Day 10 at the 2014 Winter Olympics featured some incredible individual and team efforts. At the end of the day, Russia and the United States finished ahead of the pack with 18 medals, including five golds.
All told, there were 15 total medals handed out in five event finals on Monday.
With just six days remaining on the Olympic schedule, it appears the final medal-count winner won't be decided until late in the Games—if not on the final day. Competition at the top is extremely tight, which sets up an epic finale to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
Here's a look at the medal winners from each final event on Monday, followed by a closer examination of how they earned them.
2014 Winter Games: Day 10 Medalists
|Biathlon: Women's 12.5km Mass Start||Darya Domracheva (BLR)||Gabriela Soukalova (CZE)||Tiril Eckhoff (NOR)|
|Bobsleigh: 2-Man||Alexey Voevoda and Alexander Zubkov (RUS)||Alex Baumann and Beat Hefti (SUI)||Steven Holcolm and Steven Langton (USA)|
|Figure Skating: Ice Dance||Meryl Davis and Charlie White (USA)||Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue (CAN)||Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov (RUS)|
|Freestyle Skiing: Men's Aerials||Anton Kushnir (BLR)||David Morris (AUS)||Zongyang Jia (CHN)|
|Ski Jumping: Men's Team||Germany||Austria||Japan|
Biathlon: Women's 12.5km Mass Start
Darya Domracheva of Belarus blew away her competition in this event, winning the gold medal by more than 20 seconds over the field.
It was her third gold medal of the Sochi Olympics, which puts her in rare company, as pointed out by Olivia Wittels of NBC Olympics:
Winning a 3rd gold medal would make Domracheva the 4th woman to win at least 3 events in one Winter Olympics (1st to do it in #biathlon)— Olivia Wittels (@owittels) February 17, 2014
After the race, Domracheva was quick to deflect praise, opting to give credit to her service man for helping her navigate the race, via Julien Pretot of Reuters: "On a few loops I was with (Czech Gabriela) Soukalova and she was following me easily so I was a bit concerned. I think everyone saw that I had fantastic skis, it's thanks to my service man."
It was a brilliant race, and it cements Domracheva as an Olympic immortal.
Gabriela Soukalova of the Czech Republic came in second, while Norway's Tiril Eckhoff beat out Germany's Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle for the bronze.
Russia's Alexander Zubkov and Alexey Voevoda easily won the gold in the two-man bobsled competition, finishing the race 0.66 seconds ahead of Switzerland's Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann.
While 0.66 seconds doesn't seem like a long time, in sledding, it's a lifetime.
The American duo of Steven Holcomb with Steven Langton brought home the bronze in this event, which broke a long streak without a medal, as Nick Mathews of the Houston Chronicle points out:
The United States' Holcomb and Langton earning a bronze medal was the nation's first medal in two-man bobsled since 1952.— Nick Mathews (@Nick_Mathews) February 17, 2014
Perhaps Team USA can build on this performance in the years to come. A third-place finish is phenomenal, but there's still plenty of time to be made up when comparing Holcomb and Langton's run to those of the Russian and Swiss teams.
Figure Skating: Ice Dance
To nobody's surprise, American duo Meryl Davis and Charlie White won gold in the Ice Dance competition. The pair was expected to finish with the top marks, which it did. However, it was the fist time a U.S. team won this event, as noted by the U.S. Olympic Team:
Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir finished roughly 4.5 points behind the Americans to claim silver, while Russia's Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov came in third place.
USA Today's Christine Brennan loved the way the Americans came together under the pressure of the moment to deliver their finest performance:
As a journalist, just wonderful to watch a team rise to occasion and perform its best at most important moment of career. USA just did that.— Christine Brennan (@cbrennansports) February 17, 2014
It was nearly flawless, as the pair scored perfect 10s in the categories of choreography and interpretation timing, along with a 9.93 in execution.
Freestyle Skiing: Men's Aerials
This one wasn't even close.
Anton Kushnir from Belarus stormed into a gold-medal finish with a monster jump in the final round, scoring 134.50 points, which was more than 24 points better than anyone else.
His winning jump was as difficult as they come—a 5.0 rating—and he shockingly stuck it to run away with the competition. Afterward, Kushnir was justifiably ecstatic, points out Skyler Wilder of NBC:
Australia's David Morris couldn't come close to matching it, but he easily won silver over Zongyang Jia from China.
Ski Jumping: Men's Team
Germany stunned Austria and Japan to win gold in the men's team ski jumping competition.
Japan's talented quartet of jumpers made it the team to beat heading into the competition, according to Dennis Passa of the Associated Press, via Yahoo! News, but it was Germany that stuck the best jumps on Monday.
Thanks to a balanced effort by all four competitors, the Germans edged Austria by just 2.7 points.
Japan's eldest member, Noriaki Kasai, pulled off one of the biggest jumps of the final round (137.3) to give his team the edge it needed to get past Poland for the bronze medal.
At the age of 41 and competing in his seventh Olympic Games, Kasai won his first two medals this year, which caused Olympian Matt Elias to express his excitement about the veteran's achievements:
Love that at the age of 41 at his 7th (YES 7) Olympic Games, Noriaki Kasai has won his first Olympic medal yesterday & now won his second!— matt elias (@mattelias400h) February 17, 2014
Younger, stronger and faster doesn't always equal "best," and Kasai demonstrated this to perfection at the 2014 Winter Games.
Looking Ahead To Day 11
With only six more days of competition left, you can be sure the remaining Olympics schedule will feature plenty of drama.
Coming up on Tuesday, viewers will be treated to seven final events that will yield medals, including such popular events as the men's snowboard cross, the men's ski halfpipe and the women's giant slalom.
With 21 medals being added to the pot, it will be interesting to see where the top nations stand after Day 11 with huge events like the hockey finals and women's figure skating still upcoming.
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