Sochi Winter Olympics 2014: Day 10 Winners and Losers
Electric performances on the ice filled Day 10 at the Sochi Games—everything from two-man bobsled to ice hockey to ice dance.
There were also efforts, when put under a microscope, that merit criticism, slight as it may be.
America's sweethearts delivered, as did America's bruisers on the ice. As for those lovable Jamaicans, they reminded us that even equatorial countries belong on the winter world stage. Or maybe not.
Read on for Monday's winners and losers in Sochi.
Winner: USA Women's Hockey Advances to Gold Medal Game
The unstoppable force that has been the U.S. women's hockey team dominated Sweden, 6-1, in the semifinal game. Brianna Decker had a goal and two assists for the Americans.
The immovable object that is the Canadian team handled Switzerland in the other semifinal, 3-1. Canada has won the past three gold medals. A rematch with the United States seemed preordained, and that's what we'll see.
Hockey fans, no matter if they prefer watching the men or women, are in for a gold-medal viewing experience when the U.S. plays Canada.
Jamie Hagerman Phinney, a 2006 Olympian for the Americans, told espnW in December, "I still hate Canada. I'm a Red Sox fan, so I hate losing to the Yankees, but not nearly as much as losing to Canada. The other day, a fellow coach took the ice with a stick wrapped in Canadian-flag hockey tape. She thought it was funny. I did not."
Loser: The Lovable, Affable, Undeniable Jamaican Bobsled Team
People often ask bobsledder Winston Watts, "Where is the Jamaican bobsleigh team?" So it's been his goal to tell them that they are still around. Being 46 years old put him right in the wheelhouse to have been inspired by the Jamaican bobsled team portrayed in the movie Cool Runnings.
Watts came out of retirement in 2010 and looked to make an impact. He may have been an uplifting spirit, but he and his teammate, Marvin Dixon, had little success in the Sochi Games. In their third run of the men's two-man bobsled, they finished second to last and failed to qualify for Heat 4.
Winner: Russia's Two-Man Bobsleigh Team
Ever been so good at something that you're only competing against yourself? Didn't think so, but the two-man Russian bobsled team of Alexander Zubkov and Alexey Voevoda knows what that's like.
On Sunday, the Russian duo broke a track record on their first run in a time of 56.25 to take a commanding lead over the Swiss and USA-1. Pending a disaster, like a crash, or another meteoric event the likes of which they are too familiar with in Russia, Zubkov and Voevoda were assured of a gold medal.
So today, what did they do? They broke their own track record from barely 24 hours earlier in Heat 3 in a time of 56.08. They could've ridden down the track on an inner tube and still won gold.
They won by 66-hundredths of a second over Switzerland-1 and 0.88 over USA-1.
Loser: The Stevens—Holcomb and Langton
When is a medal for the first time in 62 years considered not enough or, worse, a failure? When you're the amazingly gifted and spherical Steven Holcomb, pilot for the two-man bobsled team.
Yes, he and his teammate Steven Langton—a man featured for his strength in a number of magazines, from Men's Health to Outside—landed a bronze, but as the Russians seemed guided by a power somehow inhuman, Holcomb failed to chip into Alexander Zubkov and Alexey Voevoda.
Holcomb said he had about 40 runs over this track, while the Russians may have had as many as four times that. Holcomb admitted that he had strained a calf muscle too, which didn't help, though it's clear at this point that the silver medal could've felt golden given the way Russia owned its home track.
Winner: Meryl Davis and Charlie White
Not since peanut butter and chocolate have people fallen more in love with a duo than Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
The two were simply dominant in the ice dance to glide past the defending gold medalists, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir from Canada. Virtue and Moir put together a smashing program of 114.66, 4.22 points better than the third-place Russians. Davis and White managed to top even that, skating to a 116.63, and cleared the Canadians by 4.53 points in total scoring.
The gold medal is the first for the U.S. in ice dancing.
Loser: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir
Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were so dominant heading into the Olympics that anything less than gold would be a failure, or somehow below them.
Virtue and Moir earned the gold medal at the Vancouver Games and won the World Championships in 2010 and 2012 in Turin and Nice. The pair put together an electrifying program Monday to put pressure on the American duo of Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
Virtue and Moir didn't choke; they were simply out-skated.
Moir said afterwards, "There can be a lot of distractions on this stage at an Olympic Games they're everywhere, distractions are everywhere. Our job was to focus on each other and focus on having a great Games. … and we did that for sure. We're really happy with the way we executed."
Winner: Mac Bohonnon's Fifth-Place Effort in Aerials
When you're the only American to crack into the semifinals and you're only 18 years old, that's #winning. Mac Bohonnon flipped his way through qualifying and into the semifinal. He was just outside the top four, though, and failed to advance to the final.
He placed second in the aerials at the Val Saint-Come World Cup, but then finished way back in 13th and 17th in the Lake Placid and Deer Valley events.
Belarus' Anton Kushnir seized gold, while Australia's David Morris earned silver and China's Zongyang Jia won bronze.
Loser: Team Canada
Let's clear the air here. Canada is the single most dominant hockey force on the planet, especially the women, who have won three gold medals in a row. But look at the numbers so far, and yes, part of this is a product of opponent.
The U.S. team has scored 20 goals, five on the power play, and made 60 goalkeeper saves. The world-beating Canadians have just 14 goals and three power-play goals. The Canadians fired 48 shots (!) at the Swiss, but only beat them 3-1 in their semifinal game.
The Canadians have history on their side, but history doesn't score goals.
Fog—nature's most deadly disaster.
Not entirely true what with tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and village-crushing tsunamis, but the fog at Sochi, thanks to the cool ground and the warm air, created enough visibility problems for officials to move the men's snowboarding cross to Tuesday. The fog also forced officials to postpone the men's biathlon for a second straight day.
As for cross, there will be no qualifying. Racers will be seeded according to world ranking.