Only three events remain at the 2014 Winter Olympics after an exciting Day 15 in Sochi, and it seems as though Russia is going to end the week as the overall leaders in the medal count.
In the last day of the games, Sweden will take on Canada in the men's hockey final to see who will get gold and silver after Finland secured a bronze on Saturday. Additionally, Russia will try to hold onto its lead in bobsled while anyone can win the cross-country 50-kilometer mass start.
Considering Russia has already taken a two-medal lead in the overall standings after a fantastic effort on Day 15, it seems like this race is all but over.
Here is a full look at the medal count as well as a recap of all the action from Feb. 22 in Sochi.
Alpine Skiing Men's Slalom
It was an extremely difficult course to navigate, but Austria's Mario Matt did enough to come away with the gold medal, slightly ahead of teammate Marcel Hirscher who earned silver.
Matt posted the best time of field in his first run and then remained cautious on his second run to ensure the victory.
This caution was necessary because wipeouts were the big story of this race. There were 34 competitors who either did not finish or were disqualified, including five of the top 10 from the first run. One of those skiers was American Ted Ligety, who was in sixth place after one run but could not finish his second.
The two-time gold medalist explained to Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports that the course was "borderline unsportsmanlike" and added:
This Olympics, you were trying to showcase our sport to the rest of the world. I don't think this does us any favors, especially when you have 12 guys in the top 30 go out. …When the snow is as poor as it is right now, it's just a battle of who makes it down relatively clean – not necessarily being the best guy in the world, but if you can make it down cleanly.
I'm really glad I wasn't one of the big medal favorites today, because that would have been really tough to swallow, having to ski this course set.
It clearly cost a lot of people a chance to medal, but Matt had no problems as he was able to secure his first Olympic medal at 34 years old.
Biathlon Men's Relay
Russia did not have the best shooting performance in the biathlon relay, but it did enough to finish on top with a 3.5-second advantage over Germany.
The eventual winners had fallen as far back as 15th place early on thanks to a slow start by Alexey Volkov. However, Evgeny Ustyugov and Dmitry Malyshko kept the team in contention as it went into the final section in third place.
At this point, it was all on Anton Shipulin, who was perfect in his standing shoot and passed his opponents to secure a win for his country.
Germany easily finished with the silver, while Austria had an uncontested run at the bronze medal. Norway had high expectations, but some poor shooting by Emil Hegle Svendsen knocked the team off the podium.
Cross-Country Ladies' 30-Kilometer Mass Start
|Bronze||Kristin Stoermer Steira||Norway|
Once again, Norway came through with an outstanding effort in a cross-country race as Marit Bjoergen led a podium sweep for her country.
Bjoergen, Therese Johaug and Kristin Stoermer Steira were actually involved in a really close race...with each other. Everyone else was more than a minute off the lead and had no chance to break up the Norwegian dominance in the sport.
There have been 11 events so far in cross-country skiing, and Norway and Sweden have each earned 11 total medals in the sport. Of course, Norway has won five gold medals in this stretch with no one else getting more than two.
This success in the one sport has the country tied with Russia for the most gold medals with a chance to win the overall lead on Sunday.
Snowboard Men's and Women's Parallel Slalom
|Medal||Men's Winners||Country||Women's Winners||Country|
|Gold||Vic Wild||Russia||Julia Dujmovits||Austria|
|Silver||Zan Kosir||Slovenia||Anke Karstens||Germany|
|Bronze||Benjamin Karl||Austria||Amelie Kober||Germany|
There is certain to be a number of upset Americans at these results as Vic Wild earned his second gold medal of the Olympics. The Washington native moved to Russia and trained there, eventually becoming a citizen and winning medals for his new country.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports quotes Wild discussing why he made his move:
I would not have snowboarded for the United States. I was done snowboarding. I would have moved on. I would have gone to college. And I would have had a great life. I had another option. The only option to snowboard was to go to Russia and snowboard. I wanted to continue snowboarding, to see how good I can be. I wanted to know I gave it everything I had.
Still, Wild ended up as the winner of two gold medals in the slalom and giant slalom.
There was a completely different leaderboard on the women's side, as Julia Dujmovits found her calling in the regular slalom after failing to qualify for the races in the giant slalom. However, the Austrian posted the fifth-best time on Saturday before winning her next four races to win gold.
Speedskating Men's and Women's Team Pursuit
|Medal||Men's Winners||Women's Winners|
Based on what we have seen throughout the Olympics, no one should be surprised to see the Netherlands on top of the podium in both the men's and women's team pursuits.
The Dutch showed off their depth by defeating France, Poland and South Korea in the men's race, posting an Olympic record in the final. Meanwhile, the women also set an Olympic record with their final win over Poland, which came after wins over Japan and the United States.
Paul Carr of ESPN notes the incredible dominance for the Netherlands in Sochi:
Netherlands won 23 of the 36 speed skating medals. No other country won more than 3. #Sochi2014— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) February 22, 2014
Besides the overall count, the Dutch also earned eight of 12 gold medals with no one else earning more than one. Meanwhile, the United States finished with zero medals in this sport despite having high expectations.
While the Netherlands will remain a top competitor in future events, we might never see a showing like this again.
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