A busy Day 8 at the 2014 Winter Olympics featured plenty of medal events. More than half of the medals that will be awarded in Sochi will be handed out by the end of Saturday's competition and the race atop the standings remains close.
The battle for the most total medals should make the final week of the Games even more exciting. Normally by this stage of the Olympics there are a select few countries pulling away from the pack. As of now, there's six nations within striking distance of the top spot.
With that in mind, let's check out how the top of the medal count stands right now and see which athletes helped their countries by reaching the podium so far on Day 8. It's followed by a recap of some of the day's best medal performances.
Updated Medal Count
Day 8 Gold Medal Winners
|Women's Alpine Super-G||Anna Fenninger (AUT)|
|Women's Cross Country 4x5 Relay||Sweden|
|Women's Short Track 1,500 Meters||Zhou Yang (CHN)|
|Men's Short Track 1,000 Meters||Victor An (RUS)|
|Men's Speedskating 1,500 Meters||Zbigniew Brodka (POL)|
|Men's Skeleton||Alexander Tretiakov (RUS)|
|Men's Ski Jumping Large Hill||1:35 p.m. ET|
Anna Fenninger of Austria put together a dominant performance in the women's Super-G event. She won by more than a half-second, which is basically light years when it comes to Olympic times. By comparison, the next four finishers were separated by barely over two-tenths of a second.
She was joined on the podium by Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany and countrywoman Nicole Hosp. The gold-medal winner was asked why Austria has done so well in the discipline over the years and the Associated Press (via ESPN) passed along her response:
I don't know why we can win so much medals. I think we just like it.
For me, the adrenaline is very high in super-G. That's what I like, when I go fast.
In the women's cross-country skiing relay event it quickly developed into a three-team race. Sweden, Finland and Germany were able to pull away from the chase pack. Spots on the podium were assured, but the order wasn't decided until the final stretch.
Which nation will finish with the most medals?
The Swedish group of Anna Haag, Ida Ingemarsdotter, Charlotte Kalla and Emma Wiken ended up capturing the gold. Finland and Germany followed in that order, both within a second after nearly an hour of racing, to get silver and bronze respectively.
In the first of two short track finals, Zhou Yang of China edged Shim Suk-Hee of South Korea at the line to capture gold in the 1,500 meters. It was her third career medal. All three of them are gold, including one in the same event four years ago in Vancouver.
The men's medal event of the day on the short track was the 1,000 meters. The host nation of Russia swept the top two spots courtesy of Victor An and Vladimir Grigorev. They were separated by seven one-hundredths of a second at the finish line.
Back on the long track, the men's 1,500 meters was the closest race of the day. While most races are measured by tenths and hundredths, they had to go to thousandths to find a winner between Zbigniew Brodka of Poland and Koen Verweij of the Netherlands.
It turned out Brodka was fractions quicker to land him atop the podium. The face also marked the continued speedskating frustrations of the United States as the country didn't land on the podium, as noted by Paul Newberry of the AP:
On the final day of skeleton competition, the first two spots were a mere formality barring a major mistake from Alexander Tretiakov of Russia and Martins Dukurs. Both delivered a pair of clean runs to finish first and second.
There was a better battle for bronze, which ended up being won by the United States' Matthew Antoine. It was the second skeleton medal for the Americans, which picked up silver in the women's competition thanks to Noelle Pikus-Pace.
The men's ski jumpers will wrap up the medal events on Day 8 with the large hill discipline.