Day 13 saw the conclusion of two separate women's tournaments, plus the most widely anticipated event of the entire Winter Olympics: ladies' figure skating. There were heart-stopping finishes in ice hockey and ski cross, and we wrap up all the top results from a wild Thursday in Sochi.
Figure Skating: Ladies' Free Skate
South Korean Yuna Kim was seeking to duplicate her 2010 gold medal, and she led the pack after the short program. Co-favorite for gold Julia Lipnitskaia dazzled in the team event and helped Russia win gold, but she was fifth after the short program, and she remained fifth after the free skate as well in a disappointing finish for the 15-year-old.
However, Adelina Sotnikova, a 17-year-old from Moscow, saved the Russians with a massive 149.95 score in the free skate to lift her above "Queen Yuna" and bring gold to the host nation. Kim settled for silver. Italy's Carolina Kostner, an elder stateswoman at age 27, continued her consistent skating by claiming bronze.
American Gracie Gold place fourth after a costly fall in the free skate; teammate Ashley Wagner finished seventh. Japanese favorite Mao Asada finished sixth after a disastrous short program took her out of the running for the medal stand, but she still turned in an inspired free skate.
The last time the United States did not win an individual medal in men's or ladies' figure skating was 1936, according to NBCSN.
Nevertheless, Gold is only 18 and she will be a strong bet to return in the 2018 Olympics. Of course, she will still have young Russian sensations Sotnikova and Lipnitskaia to contend with.
Asada is only 23 years old but she is planning to retire after these Olympics, as noted continuously during NBC's coverage of the event. That should give you some sense of the shelf life of a female figure skater.
Ice Hockey: Women's Final
The United States had the gold medal all wrapped up sitting on a 2-0 lead with four minutes remaining in the third period. Then the tentative defense started to leak, and the Canadians mounted a dramatic comeback. Marie-Philip Poulin knotted the game in the final minute to force overtime.
The extra period began with furious action at both ends, but it was not until there was 11:50 remaining that the Canadians netted the gold-medal-winning power-play goal to complete the American collapse. The Canadian women took gold in overtime in 2010 as the Americans won silver, so this surely feels like a bad case of deja vu for Team USA.
In the bronze-medal game, Switzerland outlasted Sweden 4-3. Swiss goaltender Florence Schelling, who played college hockey at Northeastern, made 28 saves to put her country on the podium. As she told Jimmy Golen of the Associated Press, they were very happy with the result: "We didn't care about the color of a medal. A medal is a medal."
Curling: Women's Final
Canada beat Sweden 6-3 in the gold-medal match, and Great Britain edged the Swiss 6-5 to claim bronze. And in case you missed all the curling action, it's surprisingly one of the loudest sports at the Olympics.
According to Neil Davidson of The Canadian Press, "Canadian skip Jennifer Jones...has now added Olympic gold to the world championship she won in 2008 as well as four Canadian crowns." With that sort of dominance recently, the result is hardly surprising.
There were also some notable audience members watching Canada claim gold: "Team Canada coach Mike Babcock was in the stands to witness the Canadian win, as were several members of the Swedish hockey team." Now Babcock and his charges have something concrete to aspire to.
Freestyle Skiing: Men's Ski Cross
Frenchmen dominated the medal stand with Jean-Frederic Chapuis taking gold ahead of countrymen Arnaud Bovolenta and Jonathan Midol.
However, the craziest moment of ski cross, an event with multiple racers on the same course that often sees crashes decide the finish, came when Russian Egor Korotkov, Finland’s Jouni Pellinen and Victor Norberg of Sweden all fell down and slid across the finish line at approximately the same time in their heat.
Freestyle Skiing: Ladies' Ski Halfpipe
Shaun White came to Sochi seeking a third-straight gold medal in snowboarding halfpipe. He came up short of the medal stand, but the American freestyle skiers have made up for it by delivering two golds on the halfpipe.
After David Wise took gold for the United States in men's ski halfpipe on Tuesday, American Maddie Bowman seized the ladies' gold. Bowman edged France's Marie Martinod Japanese bronze-medalist Ayana Onozuka.
Nordic Combined: Team Large Hill
Norwegians had won three of the six individual medals in Nordic combined at Sochi, but Germany's Eric Frenzel claimed the gold on the normal hill.
The Germans led the team event after the ski jumping portion, but Norway ruled the cross-country skiing and glided away with another gold in Nordic combined. Germany ended up with silver, and Austria won bronze.
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