Day 7 in Sochi was full of action and the unexpected.
The US men completed the sweep in freestyle skiing's slopestyle event. This is the third time in Winter Olympic history that Team USA has completed a sweep. The great thing about each of these young men is that there's something special about each of them. Josh Christensen, the gold medalist, dedicated his medal to his late father. Silver medalist Gus Kenworthy wants to adopt some stray dogs from Sochi and bring them back to Colorado with him. Finally, bronze medalist, Nick Goepper, almost didn't make it to Sochi. Years ago when he became interested in the sport he had to work and raise his own money to train and pay for equipment. His parents couldn't afford the sport, so Nick shoveled neighbors' driveways.
Of his win today, “The stars lined up for me,” Christensen said.
Freestyle Skiing: Men's Ski Slopestyle
1. Josh Christensen, USA, run one: 95.80, run two: 93.80, best: 95.80
2. Gus Kenworthy, USA, run one: 31.00, run two: 93.60, best: 93.60
3. Nicholas Goepper, USA, run one: 92.40, run two: 61.80, best: 92.40
In short track today, the ladies' 500 m took place and atop the podium was Jianrou Li from China and then in speedskating, the ladies' 1,000 m took place and atop the podium was Hong Zhang from China. One thing is for certain at the Sochi games, thus far, the US Team has not fared well. They have not even earned one medal. Surprising for a team that's been so dominant in the past. The Netherlands continued to rack up medals adding two more in speedskating, including a second medal for Ireen West who already won a gold and a second for Margot Boer who already won a bronze.
Short Track: Ladies' 500 m
1. Jianrou Li, China, 45.263
2. Arianna Fontana, Italy, 51.250
3. Seung Hi Park, Korea, 54.207
Speedskating: Ladies' 1,000 m
1. Hong Zhang, China, 1:14.02
2. Ireen Wust, Netherlands, 1:14.69
3. Margot Boer, Netherlands, 1:14.90
Martin Fourcade of France won a second gold medal today in biathlon for the Men's Individual 20 km, only three days after winning his first gold in the 12.5 km Pursuit. What's even more notable is that at one point in today's event he almost lost his balance and fell, but Fourcade battled through it, and proves he's tough competition in biathlon. At only 25 years of age, he has many more years left in him. The US had one of their highest finishes ever in biathlon.
Biathlon: Men's Individual 20 km
1. Martin Fourcade, France, 49:31.7
2. Erik Lesser, Germany, 49:43.9
3. Evgeniy Garanichev, Russian Federation, 50:06.2
8. Lowell Bailey, USA, 50:57.4
Perhaps the marquee event of these games, many would argue, is figure skating. Tonight, the men skated their short programs and took a step towards determining who would be the men's Olympic champion. Of course, all this would not go down without some drama. Just before the event would start, Evgeni Plushenko withdrew from the competition saying that he would in fact retire. Plushenko had a rough practice yesterday and fell several times while attempting triple axels. Plushenko has been plagued by injury throughout the years, having around 12 surgeries for his knees and back.
US front runner Jeremy Abbott took a hard fall during his short program and he sits in 15th place. Nineteen year old Jason Brown who many saw as a longshot for the American team sits in 6th place in medal contention. Many have called his long program perfection so that's what I am hoping for when he skates tomorrow.
The Standings, after the Short Program:
1. Yuzuru Hanyu, Japan, 101.45
2. Patrick Chan, Canada, 97.52
3. Javier Fernandez, Spain, 86.98
4. Daisuke Takahashi, Japan, 86.40
5. Peter Liebers, Germany, 86.04
6. Jason Brown, USA, 86.00
7. Brian Joubert, France, 85.84