Pyeongchang Winter Olympics 2018: Day 10 Winners and Losers
There were only three medal events on Day 10 of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang—two-man bobsled, men's 500-meter speed skating and men's team ski jumping—but all three produced riveting winners and losers.
Team USA did not win any of those medals, but it did have a strong day of qualifications and round-robin sessions.
In women's snowboard big air and freeski halfpipe, Team USA positioned itself well to earn multiple podium spots. After widespread struggles by expected contenders in other sports and disciplines, the U.S. is relying on its strength to show here.
Additionally, the women's hockey team secured a place in the gold-medal game for the third consecutive Winter Olympics, and the men's and women's curling teams went a combined 3-0.
Read on for the rest of Day 10's biggest winners and losers.
Winner: Team USA in Women's Big Air
Team USA snowboarder Jamie Anderson won gold in slopestyle, and the 27-year-old will attempt to increase her collection during the big air final.
Her first run ended with a fall, so Anderson needed to cleanly execute a trick on her second trip. She drilled it, scoring an even 90.00 that would be sixth in qualifying.
Although promising Hailey Langland (73.00, 14th) missed out, Julia Marino (85.25, ninth) and Jessika Jenson (76.25, 12th) will join Anderson in the first-ever women's big air competition at the Olympics. The final is slated for Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Austria's Anna Gasser, one of the leading contenders in the discipline, finished first with a 98.00.
Loser: Jessika Jenson's Blood Pressure
Life on the bubble is zero fun, and we can only imagine what Jessika Jenson had to endure in big air qualifying.
After scoring a 76.25, Jenson entered Run 2 in seventh place. However, she couldn't quite land her second trick and by that moment had dropped to 12th—the last qualifying position—with nine riders remaining.
Fall. Fall. Fall. Not enough. Fall. Not enough.
The third-to-last competitor, Australia's Jessica Rich, sat in 13th and trailed Jenson by just 2.75 points. She landed another frontside 720 and improved her score. But only by 0.75.
Jenson could finally breathe a massive sigh of relief two riders later when her 76.25 held up.
Winner: Team USA in Women's Freeski Halfpipe
Similar to big air, three of four Americans in the women's freeski halfpipe field advanced to the medal round.
Maddie Bowman, the gold medalist at the 2014 Sochi Games, posted a high run of 83.80 and finished sixth. And of the three U.S. qualifiers, she recorded the lowest score.
Brita Sigourney led the way with a 90.60—on both runs, incidentally—for third, and Annalisa Drew put down an 86.00 for fourth. They finished sixth and ninth, respectively, in Sochi.
Although it was a surprise for Devin Logan (71.60, 15th) to not advance, Team USA has a terrific chance to earn a medal or two.
Loser: Gabriella Papadakis' Wardrobe Malfunction
In a competition where decimals may decide the gold medal, the slightest error can be hugely problematic. The figure skating world feels terrible for Gabriella Papadakis.
Although she and partner Guillaume Cizeron still posted a respectable 81.93 in the ice dance short program, an issue with Papadakis' dress negatively affected the score.
Canadian pair Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir set a world record with an 83.67 in the short program, so Papadakis and Cizeron—though in second and in great position to medal—will need a flawless free dance to challenge for gold.
Winner: Team USA Curling
Heading into Monday, it had been a disappointing trip to South Korea for American curlers. In mixed doubles, Team USA finished seventh out of eight countries with a 2-5 record. And more than halfway through the round-robin portion of the team tournaments, USA's men were 2-4 and its women were 2-3.
The chance of reaching the semifinals in either tourney wasn't looking great.
But the Americans had one heck of a Day 9 in the world of hacks, skips and hog lines.
First, the women eked out a 7-6 win over Denmark in a match that was fittingly decided by inches. Neither team led by more than two points at any time in the 10 ends, and it all came down to a draw for USA skip Nina Roth. If she could get her stone to finish with any portion in the four-foot circle, USA would win. Otherwise, Denmark would get the W. Roth almost overthrew it but managed to keep it closer to the center than the Danish rock by less than a foot.
Next up, the U.S. men pulled off a bit of a shocker with a 9-7 win over Canada in a match that went to 11 ends. John Shuster has been criticized a lot this week—and for the past eight years, for that matter—for his inability to come through in the clutch. However, he was great in this one, including the game-winning takeout on the final stone.
And in the third and final round of the day, the American women crushed the Chinese women 10-4. Team USA scored three in the first end and four in the third. From there, it was just a question of what the final margin would be.
For the men, a spot in the top four is still a long shot. They'll need to win each of their remaining games and get some help. The ladies are in better shape in the standings with a 4-3 record, but their two remaining games are against teams with two of the best records: South Korea and Sweden.
Loser: Drama in the Women's Hockey Tournament
We don't need upsets to be entertained by a sporting event.
But would it have killed the women's hockey teams to make things a little interesting?
Canada and the United States entered the tournament as the heavy favorites to reach the gold-medal game. They played an entertaining game against each other in the final session of group play, but it was a meaningless 2-1 win for Canada. Both countries had already gotten a free pass into the semifinals after each starting out 2-0 by a combined goal differential of 17-2.
In the quarterfinals, both of the favorites won comfortably. Finland beat Sweden 7-2 and the Olympic Athletes from Russia beat Switzerland 6-2, setting up rematches with the North Americans in the semifinals. Once there, the favorites took care of business again. Team USA cruised to a 5-0 win over Finland, and Canada faced minimal difficulty in a 5-0 win over OAR.
That means the gold-medal match between Canada and USA (Wednesday at 11:10 p.m. ET) should be fantastic. But it sure has been uneventful getting to this point.
Winner: Drama in the 2-Men Bobsled
Canada's women's hockey team didn't produce much edge-of-the-seat excitement, but its two-man bobsled team did.
As with most of the luge and skeleton events earlier in the 2018 Games, the bobsled medals are determined by the cumulative time after four heats. Also the same as the other disciplines on this course, the final margin after those four runs is significantly less than a second. Sometimes it comes down to a few hundredths of a second.
Or in the case of the two-man bobsled, there's no margin at all.
The Canadian team of Justin Kripps and Alexander Kopacz tied for gold with the German team of Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis. Both duos finished with times of 3:16.86. Latvia's Oskars Melbardis and Janis Strenga were just 0.05 seconds behind, which was good enough for bronze—Latvia's first medal in Pyeongchang.
For the Cool Runnings fans in the audience, Jamaica does not have a two-man or four-man bobsled team this year. It does have a two-woman team, though. Their first two heats are tomorrow, followed by two more Wednesday.
Loser: Artur Nogal, Poland
It's one thing to train for years only to fall short of one's goal of winning an Olympic medal.
It's another thing to put in all that work and then fall on one's hindquarters less than a second into the race.
That was the fate of Polish speed skater Artur Nogal in the finals of the men's 500 meters. On his second step after the starting line, the tip of Nogal's skate chunked into the ice and caused him to crash to the ice.
As you might expect, the frustration was immediate. He let out a guttural scream while sliding toward the wall.
Nogal did get up and finish the race, but he was more than 20 seconds behind the other 35 skaters who didn't wipe out on the biggest stage of their careers.
At the opposite end of the standings, Norway's Havard Lorentzen won the gold and set an Olympic record with a time of 34.41s, finishing 0.01s ahead of South Korea's Cha Min Kyu. China's Gao Tingyu got the bronze.
Winner: Norway's Ski Jump Team
It's fitting that Norway won the men's ski jump event by a wide margin, because it is running away with first place atop the overall medal table.
Daniel Andre Tande was the star of the night for the Norwegians. There were only four jumps worth at least 140 points in the final two rounds, and Tande was responsible for two of them. His first was good for 141.8, and the second was a 145.5—the second-highest score of any jumper in the event, finishing just barely behind Germany's Andreas Wellinger at 145.9.
Robert Johansson had the gold-medal-sealing jump for Norway, but it was academic by the time he took flight. As long as he didn't have a complete disaster, the Norwegians would win comfortably. Johansson posted a 137.6, giving them the gold by a margin over Germany of 1098.5 to 1075.7.
It was the first gold medal Norway has ever won in this event. It previously took bronze in 1988, 2006 and 2010. This is the country's 11th gold medal of these Games and its 28th medal overall.