It was a busy day in Sochi.
Eight medal events occurred on Day 12 of the 2014 Winter Olympics, and needless to say there was a ton of excitement during the action. Nearly every discipline had events on Wednesday, and figure skating, ice hockey and curling were the only competitions that didn't hand out medals.
Those medals will be given out in the coming days, however.
Here are the medal-count standings following the results of Day 12, as well as highlights from each of the medal events.
Alpine Skiing: Men's Giant Slalom
|Gold||Ted Ligety||United States||2:45.29||-|
American Ted Ligety made history, becoming the first United States winter athlete to earn two gold medals in alpine skiing. Ligety was unstoppable on the slopes, as he carved his way to a strong first run and a decisive win.
He told the Associated Press just how thrilled he was to take home the gold (via ESPN):
"To be able to throw it down in the event I had the most pressure in, and the event I was the favorite in—to be able to do that is awesome. This was really the event that I wanted to win."
The win for Ligety was eight years in the making. After winning gold in Turin, he failed to medal at all in Vancouver. Needless to say, he put a ton of hard work into this year's victory.
Biathlon: Mixed Relay
Norway's Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, 40, is officially the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time.
In the mixed relay team event, Bjoerndalen was a major reason why his team earned the gold medal—his 13th career Olympic medal. Longevity has certainly been a part of his success, as only a select few athletes are capable of performing at his level, let alone at the age of 40.
Bjoerndalen's performance was so history that even King Harald V of Norway was on hand to congratulate him.
Bjoerndalen has a chance for yet another medal in the 4x7.5-kilometer on Saturday.
Bobsleigh: Women's 2-Man
|Gold||Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse||Canada||3:50.61||-|
|Silver||Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams||USA-1||3:50.71||+0.10|
|Bronze||Jamie Greubel and Aja Evans||USA-2||3:51.61||+1.00|
The Canadians won their second straight gold medal in the women's bobsled, as Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse bested Americans Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams by just 0.10 seconds.
Americans Jamie Greubel and Aja Evans took home the bronze medal. They were a full second behind the silver-medal-winning USA-1 team.
The United States' showing in the women's bobsledding event was a big reason why the nation climbed into No. 1 in the overall medal count heading into Thursday.
Cross Country: Ladies' Team Sprint
Team Norway—Marit Bjoergen and Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg—bested second-place Team Finland by a little over nine seconds to win the gold.
Congrats to the Finnish cross country skiers today, silver in ladies and gold in mens sprints. Well deserved. #Sochi2014— Heikki Kovalainen (@H_Kovalainen) February 19, 2014
The Norwegians were in second place after the first round, but a strong Round 2 put them in contention for the gold medal. In fact, they never looked back after that second round. They locked up the gold with that run.
Finland bested third-place Team Sweden by over 10 seconds for the silver. Sweden was barely able to hold off Team Germany for third place.
Cross Country: Men's Team Sprint
The race for the gold was fierce in the men's team sprint, as Team Finland—Iivo Niskanen and Sami Jauhojaervi—defeated Team Russia—Maxim Vylegzhanin and Nikita Kriukov—by just one second to earn the top spot on the podium.
Team Sweden took third place with a time nearly 15 seconds behind Russia.
The win for Finland was important. It marked the country's first Winter Olympic gold since the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City, Utah:
#sochi2014 Finland wins cross country's skiing men's team sprint, Finland's first Winter Olympic gold medal in any sport since 2002.— Infostrada Sports (@InfostradaGold) February 19, 2014
Team Norway was just over three seconds behind Sweden for the bronze medal.
Snowboard: Ladies' Parallel Giant Slalom
Patrizia Kummer won the gold in ladies' parallel giant slalom pretty easily after Tomoka Takeuchi of Japan faltered. She missed a gate midway through the second round of the finals, sealing the deal for Kummer's gold.
Regardless, Takeuchi was happy with her performance. She told the Associated Press that the medal was not for herself (via ESPN): "My podium is not for just Japan. I want to say thank you to whole world.''
The racers struggled at times creating their lines because of the fresh snow that recently fell on Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. This made it a difficult race for many of the competitors.
Snowboard: Men's Parallel Giant Slalom
American Vic Wild won the gold in the men's parallel giant slalom, though he earned the medal competing for Russia.
Rick Maese of The Washington Post details the interesting story of how Wild was able to compete for the Russians:
As this NBC story details, a Russian coach first proposed that Wild begin competing under a Russian flag, and when Wild married his girlfriend, Russian snowboarder Alena Zavarzina, in 2011, he obtained the citizenship necessary. He moved to Moscow and began training with the kind of resources, support and coaching that was never available to him back in the United States.
Ironically, his wife, Alena Zavarzina, earned the bronze medal in the ladies' installment of this event.
Speedskating: Ladies' 5,000-Meter
|Gold||Martina Sablikova||Czech Republic||6:51.54||-|
The Dutch were once again dominant in speedskating, as Ireen Wust and Carien Kleibeuker earned silver and bronze medals, respectively. Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic earned the gold.
Speedskaters from the Netherlands have been the talk of the Sochi Games. They have taken home an astounding 19 medals in long-track events and one (a bronze) in short-track events.
Wust herself has four medals, as the silver was just the icing on the cake following her gold in the 3,000 and two silvers in the 1,000 and 1,500.
The Dutch will look to continue their dominance in the discipline in the remaining events.
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