The host country took over on Day 8 in Sochi, Russia.
Questionable conditions, incredible individual performances and more deserve the spotlight after the event, but the host nation of the 2014 Games finally assuming the top spot in the standings is the biggest thing of note with Day 8 in the books:
Of course, if folks want to take a hipster approach to the standings and go by golds, as Nick Zaccardi of NBC OlympicTalk points out:
If you go by golds, Germany leads medal count. If you go by total, Germany is sixth.— Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) February 12, 2014
That's just the beginning. Twitter had plenty of things to say about the day's happenings, and the world listened.
Zaccardi was not done and provided the day's best tweet of all, which shows parity has reigned supreme over the Games in Sochi thus far:
26 nations have won medals through 44/98 Sochi events, tying the record for most nations with medals over an ENTIRE Winter Olympics.— Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) February 15, 2014
But back to Russia, which predictably got a gold medal from superstar speedskater Victor An, thanks to his one minute, 25.325 second total time in the men's 1,000-meter final. An made quite a bit of history thanks to his epic performance, as Infostrada Sports points out:
#Sochi2014 Victor An becomes the first man to win four Olympic gold medals in short track. Two women have achieved this feat.— Infostrada Sports (@InfostradaGold) February 15, 2014
#Sochi2014 Victor An becomes 1st to win an OWG gold medal for different NOCs, not politically or constitutionally related (Korea & Russia)— Infostrada Sports (@InfostradaGold) February 15, 2014
Russia also added a silver in the event as Vladimir Grigorev came in right behind An with a time of 1:25.399.
J.R. Celski was America's big chance to medal, but he finished 13th. Afterwards, he took to social media to congratulate An:
Cool to see Victor An win gold today. A lot of respect for that guy and his efforts in the sport. #worldclass— J.R. Celski (@jrcelski) February 15, 2014
The story was much the same for America on the ladies' side. None of the U.S. contestants finished higher than fifth in the ladies' 1,500-meter final.
Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press took a lighthearted approach to America's struggles:
To put a positive spin on things, if the Olympics added short track speedcrashing, the USA would have like 800 medals already.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) February 15, 2014
Indeed. The winner of that event was China's Zhou Yang, who won the same race in Vancouver and has her country on a familiar path, as NBC's Alex Goldberger points out:
As Zhou Yang defends her 1500m title, China has now won both women's short track events so far. They won all four in 2010— Alex Goldberger (@alexgoldberger) February 15, 2014
Another American with lofty expectations was Julia Mancuso, who had done well in place of the injured Lindsey Vonn. She also fell short with an eighth-place finish in the women's super-G event—Austria's Anna Fenninger took home gold with a total time of 1:25.52.
As Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports points out, it was quite the dominant performance by Austria, a country that also saw Nicole Hosp take home the bronze:
Austria's Anna Fenninger knocks Julia Mancuso off the medal stand in the super-G. Austria dominates this event.— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) February 15, 2014
As far as amazing individual performances go, Japan's Noriaki Kasai pretty much stole the show.
Kasai only finished with a silver on the podium in the men's large hill final with a time of 277.4, a mark 1.3 seconds behind gold medalist Kamil Stoch (who did pretty well for himself as well considering it is his second gold medal of the Games).
While only a silver, Kasai etched his name in the record books, as Zaccardi details:
Noriaki Kasai, 41, wins silver in large hill. Goes 20 years between Olympic medals. Oldest ski jumping medalist. Wants to jump in 2018.— Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) February 15, 2014
Hilary Evans of Sports-Reference.com went ahead and did the dirty work of making Kasai look as old as possible:
#Sochi2014 Noriaki Kasai wins silver in ski jumping at 41. Born on the day IBM patented the floppy disk.— Hilary Evans (@OlympicStatman) February 15, 2014
But please, what fun is Twitter without more wild expectations not being met? Take Shani Davis for example, who highlights a long list of American disappointments. He took to the ice in the men's 1,500-meter event and landed in 11th place.
As Bleacher Report's Dan Levy pointed out after the disappointing showing, Davis' prior struggles had nothing to do with his suit (this was actually a thing):
Shani Davis in 7th after his 1500m run. It wasn't the suit, folks.— Dan Levy (@DanLevyThinks) February 15, 2014
Davis himself took to Twitter to thank supporters:
So many feelings right now. But first, THANK YOU to everyone who's been supporting me, at these Games and for past 4 years.— Shani Davis (@ShaniDavis) February 15, 2014
Much respect should go to Davis and other athletes who took to Twitter to speak about their performance.
Social media is quite the impressive thing, and athletes who use the tool to have intimate interactions with fans make the experience that much better for all. The coming days in Sochi will surely see more of this—and quality entertainment overall—as the medals race continues to heat up.