There weren't a lot of medals up for grabs on the second Sunday of the 2014 Sochi Games. The medals that were awarded were largely hoarded by the Dutch.
The Netherlands now sits atop the medal standings thanks largely to its dominance at speedskating.
On Day 9, that had them sweeping the podium in the women's 1,500-meter speedskating event.
Team USA also did a bit of hoarding on Day 9.
The U.S. alpine skiing team has been underwhelming in Sochi, but Sunday's performance helps atone for those shortcomings a bit. Andrew Weibrecht and Bode Miller took silver and bronze respectively (the latter tied with Canada's Jan Hudec) in the super-G. Norway's Kjetil Jansrud topped both, but it was still a banner day for Team USA on the slopes.
Check out all of the medal results from Sunday:
|Alpine Skiing||Men's Super-G||Kjetil Jansrud (NOR)||Andrew Weibrecht (USA)||Bode Miller (USA) and Jan Hudec (CAN)|
|Cross-Country||Men's 4x10-Kilometer Relay||Sweden||Russia||France|
|Snowboarding||Women's Cross||Eva Samkova (CZE)||Dominique Maltais (CAN)||Chloe Trespusch (FRA)|
|Speedskating||Women's 1,500-Meter||Jorien ter Mors (NED)||Ireen Wust (NED)||Lotte van Beek (NED)|
A lot of the featured action came from the hockey rink. Sunday marked the final day of group play for the men, as the seeding for the elimination round is now set.
With a perfect nine points, Sweden is the No. 1 seed. Still, it is Team USA that has impressed most. The Americans earned eight points from their three games with a Sochi-best plus-11 in goal differential. They will now have a first-round bye.
Have a look at Sunday's hockey scores:
|Austria 3||Norway 1|
|Russia 1 (SO)||Sloviakia 0|
|United States 5||Slovenia 1|
|Canada 2 (OT)||Finland 1|
|Russia 6||Japan 3|
|Finland 2||Germany 1|
Day 9 Highlights
Heading into the men's super-G, the Americans had won just one medal of the 15 that have been awarded. There's no doubt bigger things were expected from this group heading into Sochi.
On Sunday, the Americans flashed the talent that had many dreaming bigger.
Weibrecht and Miller both made the podium, and that was a bit of redemption for Miller.
He finished tied for third with a time of 1:18.67, and that came after a disappointing showing off the podium in the downhill event.
Miller, as Joe Fleming of USA Today points out, became the oldest skier in Olympics history to medal:
After the run, an emotional Miller had this quote passed along by The Guardians' Owen Gibson:
Losing my brother this last year was really hard for myself, my family, our whole community. It was just a lot of emotion. To have things go well today, as well as they did … everything felt pretty raw and pretty connected. It was a lot for me.
As Gibson reports, Miller's younger brother Chelone died last year of an apparent seizure. So earning a medal had to be an emotional and uplifting moment.
Meanwhile, the Dutch continued to dominate speedskating.
The women not only swept the podium for the 1,500, but they also had the top four finishers.
Jorien ter Mors was the star of the show, as she captured gold by setting an Olympic record that was set by Germany's Anni Friesinger at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.
As soon as ter Mors set the record, four-time Olympic medalist Kristina Groves knew here time was going to be tough to beat:
Oh my goodness! @jorientermors puts down the race of the day so far - with ease! This will be very tough to beat folks, even for Wust!— Kristina Groves (@kngrover) February 16, 2014
This was also another disappointing outing for the American speedskaters. That team was supposed to be one of the strengths of Team America in Sochi, and that has been far from the case.
Heather Richardson was the top American finisher in the 1,500 despite this not being her strongest event. She finished in seventh place. Teammate Brittany Bowe finished 14th.
Bowe, as reported by Michael C. Lewis of The Salt Lake Tribune, had this to say on the disappointing showing by the Americans:
The team has done a great job sticking together. There could be a million different factors into the performance. Obviously, it’s unfortunate. No one wants to be in the position that we’re in, but we’re here and we’re doing what we can with it. And that is going out there and trying 100 percent every time we get on the ice.
There is just one more chance for the American speedskaters to turn things around in individual results. Only the 5,000-meter event remains, and that is not considered one of the Americans' strengths. With Day 9 complete, opportunities for a turnaround are quickly passing.
There will be the team competitions to follow, but with the lackluster showings by the speedskaters so far, the Americans will have to improve to medal in any of those events. The pressure is only growing stronger by the day with each disappointing finish. Meanwhile, the competition continues to impress. Things will not get any easier the rest of the way.
Meanwhile, the Dutch would appear to be strong favorites in all the team events. They've had a successful showing thus far and promise to compete for additional hardware.