Just when it appeared Team USA had slightly pulled away from the field at the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Netherlands once again swept a podium in men's speedskating.
No country has dominated a single sport quite like the Dutch in the speedskating competition. The Netherlands has 20 Olympic medals, all of which came on the ice in either long-track or short-track speedskating, as Dan Wolken of USA Today points out:
Has any country dominated Olympic sport with multiple disciplines the way the Netherlands has with speed skating? Another sweep in the 10k— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) February 18, 2014
That's now 20 medals at the Olympics for the Dutch - 19 in speed skating, one in short track. Amazing.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) February 18, 2014
After Day 11, the U.S. and Dutch are tied at 20 medals apiece, but the Netherlands leads by virtue of having more silver medals, while Team USA has taken more bronze medals.
Norway, which has won more medals in the Winter Olympics than any other country in the history of the Games, still sits just behind Russia for third. But with several days of competition left, there is still time for either country to stage a comeback and take the lead.
Here's a look at the most recent medal tally:
The Olympic events for Wednesday are already underway, but here are a few of the most intriguing events to watch.
*Note: All Olympic action can be streamed live at NBC Live Extra.
Events to Watch
On Day 11, the U.S. dominated a sport it was supposed to excel in. On Day 12, it will likely be a wash, rinse and repeat scenario.
The men's freestyle skiing halfpipe competition ended with a predictable outcome as David Wise cruised to victory with a huge run in the final. NBC Sports reported the result following the final:
Will Ted Ligety win the giant slalom?
Wise's run to the top of the podium sets up another potential podium visit from a fellow American—but this time, it will come in alpine skiing.
Ted Ligety hasn't exactly been a huge star for the Americans at this Winter Olympics, but he has yet another chance to win a gold in his best event, the giant slalom.
The 29-year-old skier has placed inside the top 10 in just one event thus far in Sochi, but he has confidence coming into the giant slalom, according to David Leon Moore of USA Today:
Every event is totally different. It's not like those (results) matter that much. I'm just going to push hard on my race on Wednesday. I know where my skiing can be.
This season, I've had a lot of ups and downs in other races and results but still been able to put together really fast runs in giant slalom.
Ligety has been sensational in the past in the giant slalom and has a good shot at turning around his fortunes in his favorite event. But with a stacked field—including fellow countryman Bode Miller, who already has a medal in Sochi—Ligety will need to work much harder in the event to pull out the elusive gold in giant slalom.
Outside of Ligety and Miller doing battle on the slopes, the bobsled track will be on fire when the final heats of the women's two-man bobsleigh begin.
Lolo Jones was the major story coming into the event after she made the switch from the Summer Olympics to the Winter Games. But a poor showing by her and teammate Jazmine Fenlator has them in 11th after two heats.
Joe Battaglia of NBC Olympics provided a bit of commentary on the team's second run:
Despite the poor runs by Jones and Fenlator, two other American teams came to compete. The No. 1 sled of Lauryn Williams along with top U.S. driver Elana Meyers sits in first after two heats, while the No. 2 team of Aja Evans and Jamie Greubel is third.
Both teams could finish with a medal, but Meyers came into the Olympics with one goal in mind: to claim a gold in the event.
Leading up to her first run, Meyers was interviewed by NBCOlympics.com about her thoughts on potentially winning her second medal in Sochi. Her response was spot on after the first round of runs in the event:
I definitely want to go in and try my best to win a gold medal but I can't only focus on winning gold. The goal is to go in and have the best four runs of my life. If I could put four runs together I'm going to be very hard to beat, but more importantly if I put four runs together, I'm going to walk off the ice proud and with my head held high, whatever the outcome is.
Not only would the win be a special one for her and the U.S., but it would also come over a longtime rival in Canada's Kaillie Humphries.
After claiming the gold in Vancouver, Humphries came into Sochi as the favorite. But despite her past success, Meyers and Williams have been faster than the Canadians in both runs and hold a narrow lead heading into Day 12.
Meyers and Humphries are only separated by fractions of a second, and Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today provides a little background on the rivalry:
It's long been anticipated that Meyers and Humphries would battle it out for gold. Humphries won the World Cup points title, winning three of eight races, and Meyers was second in the standings, winning two races and placing second in five others.
It is also the perfect way Meyers and Humphries should finish the season. Humphries, the 2010 Vancouver Olympics gold medalist in this event, and Meyers, who won bronze as a brakeman four years ago, worked out in Calgary together this summer — bobsled's version of LeBron James and Kevin Durant working out.
If this rivalry is anything like James and Durant, it might just be Meyers' time considering the recent success Durant and the Thunder have had over James and the Heat.
With the third and fourth heats coming up in bobsleigh, the giant slalom taking place for the men and a plethora of other events—including Team USA vs. the Czech Republic in men's hockey and the start of the ladies short program—Day 12 will be one to remember in the Winter Olympics.
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