The Olympics are headed to a close.
It's sad, really, for those who have devoted so much time and effort to watching every event imaginable, even while at work or at dinner.
However, it perhaps is a relief for those who want their co-workers or significant others to come back to reality.
Either way, the 14th day of the Sochi Olympics has provided a ton of action to keep all parties interested. Whether it was the semifinals of the men's hockey tournament or the action on the slopes, this was one of the more exciting days of the tournament.
And as we enter the final days of this grand spectacle, the race for first place in the medal count hits high gear. The United States leads in total medals, but Norway leads in gold medals.
Let's take a glance at the latest medal count for each nation at the Olympics while highlighting some of the events that made Day 14 so exciting.
Latest Medal Count
Gold Medalists on Day 14
|Freestyle Skiing: Women's Ski Cross||Marielle Thompson/Canada|
|Curling: Men's Final||Canada|
|Biathlon: Women's 4x6-km Relay||Ukraine|
|Alpine Skiing: Women's Slalom||Mikaela Shiffrin/USA|
|Speedskating: Men's 500 Meters (Short Track)||Viktor Ahn/Russia|
|Speedskating: Women's 1,000 Meters (Short Track)||Seung-Hi Park/South Korea|
|Speedskating: Men's 5,000-m Relay (Short Track)||Russia|
Freestyle Skiing: Women's Ski Cross
It was one-two for the Canadians on the podium, as Marielle Thompson took gold and Kelsey Serwa took silver in the final of women's ski cross.
It was a relatively easy race for the Canadians, with Thompson taking the lead from the start and Serwa cruising right behind for silver. French skier Ophelie David crashed toward the bottom of the course, which paved the way for Anna Holmlund of Sweden to take the bronze.
The Canadians were clearly overjoyed at the result:
“In the first turn, I gave [Serva] a little space because she called ‘inside!,’” Thompson said, per Eric Reguly of the Globe and Mail. “We definitely try to help each other. I’m not going to cut her off and that’s how we went all the way down.”
This is the second Olympics for ski cross, which continues to dazzle viewers with its high speeds, big air and harsh crashes. As more and more extreme sports find their way into the Olympics, it's not a surprise that ski cross has become so popular. And it looks like it will continue to be a popular sport for years to come.
Biathlon: Women's 4x6-Kilometer Relay
Sports can bring people together. That may be its best quality.
No sporting event brings people together better than the Olympics. Instead of rooting for individual teams, a whole country is rooting for the same players and teams.
So for the Ukrainian women's biathlon relay team, they may have had the goal of unity in mind. With protests surrounding the capital of Kiev and tension in the country at an all-time high, a gold medal could do wonders to bring people together.
The Ukrainians survived Valj Semerenko missing three shots on the third leg, and 2013 World Sprint Champion Olena Pidhrushna brought it home. It's the first gold for the Ukranian team.
Fellow Olympian and countryman Sergey Bubka tweeted his excitement:
Thanks to the girls - Vita and Valja Semerenko, Julia Dzhyma and Olena Pidhrushna! Thanks to coaches and managers! You made it for Ukraine!!— Sergey Bubka (@sergey_bubka) February 21, 2014
Russia and Norway brought home the other two medals. The U.S. finished seventh, the highest finish for the Americans in this event. They were led by Susan Dunklee, who has had a fantastic Olympics, as BuzzFeed Sports has noted:
Susan Dunklee with the best-ever finish by an American woman in the biathlon (12th). s/o to Vermont pic.twitter.com/fzXezg8EpV— BuzzFeed Sports (@BuzzFeedSports) February 17, 2014
The other big surprise was Germany finishing in 11th place. This marks the first time since this event was added to the Olympic slate in 1992 that the Germans have failed to medal. It's been a disappointing biathlon competition for the Germans, who have just one total medal in the discipline.
But the real story here was the effort of the Ukrainians, who won an important medal for their country.