Day 15 of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi turned out to be a huge day for both the host nation and Norway. Now the only question that remains is if both nations can end the games on an equally emphatic note in Day 16.
Russia overtook the USA atop the medal standings, thanks to a surprise victory in the men's biathlon 4x7.5-kilometer relay. The host nation will look to continue to ride home-field advantage and secure the medal lead as the games come to a close on Sunday.
Norway, meanwhile, made a mad dash for a second-place finish in the medal count with a huge Saturday. After sweeping the women's cross-country 30-kilometer freestyle, the Norwegians are just one medal behind the Americans for a second-place finish with one day to go.
Leading the way for the Norwegians was Marit Bjoergen. The 33-year-old expanded her legacy as an Olympic legend by earning her sixth career gold medal and joining some elite company in the history of the winter games, per ESPN Stats & Info:
Norway's Marit Bjørgen is the 2nd woman ever to win 3 golds at 2 different Olympiads, joining Russia's Lyubov Yegorova (1992 and 1994)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 22, 2014
However, Day 15's heroes will soon give way to Day 16's as countries and athletes look to make one last impression in Sochi before the closing ceremony. Here are a few storylines to keep an eye on as you watch the final day of the games.
Thrilling Conclusion to Four-Man Bobsled
The four-man bobsled may not have yielded any medals in Day 15, but it did set up for a dramatic finish on Day 16.
Host nation Russia will enter the final day with the lead. Led by driver Alexander Zubkov, who earned gold in the two-man event, it holds a .4-second advantage over Latvia through two runs.
Latvia isn't the only nation within striking distance, though. The Americans have a legitimate shot at capturing one last gold medal. They stand in fourth place but are just .17 seconds behind the current leader.
According to Team USA driver Steven Holcomb, that's a gap that can easily be closed with two good runs on Sunday, per the Associated Press (H/T CBS):
I knew it was going to be hard to be first... Coming down and having that pretty good lead going into that second heat, ahead of the Latvians, it shows anybody can have a good run and move right up. We're only 17-hundreths out of a gold medal and that can be made up in two runs, easily.
Fans of the USA will be hoping Holcomb is right, because another medal for Russia would likely put the overall medal lead out of reach for the Americans.
Time: 4:30 a.m. ET, 1:30 p.m. Sochi time and 9:30 a.m. GMT
TV Coverage: NBC Sports Network at 4:30 p.m. ET, BBC at 9:30 a.m. GMT
Norway Looks to Continue Dominance in Cross Country Skiing
Day 15 was marked by Norway's absolute dominance on the cross-country skiing slopes in Sochi. Day 16 will offer the Norwegians yet another opportunity to climb the medal standings in the men's 50-kilometer freestyle.
With Norway just behind the USA in total medals and tied with their rival Sweden with 11 medals in cross country skiing, the stage is set for some drama to close out the event.
With this representing the final event before the gold-medal hockey game between Canada and Sweden, this will be the final chance for Russia, the USA and Norway to battle it out atop the medal-count leaderboard.
Time: 2 a.m. ET, 11 a.m. Sochi time and 7 a.m. GMT
TV Coverage: NBC at 2 p.m. ET, BBC at 7 a.m. GMT
Canada and Sweden Set to Play for Olympic Gold
Hockey has been a highlight throughout the games in Sochi. With plenty of talented squads in the tournament field, the games have been close and well-contested for the most part.
On Day 16, we'll finally find out who takes home the gold as Canada takes on Sweden.
Canada vs. Sweden preview, right here: http://t.co/67DvietG6R— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) February 23, 2014
Canada earned its way to the big game by narrowly defeating Team USA and Latvia, while Sweden edged out Finland and defeated Slovenia 5-0. Now both teams will have to prove that mettle against each other on the biggest possible international stage.
Time: 7 a.m. ET, 4 p.m. Sochi time and 12 p.m. GMT
TV Broadcast: NBC at 7 a.m. ET , BBC at 12 p.m. GMT