There were 24 new medals handed out on Day 12 in Sochi, and with just four days of competition remaining in the 2014 Winter Olympics, there's a four-nation logjam at the top of the medal standings.
Looking at the final tally after Wednesday's action, Team USA stands atop the overall medal standings with 23, including seven of the gold variety.
Meanwhile, host nation Russia and the Netherlands are tied for second place with 22 total medals, with Norway (20) and Canada (18) rounding out the top five.
There were eight final events on Wednesday. Here's a look at the medal winners for each one, followed by a closer look of the biggest stories of the day.
|2014 Winter Games: Day 12 Medal Tally|
|Alpine Skiing: Men's Giant Slalom||Ted Ligety (USA)||Steve Missillier (FRA)||Alexis Pinturault (FRA)|
|Biathlon: Mixed Relay||Norway||Czech Republic||Italy|
|Women's Bobsleigh||Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse (CAN)||Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams (USA)||Aja Evans and Jamie Greubel (USA)|
|Cross-Country: Ladies' Team Sprint Classic||Norway||Finland||Sweden|
|Cross-Country: Men's Team Sprint Classic||Finland||Russia||Sweden|
|Snowboard: Ladies' Parallel Giant Slalom||Patrizia Kummer (SUI)||Tomoka Takeuchi (JPN)||Alena Zavarzina (RUS)|
|Snowboard: Men's Parallel Giant Slalom||Vic Wild (RUS)||Nevin Galmarini (SUI)||Zan Kosir (SLO)|
|Speedskating: Ladies' 5,000-Meter||Martina Sablikova (CZE)||Ireen Wust (NED)||Carien Kleibeuker (NED)|
Historic Day for American Ted Ligety, End of the Road for Bode Miller
Ted Ligety won America's seventh gold medal of these Games by smoking the field by .48 seconds in the men's giant slalom competition.
Even better for Ligety, it was his second career Olympic gold medal, putting him in elite company with Andrea Mead Lawrence as the only two Americans to achieve the feat, according to the U.S. Ski Team on Twitter:
Two of the technically sound French racers, Steve Missillier and Alexis Pinturault, rounded out the top three.
While Ligety was expected to finish on the podium, his 2014 Olympics experience didn't start out on a positive note when he finished in 12th place in the super combined. Afterward, he lamented his inability to attack the course.
"I could have gone way, way harder, I respected the course too much," Ligety said, viaThe Los Angeles Times' Chris Dufresne. "To put it simply, I choked, for sure."
His aggressive lines and hard turns in the giant slalom were clear illustrations that Ligety was able to put the past behind him.
Team USA teammate Bode Miller was excited about Ligety's "amazing skiing" and "clutch performance," as he relayed via Twitter:
Miller didn't fare as well on Wednesday, finishing in 20th place while suffering an injury to close out his 2014 Olympics, per the Associated Press (via NBCOlympics.com):
Bode Miller tweaked his surgically repaired left knee during the first run of Wednesday's Olympic giant slalom and said he's not going to enter the slalom....
...He said Wednesday that his knee bothered him after that race, and it's been swollen during these Olympics.
He missed all of last season while coming back from a knee operation.
While Miller didn't win any events in Sochi, he did earn a bronze in the super-G, making him the winningest skier in U.S. history, according to ABC's Matt Gutman:
It remains to be seen whether Miller will be up for another go-round in 2018. He'll be 40 when Team USA travels to Pyeongchang, South Korea, but until he officially announces he's retired from the sport, nobody should count him out.
Martina Sablikova Stuns Dutch Speedskaters for Repeat Gold
Speedskating in Sochi has been owned by the team from the Netherlands, which has earned 21 total medals in this sport. The next-best total is two, which three nations have achieved.
Czech Republic's Martina Sablikova won gold in the women's 5,000-meter race four years ago in Vancouver, but many expected the Dutch team to claim another gold in Sochi in this race on Wednesday.
As shown by Fox Sports News, Sablikova held off Ireen Wust to secure her second consecutive gold in this event:
It was an inspired performance. She outpaced Wust by 2.74 seconds, and her winning time of 6 minutes, 51.54 seconds set a new track record, according to Paul Newberry of the Associated Press (via ABC News).
Incredibly, the Netherlands' medal percentage in speedskating dropped, even with two more medals, as noted by Tony Manfred of Business Insider:
Russia's Olga Graf missed the podium by just .11 seconds, while American Maria Lamb finished with the worst time of all 16 finalists.
Looking ahead to Thursday's action, there are a few final events that will garner plenty of international attention.
The headliner is the ladies' free skate, which features Russia's Julia Lipnitskaia, USA's Gracie Gold and South Korea's Yuna Kim—among other noteworthy names.
Another huge event that will be heavily watched is the ladies' hockey final, featuring Canada against the United States. Switzerland and Sweden will battle for the bronze.
Also coming up is the women's curling medal round, with Great Britain set to take on Switzerland in the bronze-medal match and Sweden taking on Canada for the gold.
It's hard to believe there are but a few days left of competition. Given the incredibly tight race at the top of the medal standings, these final events should set up a dramatic finish from Sochi.
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