and Canada's Christine Nesbitt. Jorien ter Mors of the Netherlands also is considered a possible medal contender.
Gold: Ireen Wust, Netherlands
Silver: Lotte van Beek, Netherlands
Bronze: Christine Nesbitt, Canada
Men's Biathlon: 15-Kilometer Mass Start
Dense fog at the Laura Cross-Country Ski and Biathlon Center forced postponement of the men's 15-kilometer mass start event, which will now be held on Monday.
Norway's Emil Hegle Svendsen is the gold-medal favorite in the event, proving that his country's top athletes not only can ski fast but also can shoot straight.
Svendsen, 28, won two gold medals and one silver at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. But none of those came in this discipline, where he hopes to prove his versatility and add to his overall Olympic legacy.
Svendsen may be the favorite to capture the gold, but he's just one of a handful of Norwegians expected to be in the mix for spots on the podium at the end of the day. Also expected to contend for medals on Norway's deep team are Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and Tarjei Boe, all of whom will have to fend off a challenge from the formidable Martin Fourcade of France.
If Bjoerndalen can medal, it will give him the record for Winter Games medals with 13. He won gold in the 10-kilometer sprint earlier in Sochi to tie the record but finished fourth and off the podium in the later 12.5-kilometer pursuit in which Fourcade claimed gold.
Gold: Emil Hegle Svendsen, Norway
Silver: Martin Fourcade, France
Bronze: Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, Norway
B/R Video: USA's Best Bets for Gold on Day 9
Check out Bleacher Report's take on Team USA's best bets for gold on Day 9.