A big day for the host country put Russia on top of the overall medal count through Day 8 of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
While the United States earned a big win over Russia in hockey, this was only a preliminary-round game. Curling also continues its round-robin play, with the medals not given out until later in the week.
However, seven gold medals were won on Saturday, which made for a dramatic shift near the top of the medal count. Germany remains in front of the race for the most golds, but here is a look at the overall standings for the most hardware in the Olympics.
Day 8 Results
Alpine Skiing, Women's Super-G
The big story in the super-G was the difficulty of the course. Not only did it force low times, but about one-third of entries crashed. Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports provided this interesting statistic:
The 18 skiers who failed to finish in women's super-G in Sochi are most in the history of the Oly event. Vancouver held previous mark at 15.— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) February 15, 2014
It was not as much of a problem for Austrian skiers as Anna Fenninger finished in first place with a time of one minute, 25.52 seconds. Compatriot Nicole Hosp earned the bronze behind Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch.
American Julia Mancuso finished in eighth place, which ends her run in Sochi with one bronze in the super combined.
Cross-Country Skiing, Ladies' Relay 4x5-Kilometer
Sweden showcased its depth in cross-country skiing with a win in the ladies' relay race. Anna Haag, Ida Ingemarsdotter, Charlotte Kalla and Emma Wiken all finished in the top three of their own heat and it led to a narrow victory of just one-half of a second.
Finland earned the silver just ahead of Germany, which was also within a single second of the leaders. Amazingly, fourth place was a full 45 seconds behind.
The United States finished in ninth place, but this was actually an impressive result, according to Nat Herz of the Anchorage Daily News:
Today's 9th place in the cross-country 4x5k relay is the best result for the U.S. women since the 1988 Olympics in Calgary.— Nat Herz (@Nat_Herz) February 15, 2014
Team officials will certainly hope that this will be the start of a new appreciation for the sport in America.
Short Track, Ladies' 1,500 Meters
|Silver||Suk Hee Shim||South Korea|
China's Zhou Yang took the lead in one of the final laps and held onto it to take home gold in the 1,500-meter short-track event. Of course, the finish was easier than it should have been with a smaller group at the end.
The finals began with seven competitors, but three of them were wiped out on an early lap, including American Emily Scott. After the loss, Scott was very understanding of the situation, telling Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today, "I mean, we were skating a deep track, and Korea came in and nailed me. I mean, it's unfortunate, but I think that's kind of why some of us chose this sport. It's the unknown."
Zhou was able to avoid the crash, helping her defend the Olympic title she won in Vancouver. Italy's Arianna Fontana earned bronze, which was her second medal in Sochi.
Short Track, Men's 1,000 Meters
Eight years after winning three gold medals for South Korea in Turin, Victor An wins another won, although this time for Russia after gaining citizenship with the host country.
His ability to pull away late on the short track impressed even fellow speedskater Mitch Whitmore:
This was a big race for Russia, which finished one-two thanks to a solid effort by Vladimir Grigorev. The Netherlands then earned a rare short-track medal thanks to Sjinkie Knegt.
With a few more races remaining in these Olympics, watch for An to be a top contender for more medals in Sochi.
|Bronze||Matthews Antoine||United States|
Russian star Alexander Tretjyakov was in a class of his own throughout this competition, winning the skeleton gold thanks to a consistent performance on all four runs.
He finished with a combined time of 3:44.29 seconds, which was 0.81 seconds ahead of second-place Martins Dukurs. While the third-place finisher was far behind either contender, there was an exciting battle for the bronze throughout the week between American teammates.
Matthew Antoine ended up on the podium, but John Daly had a chance to medal going into his final run. Unfortunately, a slip on the start ruined his chances, leading to a heartbreaking interview afterwards:
John Daly on skeleton failure: "I had a mile of ice to think about what happened, and now I have four more years to wait."— Jay Busbee (@jaybusbee) February 15, 2014
The 28-year-old competitor fell from fourth to 15th place on his final run, but hopefully he will find a way back to the Olympics in 2018.
Speedskating, Men's 1,500 Meter
In one of the closest races you will ever see, Zbigniew Brodka barely edged Koen Verweij for the gold medal in the 1,500-meter event.
Brodka posted the impressive time in the 17th run out of 20, and it seemed like his mark would stand without a challenge. However, the Dutch skater came through in the final run and tied the leader down to the hundredths of a second.
As a result, the officials had to review to the next decimal point, giving Brodka the win by three thousandths of a second.
On the other end of the spectrum, this was another disappointing showing for the Americans, who have yet to medal in seven speedskating events. Shani Davis had won two silvers in this event in the past, but he only managed 11th place while Brian Hansen finished in eighth.
Davis put this message on Twitter following the loss:
i cast no blame & put all responsibility where it lays: on me, as always. Couldn't have felt better before 1000, or lower than right now.— Shani Davis (@ShaniDavis) February 15, 2014
With events running out, the United States has to start making some moves in this sport.
Ski Jumping, Men's Large Hill
After winning the gold medal in the normal hill, Kamil Stoch filled up his trophy case even more with another gold medal in the large hill.
The Polish star had the best jump of the entire competition in the first round, totaling 143.4 thanks to his long distance and some great scores from the judges. While his second jump was far from elite, totaling 135.4, it was enough to pass Japan's Noriaki Kasai.
Peter Prevc also had an impressive week despite being just 21 years old. He earned bronze in this competition after grabbing a silver in the normal hill.
Four-time gold medalist Simon Ammann could not defend his Olympic title, only finishing in 23rd place in the final round.
Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.