It took some time, but the United States finally has the lead in the medal count at the 2014 Winter Games.
The U.S. now has 23 overall medals, with seven of the gold variety. The host country remains in a stalemate with the Netherlands, a country that picked up another two medals on Day 12 thanks to more dominance in the speedskating discipline:
Believe it or not, Twitter had a thing or two to say about the day's proceedings, as well as America's ascension to the top of the ranks.
Let's start there.
While the impressive rise of the U.S. is praiseworthy, it took quite some time as the country had to wait for its coveted snowboard and freeskiing events to begin. As Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports points out, those events have saved the country to this point:
United States snowboarding and freeskiing medals: 11. United States everything else medals: 9.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 18, 2014
In particular, the state of Utah does quite well in these events and would rank high on the overall table if it were a country, as David Locke, radio host for the Utah Jazz, illustrates:
The country of Park City, Utah would rank 10th in gold medal count.— David Locke (@Lockedonsports) February 19, 2014
Ted Ligety got America's big day started in the men's giant slalom. His total time of 2 minutes, 45.29 seconds bested the rest of the field and allowed him to make history as the first American to gold in the event and first male with two alpine skiing golds, per ESPN's Paul Carr:
Ted Ligety is 1st U.S. man to win gold in giant slalom; 2nd American & 1st U.S. man with 2 alpine skiing golds.— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) February 19, 2014
It was quite the moment of relief for Ligety at the finish line considering he finished no better than eighth in three prior events. He took to Twitter to celebrate with fans:
The other triumph on the day for the U.S. unexpectedly came in the women's bobsled event as the country was able to capture two podium spots after four heats.
Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams grabbed a silver medal with their time of 3:50.71, while sled No. 2 consisting of Aja Evans and Jamie Greubel took home bronze not far behind. Meyers in particular had the notable performance, as she joined a rare group of Olympic American athletes, as Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press details:
Elana Meyers becomes the seventh American to win multiple Olympic bobsled medals.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) February 19, 2014
The wins for the U.S. qualifies as a microcosm of the Games overall thus far. While snowboarding and skiing have been kind to the country, so have the sliding events:
Six sliding medals so far for Americans in Sochi represent second-best Olympics ever, and best on foreign soil. (8, Salt Lake, 2002)— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) February 19, 2014
But the day was grand on a more individual level, too. Norway's 40-year-old legend Ole Einar Bjoerndalen led his country to a gold medal in the inaugural biathlon mixed relay event.
In the process, Bjoerndalen cemented his legendary status by becoming the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time, as Ted Emrich of ESPN explains:
Caught history- Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (NOR) became the most honored Winter Olympian of all-time. 13 medals after gold in mixed relay.— Ted Emrich (@tedemrich) February 19, 2014
On a more personal note, even non-podium finishes can have a special meaning to competitors. The new relay event opened up some interesting possibilities. Despite an eighth-place finish, Canada's Brendan Green and Rosanna Crawford were able to share a special moment, as captured by Douglas Gelevan of CBC:
Another country that turned in a strong day was Switzerland thanks to predictable strong showings in the snowboard discipline. Patrizia Kummer took home gold in the ladies' parallel giant slalom, while Nevin Galmarini scored a silver in the men's event.
Both celebrated their big days in different ways. Kummer took to Twitter:
OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL!!!!! Don't know what to say.... Just speechless!!— Patrizia Kummer (@PatriziaKummer) February 19, 2014
Galmarini's touching celebration was captured by Svenja Mastroberardi of SRFSport:
Silver medal winner Nevin Galmarini just thanked his mother on TV in sign language because she is deaf. Sweet— Svenja Mastroberardi (@svenja_mastro) February 19, 2014
Another legend made herself known to close the day. Ireen Wust grabbed her fourth medal of the Games thanks to a 6:54.28 total time in the ladies' 5,000-meter speedskating event. The win marked her third silver in Sochi, which rests nicely next to her gold from the 3,000-meter event.
Wust herself is happy with the end result, as she told Sonali Karnick of CBC:
The best part is, Wust is not done just yet. Nick Zaccardi of NBC has the scoop on the history Wust could make in the coming days:
Ireen Wust wins 5000 silver, her fourth medal in Sochi, will likely win fifth in team pursuit to tie single-Winter Games record w/7 others.— Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) February 19, 2014
Like anything else at the Games, Twitter will surely erupt if Wust can pull it off. She is easily a favorite for obvious reasons, and the eyes of the globe—and Twitter—will surely tune in see her bid at history.
Overall, the medal race is finally beginning to heat up. A variety of skiing, hockey and snowboarding is still on deck, so any country near the top of the standings can run away with the lead via a slew of strong performances.
Twitter will be there to capture it all.