The first week of competition at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics is nearly complete with the United States overall in the medal count ranked as 5th place. As of right now, the United States has four gold medals, two silver medals and six bronze medals. In total medal count United States ranks second with 12 medals, only trailing Norway by one medal.
Starting off with the most recent news of today, the United States completely dominated the podium in Men’s Slopestyle Ski. Joss Christensen, a Salt Lake City, Utah native, had a flawless run that earned him the top spot on the podium with an overall score of 95.8. Gus Kenworthy, 22, finished second, posting a best score of 93.6. Last, but not least, Nicholas Goepper capped off the sweep with a best score of 92.4. This big performance has bolstered the confidence of American athletes competing in all different events. Riding this momentum could be the big break that the United States needs to pull ahead in the Medal Count.
Another event that everyone was keeping their eye on was the men’s half-pipe. US snowboarder Shaun White was attempting to go for his third consecutive gold medal in this event. A lot of controversy surrounded White as he pulled out of the men’s slope style event due to an injured wrist. His reasoning for not competing was an attempt to reduce risk of complicating his injury and to focus on the half-pipe event. Fellow competitors called him out, saying he used his “injury” as an excuse so he would not lose in the event. Whether or not that is true, White still had a dream to capture and he did what was best for him. White cruised through the qualifying round earning a best score of 95.75 on his very first run. Heading into the finals things did not go as planned for the Flying Tomato. On his first run he fell twice, making his final run crucial in execution. Unfortunately, White came up short on his second run earning a score of 90.25 finishing fourth overall. Switzerland’s Iouri Podladtchikov defeated the defending champ. Japan’s fifteen year old Ayumu Hirano and Taku Hiraokoa finished in second and third, respectively.
Women’s snowboarding achieved success as well as two Americans placed on the podium. Australian Torah Bright came in as the defending champ looking to secure another gold medal for her country. The United States was represented by Kelly Clark, Kaitlyn Farrington and Hannah Teter. Clark and Teter were veterans of the Olympics while Farrington, 20, was new to the Olympic scene. Farrington took home the gold for the United States in the final run with a best score of 91.75. Bright was bumped off her top spot as she fell to Farrington by a difference of only .25 in the final scores. Many falls plagued Clark in her practice, qualifying and final run of the event. Through her struggles she persevered to come back and place bronze.
Men’s Hockey also starts today. The United States and Canada are typically the favored countries to win in this event. The United States are looking to edge the Canadians to bring home the gold this year in Sochi. Earlier this week Jonathan Quick was named the starting goalie of the US men’s hockey team. Controversy surrounded this decision as the LA King’s goalie injured his groin and was not sure if he would be able to compete in the Olympics. His case was laid to rest not only coming back from injury, but Quick racked up 22 saves in his Olympic debut en route to 7-1 blowout over Slovakia, who defeated the US in the previous two Olympic games. The US men’s hockey team will now face Russia led by reigning NHL MVP Alex Ovechkin. If you are an earlier morning riser I suggest you watch this epic match up! Coverage of the game begins at 4:30 am on February 15th.
We’ll check back in after the weekend to see how the United States is doing in the total medal count. GO USA!!!