Sochi Winter Olympics 2014: Day 15 Predictions

Tyler Donohue@@TDsTakeNational Recruiting AnalystFebruary 21, 2014

Sochi Winter Olympics 2014: Day 15 Predictions

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    Gregorio Borgia/Associated Press

    The Russian hosts had a strong penultimate day of competition at the 22nd Olympic Winter Games.

    A surprise team gold in the men's 4x7.5 kilometer biathlon relay matched up with snowboarder Vic Wild's second gold of the Games, in parallel slalom, tying Russia with Norway at the top of the leaderboard with 11 gold medals.

    Norway took some consolation from sweeping the podium in the women's 30-kilometer cross-country skiing event.

    Meanwhile, the Netherlands dominated again at the Olympic oval, winning gold in both the men's and women's team pursuit events.

    Mario Matt of Austria captured the gold medal in men's slalom and in the final medal event of the day, the U.S men's hockey team was shut out Finland in the bronze medal game by a score of 5-0.

Men's Hockey: Bronze Medal Game

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    Jonathan Quick
    Jonathan QuickAl Bello/Getty Images

    Eleven seconds early in the second period were the difference in the men's hockey bronze medal game at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, where Finland defeated the United States by a score of 5-0.

    Two quick goals by Teemu Selanne and Jussi Jokinen were all that was required for Finland to claim third place in the tournament. They added three more against a dejected American squad in the third, including the second of the game and fourth of the tournament for Olympic hockey's all-time leading scorer, 43-year-old Teemu Selanne.

    The U.S. team had its chances—most notably, two penalty shots by Chicago Blackhawks' sniper Patrick Kane. He was chosen by coach Dan Bylsma to take the first penalty shot after Finnish defender Kimmo Timonen threw his stick in the defensive zone in the first period, but was stopped by Tuukka Rask. The second penalty shot came when he was hooked from behind on a scoring chance in the second, but Kane hit the post.

    The result is a huge disappointment and will raise plenty of questions for the Americans, who memorably won silver in Vancouver and were hoping to contend for gold. For Finland, it's a repeat of their bronze-medal performance from 2010.

    Bronze Medal Result:  Finland 5 - United States 0

    Update by Carol Schram

    Pre-Event Prediction

    Finland and America square off after frustrating semifinal defeats. Both teams will be emotionally exhausted entering the matchup, but neither wants to leave Sochi empty-handed.

    The squads bring elite scorers into the contest, but Jonathan Quick gives the U.S. an edge in goal. He'll be the difference in another tight Olympic matchup.


    United States 2, Finland 1

Men's Alpine Skiing: Slalom

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    Marcel Hirscher
    Marcel HirscherPaul Bussi-USA TODAY Sports

    Men's slalom favourite Marcel Hirscher left the door open for after the first run, and his Austrian teammate Mario Matt walked through it.

    After finishing ninth in the first run, Hirscher laid down a strong second run, moving up into second place as tough conditions wreaked havoc on the leaders in the late stages of the race.

    Mario Matt was able to hang on, parlaying a lead of 45-hundredths of a second after his first run into a gold medal performance with a time of one minute, 41.84 seconds on Saturday at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center.

    Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway moved up from 15th places to claim the bronze.

    After finishing 16th in his first run, defending gold medalist Giuliano Razzoli of Italy crashed on his second run, ending the competition with a DNF.

    In sixth place after the first run, Ted Ligety of the U.S. didn't make it down the mountain the second time, finishing with a DNF. Teammate Nolan Kasper finished the two runs in a time of 1:44.22, good for 13th place, while David Chodounsky didn't complete his first run.

    Medal Results:

    Gold: Mario Matt - Austria - 1:41.84

    Silver: Marcel Hirscher - Austria - 1:42.12

    Bronze: Henrik Kristoffersen - Norway - 1:42.67

    Update by Carol Schram

    Pre-Event Prediction

    Austrian Marcel Hirscher enters this competition as a heavy favorite. He is a dominant figure in World Cup action and aims to add another medal to his nation's hefty 2014 haul.

    Ted Ligety could cement his status as an Olympic icon. The American earned a historic gold medal in the giant slalom earlier in the week.

    Germany's Felix Neureuther is a consistent World Cup contender but remains in search of Olympic glory. He figures to contend for gold, along with Ivica Kostelic. The Croatian collected silver at the 2010 Vancouver Games.


    Gold: Marcel Hirscher, Austria

    Silver: Ivan Kostelic, Croatia

    Bronze: Felix Neureuther, Germany

Men's Biathlon: 4x7.5-Kilometer Relay

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    Will Martin Fourcade compete?
    Will Martin Fourcade compete?Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

    After a disastrous final round of shooting, the defending Olympic champion Norwegians fell out of the medal picture in the men's 4x7.5 kilometer biathlon on Saturday at the Laura Cross-Country Ski & Biathlon Center.

    Norway led for much of the race, but anchor skier Emil Hegle Svendsen handed over a big lead on the standing range as he was forced to ski a 150-meter penalty lap. That left Germany, Russia and Austria to fight it out for gold.

    Spurred on by a euphoric crowd in the stadium, Russia's Anton Shipulin out-kicked Germany's Simon Schempp at the finish line to capture gold for the home country.

    With their fourth-place finish, Norway failed to add to Ole Einar Bjoerndalen's medal collection. He had become the Winter Olympics' most-decorated athlete in history earlier in the week in the mixed relay.

    Final Medal Results

    Gold: Russia, 1:12:15.9

    Silver: Germany, 1:12:19.4

    Bronze: Austria, 1:12:45.7

    Pre-Event Prediction

    The complexion of this event altered greatly when Frenchman Martin Fourcade fell ill. The three-time 2014 Olympic medalist is at risk of missing the men's relay, according to his coach.

    "He's not well. The outlook is not good at all," Stephane Bouthiaux told Reuters, via Yahoo News.

    Norway reigns as gold medalist in this event and has enjoyed further biathlon success throughout these Games. The rivalry between Austria and Germany will be renewed as well.

    The Austrians earned silver in 2010, while Russia followed with bronze. France still has a chance to reach the podium in Fourcade's absence, but Sweden may leapfrog the French on the list of favorites.


    Gold: Norway

    Silver: Austria

    Bronze: Sweden

Women's Speedskating: Team Pursuit

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    Ireen Wust
    Ireen WustMatt Dunham/Associated Press

    Ireen Wust of the Netherlands became just the 10th athlete in Winter Olympics history to win five medals in a single Winter Games when her team from the Netherlands captured the gold medal in the women's team pursuit on Saturday at Adler Arena.

    Wust skated with teammates Marrit Leenstra and Jorien Ter Mors in the final to capture the Netherlands' first-ever medal in this event.

    Once again, the Dutch were untouchable, easily beating out Poland for the top spot with an Olympic-record time of 2:58.05. Russia took the bronze medal, beating Japan by nearly three seconds in a time of 2:59.73.

    The U.S. women's team of Heather Richardson, Brittany Bowe and Jilleanne Rookard were defeated by Canada in the "C" final, finishing in sixth place overall.

    Final Medal Results

    Gold: Netherlands, 2:58.05 - Olympic Record

    Silver: Poland, 3:05.55

    Bronze: Russia, 2:59.73

    Pre-Event Prediction

    The Dutch are always a power in speedskating, and that carries over into this event. Netherlands is led by 2014 medalists Ireen Wust, Jorien Ter Mors and Lotte van Beek and certainly commands distinction as a favorite.

    Russia and Japan are also forces in the field. The two countries are likely to land on the podium.

    Poland—the bronze-medalists in Vancouver—surged past Norway en route to the semifinal.


    Gold: Netherlands

    Silver: Russia

    Bronze: Japan

Men's Speedskating: Team Pursuit

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    Sven Kramer
    Sven KramerRobert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sport

    The Dutch did it again on Saturday in the men's team pursuit final at the Adler Arena in Sochi.

    The team of Jan Blokhuijsen, Sven Kramer and Koen Verweij from the Netherlands crushed its opposition from South Korea in the "A" final, setting an Olympic record with a time of 3:37.71 while earning its first-ever gold in the event. Poland's strong finishing kick enabled them to beat out Canada for the bronze.

    Continuing their string of disappointments at the oval, the U.S. team of Brian Hansen, Jonathan Kuck and Joey Mantia skated in final "D," but handily beat out the team from France by more than five seconds to finish in seventh place. Shani Davis did not race in the final.

    Final Medal Results

    Gold: Netherlands, 3:37.71 (Olympic record)

    Silver: South Korea, 3.40.85

    Bronze: Poland, 3:41.94

    Pre-Event Prediction

    The Dutch dominated France in quarterfinal action, taking another step toward their expected spot on the medal stand. Koen Verweij and Jan Blokhuijsen can join teammate Sven Kramer as multi-medal winners.

    The Netherlands are a slight favorite against a formidable South Korean squad in one semifinal, and the Dutch should follow by taking gold no matter their opponent. That projects to be Canada, who we'll give an edge over Poland.


    Gold: Netherlands

    Silver: Canada

    Bronze: South Korea

Women's Cross-Country Skiing: 30-Kilometer Freestyle

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    If there was ever an event that showcased the dominance of Norway at the Winter Olympics, it was the women's cross-country 30-kilometer freestyle.

    From the outset of the race, Norway had the top three spots on the leaderboard secured, while everyone in the field were in left in awe.

    As the trio of Marit Bjoergen, Therese Johaug and Kristin Stoermer Steira approached the finish line, they were able to duel it out for the three places on the medal podium. 

    Bjoergen earned her 10th overall Olympic medal by pulling away from Johaug on the final climb to cement her legacy in the sport with yet another gold.

    Johaug skied into second place, while Steira held on for the bronze after being dropped by the final two on the final climb. 

    The sweep marked the first time ever that three Norwegian women controlled the podium and the 12th time at the Winter Olympics that the nation achieved such a feat. 

    Final Medal Results

    Gold: Marit Bjoergen, Norway, 1:11.05.2

    Silver: Therese Johaug, Norway, 1:11.07.8

    Bronze: Kristin Stoermer Steira, Norway, 1:11.28.8

    Pre-Event Predictions

    Polish skier Justyna Kowalczyk is the returning gold medalist from Vancouver. She already earned 2014 gold in the 10-kilometer race.

    Marit Bjoergen leads a strong group of Norwegians that includes Heidi Weng. Bjoergen claimed silver in Vancouver.

    Finnish star Aino-Kaisa Saarinen is back looking to better her 2010 bronze, setting the stage for a reunion of all 2010 finalists.


    Gold: Justyna Kowalczyk, Poland

    Silver: Heidi Weng, Norway

    Bronze: Marit Bjoergen, Norway

Women's Snowboarding: Parallel Slalom

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Julia Dujmovits of Austria faced a deficit of 72-hundredths of a second after her first run in the women's parallel slalom final. 

    After she finished the second heat, Dujmovits made up that time and defeated Anke Karstens of Germany by 12-hundredths to become the first-ever gold medalist in the parallel slalom.

    Dujmovits earned the third gold medal of the Games for Austria, who earned the other two golds in Alpine skiing.

    Karstens was joined on the medal podium by teammate Amelie Kober, who won the bronze-medal race over Corinna Boccacini of Italy.

    Final Medal Results

    Gold: Julia Dujmovits, Austria

    Silver: Anke Karstens, Germany

    Bronze: Amelie Kober, Germany

    Pre-Event Predictions

    Swiss sensation Patrizia Kummer emerged as a star in parallel giant slalom action, earning a gold medal earlier this week. Russian Alena Zavarzina earned a bronze on the giant slalom about 15 minutes before her husband Vic Wild reached the top of the podium in the same event on the men's side.

    Tomoka Takeuchi is an established contender from Japan. She is fresh off silver in the giant slalom. Julie Zogg is another competitor from Switzerland in the mix for the podium.

    Canadian Marianne Leeson is a strong contender. She should fight for a spot on the medal stand along with Claudia Riegler of Austria.



    Gold: Patrizia Kummer, Switzerland

    Silver: Tomoka Takeuchi, Japan

    Bronze: Marianne Leeson, Canada

Men's Snowboarding: Parallel Slalom

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    Vic Wild
    Vic WildAndy Wong/Associated Press

    Vic Wild became the first-ever snowboarder to win two gold medals at a single Olympics as he dominated the men's parallel slalom.

    Wild, who was born in America but represents Russia, previously won gold in the parallel giant slalom on Wednesday.

    Wild defeated Zan Kosir of Slovenia by 11-hundredths of a second in the two-heat final to earn Russia's 10th gold of the Games.

    Kosir, who also scored a bronze in the parallel giant slalom, joined Wild in the history books as the duo became the only two athletes to win more than one medal at a single Games in snowboarding.

    Benjamin Karl of Austria earned the bronze medal after taking care of business against Aaron March of Italy in the third-place matchup.

    Final Medal Results

    Gold: Vic Wild, Russia

    Silver: Zan Kosir, Slovenia

    Bronze: Benjamin Karl, Austria

    Pre-Event Predictions

    Russian Vic Wild took gold Wednesday in the giant slalom and is seemingly the favorite here. He'll challenge a lengthy list of stars in this one-on-one tournament-style showdown.

    Rok Marguc won gold in the event at the 2013 World Championships. The Slovenian is likely the strongest challenge to Wild.

    Simon Schoch of Switzerland is the "old guy" of the bunch at 35, but he remains an Olympic favorite.


    Gold: Vic Wild, Russia

    Silver: Rok Marguc, Slovenia

    Bronze: Simon Schoch, Switzerland