Seven gold medals were on the line on Day 11 of the Sochi Olympics, and the results have created a close battle for the most medals at the 2014 games.
Norway once again took home gold in the events related to cross-country skiing, while the Netherlands continued to dominate the speedskating competitions. The rest of the top six all earned medals on Tuesday and remain in a close race for the overall race.
Here is a look at the updated medal count along with a recap of the top events from Feb. 18. For a full list of results from Day 11, go to Sochi2014.com:
Speedskating - Men's 10,000-Meter
|Bronze||Bob De Jong||Netherlands|
It is almost getting monotonous watching speedskating at this point because it has become obvious which country will stand on the podium. The Netherlands pulled off another sweep in the men's 10,000-meter event, which is the fourth such occurrence in Sochi.
The latest result made a big impact in the medal count, according to Nick Zaccardi of NBC Olympics:
Sven Kramer wins SILVER in 10,000m behind Jorrit Bergsma. NED sweeps, takes overall medal lead with 20.— Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) February 18, 2014
While 19 of those 20 medals have come in long track speedskating, that does not make it any less impressive. On the men's side, the Dutch have earned 12 of 15 total medals and four of five golds.
The only surprising aspect of this race was who was able to take home the gold. Sven Kramer entered the day as the favorite in his search for redemption from the 2010 Olympics.
Willie Cornblat of NBC Olympics provided a look at the Dutch skater's disqualification in Vancouver due to a coaching mistake, leaving him without a medal despite finishing with the best time. Kramer explained, "At that point, I felt like my life caved in, after years of work."
Unfortunately, he has to settle for a silver medal this time around due to the outstanding performance of teammate Jorrit Bergsma. The 28-year-old skater set an Olympic record thanks to his impressive endurance to go hard in the final few laps.
Kramer could not complete his redemption, but he should be happy to see an all-orange podium once again.
Nordic Combined - Individual Gundersen Large Hill/10-Kilometer Cross-Country
|Silver||Magnus Hovdal Moan||Norway|
While Norway has shown more diversity than the Netherlands, it still has shown a strength in cross-country events. Of the 18 medals earned in Sochi, 14 of them at least feature cross-country skiing at some point.
The latest example of this is the Nordic combined, which featured an impressive performance by a pair of Norwegians. Joergen Graabak was the surprise winner after setting personal bests in his jump before narrowly edging the field in the final stretch of cross-country.
His teammate, Magnus Hovdal Moan, was able to pass a trio of Germans late in order to take home the silver medal.
Fabian Riessle, Bjoern Kircheisen and Johannes Rydzek looked like they could end up with a German sweep on the podium. However, Greg Ferraro of NBC Olympics explains what went wrong:
It appears that Riessel (GER) made contact with his teammate Rydzek (GER) and knocked him over in the final corner, anyone else catch that?— Greg Ferraro (@GFerraroNBC) February 18, 2014
Rydzek's fall knocked him out of the running and put Moan in position to medal. With both Germany and Norway heavily involved in both the gold medal race and overall medal race, this could end up costly.
This is certain to put more pressure on the team Nordic combined event set to take place on Thursday. Each of these athletes will want redemption, and it could lead to a strong performances to close out the Olympics.
Germany especially will want to grab some medals when they have the chance now that luge is over.
Snowboard - Men's Snowboard Cross
|Bronze||Alex Deibold||United States|
Snowboard cross is one of the more unique events at the Olympics thanks to multiple competitors racing at the same time, rather than a time trial. This has created many fans watching at home, including ESPN's James Dall:
Snowboard cross is frickin' excellent viewing.— James Dall (@JamesDallESPN) February 18, 2014
However, fog prevented the event from starting on Monday, leaving them to postpone the action to Tuesday. Based on this view, that might have been a good decision:
Pierre Vaultier won France's third gold medal of the Olympics with his victory in this competition, earning first place in all four rounds. He edged out Russia's Nikolay Olyunin, who earned the silver at just 22 years old.
Bronze medalist Alex Deibold also comes with a great story after rising quickly in four years, according to Peter Schrager of Fox Sports:
Alex Deibold just won bronze in snowboard cross. Didn't compete in Vancouver in 2010. Was the US team's wax tech there, though. Amazing.— P. Schrager (@PSchrags) February 18, 2014
This result is of great importance in the medal race as both Russia and the United States will remain near the top of the competition throughout the week. This will especially be interesting with the two countries battling head to head in events like figure skating and ice hockey.
With the entire Olympics being held in Sochi, you can bet that both nations will want to edge the other in the overall count.
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