The 2014 Winter Olympics have almost reached a conclusion, with just one day of play left before the Closing Ceremony heralds in the end of the competitions in Sochi.
A ton of medals have been doled out during the two-plus weeks that these wild Winter Games have been held and there are still a handful left to give out.
Just because there are less than 24 hours until this event wraps up for four years doesn’t mean that the action and intrigue has come to an end. Those final few contests could make a big difference in both the overall medal standings and race for the most golds in Russia.
Let’s take a look at the latest medal tally, plus recap two of the big events from Day 15 that helped shape that count and highlight what is to come on Day 16, the final day of the Sochi Games.
Notable Day 15 Events: Snowboarding – Men’s and Women’s Parallel Slalom
The parallel slalom represented the end of the snowboard discipline at the Sochi Games. Russian Vic Wild won the men’s competition, while Julia Dujmovits of Austria topped the women’s podium.
Wild navigated to the final with a series of great runs and ultimately matched up with Zan Kosir of Sweden. The host nation held its breath during an epic race, which was ultimately decided in Wild’s favor by a mere 0.11 seconds during the medal round. Kosir would settle for silver for his valiant performance.
Some Americans may paint Wild as a defector, considering he is a Washington native who joined the Russian contingent and helped it win two golds. He did this after marrying snowboarder Alena Zavarzina, a Novosibirsk native who actually won bronze in the giant parallel slalom earlier in Sochi.
However, he claims to not have received the proper support needed to win a medal in the United States and wanted to stay with his then-girlfriend Zavarzina, so he became a Russian citizen through marriage and now competes for the country.
He spoke at length about that subject during an interview with Nick Zaccardi of NBC’s Olympic Talk:
Everybody’s got something to say. People will talk s**t. Other than that, everybody who wants to really look at it will most likely understand this guy was going to quit and wasn’t getting what he wanted.
It’s not only about snowboarding. It’s also about continuing my relationship with Alena. Had I stopped snowboarding [and stayed in the U.S.], good luck with a long-distance relationship with Alena. That stuff never works.
It seems that everything is working out swimmingly for Wild, who also won a gold in the giant parallel slalom on Feb. 19.
Benjamin Karl of Austria took bronze after he edged out Italy’s Aaron March in the small final. That strong run helped Austria reach the podium in both the men’s and women’s portion of this competition.
Dujmovits was able to coast to a victory in the big final due to a slip from Germany’s Anke Karstens, her main competition and eventual silver medalist.
Infostrada Sports noted that it was the nation’s first snowboarding gold and Austria is now six sports away from having a gold medal in each Winter Olympic discipline:
#Sochi2014 Julia Dujmovits wins Austria its first Olympic snowboard gold. Austria now have gold in 9 of 15 winter sports.— Infostrada Sports (@InfostradaGold) February 22, 2014
Amelie Kober earned bronze and helped Germany put two athletes on the podium in this thrilling event. She beat out Corinna Boccacini of Italy in the small final.
The United States dominated snowboarding at the 2014 Winter Olympics, winning five total medals and three golds, but was not able to close out the Games with a medal in this discipline.
Day 16 Preview
The 2014 Sochi Games are coming to an end on Sunday, with three medal events and the Closing Ceremony to look forward to.
Which team will win the gold-medal hockey game?
Day 16 will feature medal sets being awarded in bobsleigh (four-man), cross-country (men’s mass start) and ice hockey (men’s gold-medal match), which are all can’t-miss events ahead of the 11 a.m. ET Closing Ceremony.
If you are only going to catch one event, make sure you tune in for Canada vs. Sweden in hockey at 7 a.m. ET. These are the two best teams in the entire tournament and both are chock-full of NHL stars.
It should be an excellent match that leaves everyone on the edge of their seats, closing out the 2014 Winter Olympics on a high note and leaving us all with something to look forward to when the Games return in South Korea come 2018.