Sochi Winter Olympics: Day 14 Medal Predictions and Results

Joe Menzer@@OneMenzFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2014

Sochi Winter Olympics: Day 14 Medal Predictions and Results

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    Imagine being the favorite to win an event at the Winter Olympics

    Now, imagine those expectations are placed on the shoulders of an 18-year-old Alpine skier. That's the situation American skier Mikaela Shiffrin faced in the women's slalom.

    Instead of letting that pressure sink her, Shiffrin rose to the occasion and won the second Alpine gold medal for the United States with two magnificent runs.

    Russian short-track speedskater Victor An was also under intense pressure. However, he laughed at that pressure in winning the 500-meter sprint and leading the Russian team to the 5,000-meter relay gold medal.

    Canadian skiers Marielle Thompson and Kelsey Serwa took gold and silver in the ski cross event. Canada was also successful in winning the men's curling championship, as that nation trounced Great Britain.

Women's Freestyle Skiing: Ski Cross

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    The final freestyle skiing event of the Games belonged to the Canadians, as they finished first and second in the women's ski cross.

    Marielle Thompson edged out teammate Kelsey Serwa at the finish line to hand Canada its fourth gold medal in freestyle skiing at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

    Serwa was the No. 1 seed throughout the competition, but she had to settle for silver when Thompson eclipsed her in the four-women final. Sweden's Anna Holmlund won the bronze.

    Canada also became the first nation to ever win four golds in freestyle skiing at a single Winter Games.


    Gold: Marielle Thompson (Canada)

    Silver: Kelsey Serwa (Canada)

    Bronze: Anna Holmlund (Sweden)

    Last Updated by Joe Tansey. 


    Pre-Event Predictions

    Like the snowboard cross, the freestyle ski cross is an exciting, unpredictable, often physical and high-flying event in which staying upright and going fast are the two most important goals for maximum success.

    Canada's Marielle Thompson is the slight favorite to do that the best and earn the gold medal. But she'll get plenty of competition from the Swiss duo of Katrin Mueller and Fanny Smith, as well as a host of others including Ophelie David of France.



    Gold: Marielle Thompson, Canada

    Silver: Katrin Mueller, Switzerland

    Bronze: Fanny Smith, Switzerland

Men's Curling

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    Call it a three-peat for Canada.

    The Canadians appeared to be in for a big fight in the curling finals, but they came out and dominated against Great Britain and recorded a 9-3 triumph, earning their third straight Olympic gold.

    Canada had a 2-1 lead going into the third end and simply took charge of the match by scoring three points in the fourth. The Canadians continued to add to their lead and were never seriously challenged by the disappointing British team.

    Canadian skip Brad Jacobs had a sensational game, while British skip David Murdoch struggled.

    In the bronze-medal game, Sweden gained the victory after losing at the same level of competition in Vancouver.

    The Swedes had to wait an extra end to defeat China, 6-4, but they were able to capitalize on some major mistakes by the Chinese late in the match.


    Gold: Canada

    Silver: Great Britain

    Bronze: Sweden

    Last Updated by Steve Silverman 


    Pre-Event Predictions

    Maybe it's the perception that it looks like something we all could do, perhaps even with a cold beer nearby for refreshment in between stone throws. Whatever the reason, curling always seems to be an Olympic favorite.

    This is the pinnacle of the men's curling competition in Sochi, with a pair of games set to determine who wins which medals: Canada vs. Great Britain in the gold-medal game, preceded by China vs. Sweden in the bronze-medal game.

    Canada seeks a third consecutive Olympic gold medal and is the prohibitive favorite over Great Britain, while Sweden is a slight favorite over the up-and-coming Chinese team in the bronze-medal contest.

    According to Canada curler Ryan Fry, Canadians take their curling seriously. After beating the Chinese 10-6 in the semifinals, Fry told The Associated Press, via Yahoo News: "To keep Canada at the forefront of curling and keep us in the medals really means the world."

    An Olympic three-peat would do just that.



    Gold: Canada

    Silver: Great Britain

    Bronze: Sweden

Women's Biathlon: 4x6-Kilometer Relay

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    Call it an upset in the women's 4x6-kilometer relay.

    Analysts expected the Ukraine to have a decent team, but they were not expected to land on the podium. However, the Ukrainian skier/shooters were the best team in the competition. They won the gold medal with a 1:10:02.5 time, which allowed them to beat the second-place Russian team by more than 26 seconds.

    The Ukraine team was assessed five penalty points, while the Russians were hit with just four.

    Norway took the bronze medal, which was a disappointment because the nation expected a gold medal.

    Give credit to Juliya Dzhyma, who skated the second leg for the Ukraine. When she started her portion of the race, she had a 6.7-second deficit, and that margin grew to 15.8 seconds. However, by the time she finished her leg, she had given the Ukraine team the lead.

    The U.S. team finished in seventh with a time of 1:12:14.2, which placed them 2:11.7 behind the gold-medal winners.


    Gold: Ukraine, 1:10:02.5

    Silver: Russia, 1:10:28.9

    Bronze: Norway, 1:10:40.1

    Last Updated by Steve Silverman


    Pre-Event Predictions

    If it's the biathlon and it's a team relay, count Norway and Germany in as medal contenders. This event is no exception.

    Ukraine, Russia and Belarus also are expected to contend for medals.

    Although not expected to contend for gold, it's hard to count out Belarus because its team includes Darya Domracheva. She already has won three individual golds in these Olympics, becoming the first woman in the history of the biathlon to do so in a single Olympics.

    Norway's Tiril Eckhoff, who finished 27.3 seconds behind Domracheva in the 12.5-kilometer to take the bronze in that event, indicated that she and her teammates are well aware of what Domracheva can do to lift Belarus into contention.

    "She is amazing. She skis like a dancer," Eckhoff told the AP, via ABC News, of Domracheva. 



    Gold: Norway

    Silver: Germany

    Bronze: Belarus

Alpine Skiing: Women's Slalom

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    The pressure on 18-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin was incredible.

    She was the favorite going into the women's slalom event, and she put a time on the board that was good enough to put her in first place after her initial run. That meant she had to sit and wait for her second run, watching all the other medal contenders put up their times.

    Finally, Shiffrin got her turn. After her initial run of 52.62, she knew she had a huge job in front of her. She needed a time of 52.45 to take first place away from Marlies Schild of Austria.

    Shiffrin made one little mistake on her run, but it was not enough to stop her. She recovered easily and put a 51.92 on the scoreboard. That gave her the gold medal, the second for the United States in Alpine skiing.

    Ted Ligety won the other gold medal in the giant slalom.

    Schild took the silver medal, and her Austrian teammate Kathrin Zettel took the bronze medal.

    American Julia Ford finished 24th, while Resi Stiegler, the third American in the field, did not finish her second run.


    Gold: Mikaela Shiffrin, United States

    Silver: Marlies Schild, Austria

    Bronze: Kathrin Zettel, Austria

    Last Updated by Steve Silverman


    Pre-Event Predictions

    American Mikaela Shiffrin is supposed to be one of the darlings of these Olympics.

    But to fulfill that dream, she'll have to live up to expectations in the slalom—where at age 18, she will be the favorite to claim gold against some giants of her sport.

    Shiffrin already has seven World Cup victories. That's the same number as four-time Olympic medalist (stretched across four Olympics and 16 years) Julia Mancuso and only two fewer than legendary Olympic champion Picabo Street.

    But she will have her hands full.

    Her main competition comes from a veteran trio: Austria's Marlies Schild, 32 and owner of a record 35 career slalom victories in international competition (but none in an Olympics, where she has medaled but not won gold); Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch, 29, the defending Olympic champion in this event and already a two-time medalist in Sochi; and Slovenia's Tina Maze, 30, the defending World Cup overall champion who has secured two Sochi golds.

    Shiffrin finished fifth in the giant slalom earlier in these Winter Games, but that's not considered her specialty, and she wasn't a medal favorite in that event.



    Gold: Mikaela Shiffrin, United States

    Silver: Marlies Schild, Austria

    Bronze: Maria Hoefl-Riesch, Germany

Men's Short-Track Speedskating: 500 Meters

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    The Russian fans at the Iceberg Skating Palace wanted to see national hero Victor An blow the roof off the Iceberg Skating Palace.

    They were not disappointed. An qualified for the finals with little problem, but he found himself in third place early in the 500-meter final. However, An was not about to let that early deficit stop him. He simply turned on the speed, moved into second place and then took aim at leader Dajing Wu of China.

    An found another gear and ran down Wu on the final lap. He won his gold medal with a time of 41.312 in front of his adoring fans.

    Wu took the silver medal with a time of 41.516, while Canadian Charle Cournoyer took the bronze with a time of 41.617


    Gold: Victor An, Russia

    Silver: Dajing Wu, China

    Bronze: Charle Cournoyer, Canada

    Last Updated by Steve Silverman


    Pre-Event Predictions

    As remarkable as it seems, J.R. Celski is America's last man left standing, or skating, for an individual speedskating medal in Sochi.

    That includes short-track and long-track speedskating events.

    Celski, 23, will get his final shot at individual glory (he'll also skate as part of the U.S. men's 5,000-meter relay team on Friday) in the 500 meters. It won't be easy, as he'll have to advance through quarterfinal and semifinal heats before he's even in the final where medalists will be determined.

    In fact, Celski—a two-time bronze medalist at the Vancouver Games in 2010—does not enter this event as one of the favorites.

    Russia's Victor An is the favorite for gold, with Celski likely to battle the likes of China's Dajing Wu and Vladimir Grigorev of Russia for the other spots on the podium. 



    Gold: Victor An, Russia

    Silver: Vladimir Grigorev, Russia

    Bronze: J.R. Celski, United States

Women's Short-Track Speedskating: 1,000 Meters

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    The United States had one more chance to get a short-track speedskating medal in the 1,000-meter race. Jessica Smith seemed to be making the most of her opportunity, as she was in third place going into the final two laps of the race.

    However, a medal was not to be. Kexin Fan of China came roaring from behind and passed her. Fan would ultimately get the silver medal.

    The gold and bronze prizes would go to Korean skaters Seung-Hi Park and Suk-Hee Shim respectively. Park got off to the early lead and never yielded her position.


    Gold: Seung-Hi Park, Korea

    Silver: Kexin Fan, China

    Bronze: Suk-Hee Shim, Korea

    Last Updated by Steve Silverman


    Pre-Event Predictions

    In women's short-track speedskating, Korea usually is at the forefront of the conversation.

    This event is no exception, and it's seemingly quite possible the Koreans could sweep all the medals.

    Suk-Hee Shim is the favorite for the gold but is expected to be pushed by teammates Alang Kim and Seung-Hi Park. Shim anchored South Korea's gold-medal-winning 3,000-meter relay team, passing China for the lead with only half of a lap remaining to win in dramatic fashion.

    Italy's Arianna Fontana seems to have the best chance to break up the potential Korean sweep of the medals.



    Gold: Suk-Hee Shim, Korea

    Silver: Alang Kim, Korea

    Bronze: Seung-Hi Park, Korea

Men's Short-Track Speedskating: 5,000-Meter Relay

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    Finally, the United States found a measure of success in short-track speedskating.

    In danger of getting shut out through the Olympics, the American relay team of Eddy Alvarez, J.R. Celski, Chris Creveling and Jordan Malone pressed the Russian team hard throughout the event and earned the silver medal.

    The Russian team, led by explosive Victor An, won the gold medal. China earned the bronze.

    Russia and the United States broke hard at the start, and those two teams dominated the race. The United States was content to sit in the second spot for the majority of the race. However, the Americans passed the Russians with about 14 laps to go, and it appeared they might take the gold.

    The Russians regained the lead with seven laps to go. The key was making sure they maintained that advantage until An could jump back into the race, because the Americans simply had nobody who could keep up with him.

    No gold medal for the United States, but at least they broke the shutout.


    Gold: Russia

    Silver: United States

    Bronze: China

    Last Updated by Steve Silverman


    Pre-Event Predictions

    Can the United States men rally to salvage some level of respect in an Olympics that has been largely an unforeseen disappointment for them on the world speedskating stage?

    Well, the path certainly is wide open for them to do so.

    Canada had been considered the favorite to win gold for the fourth time in five Winter Games but crashed in its semifinal and was unexpectedly eliminated.

    South Korea also was eliminated in a controversial semifinal after which it was ruled that with four laps to go, South Korea's Ho-Suk Lee interfered with Eddy Alvarez of the United States. Both skaters tumbled to the ice at the same time, and the United States finished fourth and was out of the finals until officials ruled otherwise.

    "That was the race to get through," Alvarez told the Los Angeles Times. "Now we've just got to let the tiger out of his cage."



    Gold: United States

    Silver: Russia

    Bronze: China