Friday, day eight may not have had lots of activity but yesterday's events were no doubt epic! For the first time in 12 years, the US team medaled in skeleton. Japan won it's first Olympic gold in men's figure skating. Bode Miller was once again shut out of a medal in this Olympics, this time in the men's super combined slalom.
At only 19, Yuzuru Hanyu is the second youngest man to win the gold medal in men's figure skating. He is also Japan's first man to win a gold in the sport. In the short program, he made history, earning over 100 points for his program. This is perhaps what carried him to a sound victory from Canada's Patrick Chan. Chan was looking to break Canada's curse and win the first gold in men's figure skating. The irony in all of this is that Brian Orser, from Canada, silver medalist, and part of this curse coaches Hanyu in Toronto. Despite the fact that Hanyu fell two times in his long program, it was enough to bring him a victory. It also didn't help that Patrick Chan had a luckluster long program. Third place could have gone to several men--- In contention, American Jason Brown, two additional men from the Japanese team Daisuke Takahashi and Tatsuki Machida, and Javier Fernandez of Spain. But it was Denis Ten of Kazakhstan who took the bronze medal. It must also be said that American Jeremy Abbott skated a breathtaking long program. It was an amazing end to a journey that started out bumpy but left the 27 year old with a bronze medal in the team event and able to walk away with his head held high.
Figure Skating: Men's
1. Yuzuru Hanyu, Japan, short: 101.45, free: 178.64, total: 280.09
2. Patrick Chan, Canada, short: 97.52, free: 178.10, total: 275.62
3. Denis Ten, Kazakhstan, short: 84.06, free: 171.04, total: 255.10
9. Jason Brown, USA, short: 86.00, free: 152.37, total: 238.37
12. Jeremy Abbott, short: 72.58, free: 160.12, total: 232.70
Noelle Pikus Pace capped a career with a silver medal that she called, "good as gold". An excited Pikus Pace jumped into the stands to greet her husband and children waiting in the stands. In 2005, her leg was shattered by a bobsled denying her a medal in 2006 in Torino. A mistake cost her the bronze in Vancouver. And four years later, she can walk away with a dream realized. Her husband said that Noelle coming out of retirement was all worth it.
1. Elizabeth Yarnold, Great Britain, total time: 3:52.89
2. Noelle Pikus Pace, USA, total time: 3:53.86
3. Elena Nikitina, Russian Federation, total time: 3:54.30
4. Katie Uhlaender, USA, total time: 3:54.34
Bode Miller came up short again in his second event of these Games, the super combined slalom. This was a gold medal event for him in Vancouver. American Ted Ligety was the 2013 World Champion in this event and also came up short. It's been an odd games; to put things in perspective, Sandro Viletta of Switzerland who ended up winning the gold has never won a World Cup super combined. Kostelic of Croatia won a fourth career silver medal. Christof Innerhofer of Italy won bronze, following up in a silver that he won in downhill. Both men were grateful for their silver and bronze medals and felt pleased.
Alpine Skiing: Men's Super Combined Slalom
1. Sandro Viletta, Switzerland, 2:45.20
2. Ivica Kostelic, Croatia, 2:45.54
3. Christof Innerhofer, Italy, 2:45.67
6. Bode Miller, USA, 2:46.60
11. Jarded Goldberg, USA, 2:47.29
12. Ted Ligety, USA, 2:47.39
Finally, in aerials, US team favorite, Emily Cook, in her final Olympics failed to make it into the finals of the event. She couldn't land her jumps. I watched the event and it seemed like more people fell after their jumps than landed.
Freestyle Skiing: Ladies' Aerials
1. Alla Tsuper, Belarus, 98.01
2. Mengtao Xu, China, 83.50
3. Lydia Lassila, Australia, 72.12