It's safe to say the rivalry between the United States and Russia is being taken to the next level in Sochi.
Starting with domination by the Russians on the figure skating ice, culminating with a controversial shootout win for the Americans in hockey, the burgeoning battle between these two countries became even more compelling on Tuesday.
Russia captured gold when Alexey Voevoda and Alexander Zubkov pushed Americans Steven Holcomb and Steven Langton to bronze in the two-man bobsled event, but Meryl Davis and Charlie White got revenge with a world record-setting performance in the ice dance. Naturally, Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov completed the perfect mirror, finishing third for Russia.
When it was all said and done on Day 10, Russia and the U.S had one gold and one bronze each, keeping them tied atop the medal standings by themselves:
For Voevoda and Zubkov, who had won two previous Olympic medals, they were finally able to get over the hump and win gold. As Colin Bryce of giants-live.com pointed out, the duo now has a chance to make history with a victory in the four-man event:
Voevoda and Zubkov nail the gold in 2 man bobsleigh. Third time lucky for them. An historic double in the 4 man?! pic.twitter.com/WT2f7TTWoD— Colin Bryce (@GiantsLiveWSM) February 17, 2014
And if you're looking at that picture and thinking, "it looks like that guy arm wrestles," then you would be correct. From the Associated Press' Rick Freeman:
Russia's gold-medal bobsled driver Alexander Zubkov is a six-time arm-wrestling champion? Russia, you contain vast, badass multitudes.— Rick Freeman (@RWFreeman) February 17, 2014
Amazingly enough, that was barely the best story from the actual event, let alone the day. According to the AP's Tim Reynolds, the bronze from Holcomb and Langton broke an incredible drought for the Americans:
Ending a 62-year drought, Steven Holcomb and Steve Langton have won a two-man bobsled medal for the United States.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) February 17, 2014
"If there's anybody who needs a 62-year drought broken, give me a call and I'll try to help you out," Holcomb said, via Reynolds.
In case you were wondering, Holcomb was negative-28 years old and Langton was negative-31 when the United States last earned a medal in this event.
Over on the figure-skating ice, Davis and White ended a similar drought, becoming the first Americans to win gold in the ice dance since its Olympic inception in 1976. And, as USA Today's Christine Brennan noted, it wasn't even close:
Davis and White have won the USA's first ice dance Olympic gold medal ever. Won in a landslide, by nearly 5 points.— Christine Brennan (@cbrennansports) February 17, 2014
That's all the more amazing when you realize Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir—whose rivalry with Davis and White has been steadily growing since the 2010 Olympics—set a (short-lived) world record, per Julie Stewart-Binks of FOX Sports:
Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White set a WR after Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir did. USA wins their 1st olympic gold in ice dance.— Julie Stewart-Binks (@JSB_FOX) February 17, 2014
But it wasn't all USA and Russia on Monday.
Surprisingly enough, Belarus continued its unbelievable run through Russia. Entering 2014, the small Eastern European country had one gold and nine medals all-time at the Winter Games.
After earning another two golds on Monday, it now has an astounding five golds and six total medals in Sochi alone, putting it in the mix with the "big boys," as FOX Sports' Jorge Andres Mondaca noted:
Germany leads all nations with 8 golds, glut of nations (including Russia, USA and Belarus ... yes, Belarus) tied with 5 golds #Sochi2014— Jorge Andres Mondaca (@JorgeMondacaFOX) February 17, 2014
A large part of that has been skier Darya Domracheva, who, per NBC's Olivia Wittels, continued to rewrite the record books with a win in the 12.5-kilometer biathlon race, grabbing her third gold of these Games:
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
Compatriot Anton Kushnir joined in on the fun in the men's aerials event, scoring 134.50 to crush silver medalist David Morris by over 20 points.
Not only was his run out-of-this-world, as NBC's Skyler Wilder made evident with his excitement, but it was followed by a heart-warming moment, as well:
Great scenes as men's aerials gold medallist Anton Kushnir runs off mid-TV interview to pull two-year-old son out of crowd. I shed a tear...— Stuart Fraser (@stu_fraser) February 17, 2014
Finally, we have the centerpiece of arguably the most underrated story in Sochi: Noriaki Kasai.
Appearing in his sixth (!) Games, the 41-year-old won his first Olympic medal in 20 years in ski jumping (large hill) on Saturday and backed that up by helping Japan to a bronze in the team event on Monday.
Kasai drew an impressive wide range of praise, from Welsh Olympian Matt Elias to rapper Heems:
Definitely proves you should never give up on your dreams... No matter what age or what you have been through! Noriaki Kasai is my new hero!— matt elias (@mattelias400h) February 17, 2014
Ahh! Noriaki Kasai crying on the tv. So touching. Led his team to a team bronze and solo silver at Sochi at 41 years old. #skijumping— HIMANSHU KUMAR (@HIMANSHU) February 17, 2014
The far-reaching status of the Olympics are truly amazing, and you can expect everyone around the world to continue to be captivated by Sochi for the next week.