Sochi Winter Olympics 2014: Day 13 Medal Predictions, Results
It was perhaps the most dramatic day of the Sochi Olympics, and the most impactful ending took place at the Bolshoy Ice Dome.
Canada defeated the United States, 3-2, in overtime to win the gold medal in women's hockey, defending the title it had won in 2010 in Vancouver.
The Canadians rallied from a late 2-0 deficit to send the game into overtime and Marie-Philip Poulin scored the game-winning goal in the extra session.
There was only slightly less tension at the Iceberg Skating Palace where Russian figure skater Adelina Sotnikova won gold, beating out defending champion Yuna Kim of South Korea. The home fans roared in approval.
Maddie Bowman of the United States won the first women's halfpipe freestyle skiing competition, and Canada took home the women's curling gold.
Three Frenchmen swept the men's ski cross medals, while Norway took gold in men's Nordic combined.
Update by Steve Silverman
Men's Ski Cross
After a frantic day of racing at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, three Frenchmen earned a medal sweep in the men's ski cross.
Jean Frederic Chapuis led the French charge in the event as he won the four-man final in front of Arnaud Bovolenta and Jonathan Midol.
The fourth man in the final, Brady Leman of Canada, took a spill halfway through the course in his attempt to break the French stranglehold on the event.
The trio moved the overall medal count for France in Sochi to 14 with the sweep.
The medal sweep was the second ever in Olympic competition for the French, who last had three podium finishers in 1924 in gymnastics. The sweep also marked the record sixth time that a nation took all three podium positions in Sochi.
Gold: Jean Frederic Chapuis (France)
Silver: Arnaud Bovolenta (France)
Bronze: Jonathan Midol (France)
Last Updated by Joe Tansey
Three men have dominated ski cross: Victor Oehling Norberg of Sweden, David Duncan of Canada and Andreas Matt of Austria. Those three stand above all other competition in the World Cup standings. While anything can happen in cross, they will be the ones to beat.
The speeds are high, and anyone can crash, but the athletes who make up this trio are masters of their craft for a reason, and they'll show it on Thursday.
Gold: Victor Oehling Norberg (SWE)
Silver: David Duncan (CAN)
Bronze: Andreas Matt (AUT)
After failing to win gold in the last three Winter Olympics, Canada is frustrated no more.
Led by skip Jennifer Jones, the Canadians scored a 6-3 victory over defending champion Sweden and earned the gold medal.
The match turned in the ninth end when Canada scored two points to stretch a one-point lead to three, even though the Swedes had the hammer.
Swedish vice-skip Maria Prytz was unable to convert her last throw, and instead of winning a point for her side or forcing a blank end, the Canadians gained two and were able to close out matters in the 10th without a problem.
Canada had won won the bronze in 2002 and 2006, and had won the silver in 2010, so this victory brought whoops of joy from Jones and her teammates as well as her supporters.
Earlier, Great Britain earned the bronze in a close match over Switzerland.
Team GB skip Eve Muirhead delivered a flawless final stone to hand her team a 6-5 victory over their rivals
Muirhead and her team were down by two points heading into the eighth frame, but they recovered in magnificent fashion to earn the third British medal of the Games.
Bronze: Great Britain
Update by Steve Silverman
The Canadian women's curling team hasn't lost in these Sochi Games, with a record of 9-0. It faces off against Sweden, a team it already beat, 9-3, in round-robin play. Canada did have some tight matches, especially against the U.S. (7-6) and its last against Great Britain (6-4). If any team won't fold under the pressure of remaining unbeaten, it's Canada.
As Canadian skipper Jennifer Jones said, via The Associated Press' Steve Douglas, "It's the game you have dreamed of for your entire life."
Sweden, though having lost twice, has found a way to win its matches, almost all of them close. The Swedes come off a 7-5 victory against Switzerland and await the rematch with Canada.
Great Britain and Switzerland face off in the bronze-medal game. Both teams played the gold-medal contenders tight. This match may very well be the better of the two.
Men's Nordic Combined Large Hill/4x5-Kilometer
It was only fitting that the team that set the pace in the cross-country part of the Nordic combined large hill/4x5-kilometer relay event won in the end.
Norway inched out a victory in the event thanks to a strong sprint by Joergen Graabak in the final 100 meters of the anchor leg. Graabak beat out Germany's Fabian Riessle in the sprint by three-tenths of a second to hand Norway its 10th gold medal of the Games.
Germany led the event after the ski jumping portion, but it could not hold on in the cross-country relay to defeat the Winter Olympic powerhouse of Norway.
Austria kept pace with the two nations for most of the cross-country race, but Mario Stecher faded off near the end of the anchor leg.
Last Updated by Joe Tansey.
Can the slide end there?
The men's Nordic combined team competing in the team Gundersen large hill/4x5-kilometer event is the prohibitive favorite to win gold.
Joergen Graabak won gold in the large hill/10-kilometer race, Magnus Hovdal Moan took silver behind Graabak and Magnus Krog won the bronze in the normal hill/10-kilometer event. Only Haavard Klemetsen is without a medal, which probably makes for some spirited ribbing around the middag table.
Germany's Eric Frenzel won the gold medal in the normal hill/10-kilometer race, and Fabian Riessle took bronze in the large hill/10-kilometer. Bjoern Kircheisen earned fourth in the large hill/10-kilometer.
Austria's team didn't medal in any of the Nordic combined events but still can threaten in this spot.
Women's Ski Halfpipe
Maddie Bowman of the United States had two stellar runs and won an eye-catching duel with Marie Martinod of France to win the first-ever women's halfpipe in Olympic competition.
Bowman scored an 85.80 during her initial run, and that put her in first place. She was able to see the majority of the freestylers take their second run, and none of her competitors could top her initial score. However, when Bowman had her second run, she attacked the halfpipe at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park aggressively and put up a remarkable 89.00 on the scoreboard.
The only freeskiers to have a chance at topping the score were American Brita Sigourney and Martinod. Sigourney had struggled in her first run, but came on strong in her second before catching the edge of the pipe and going into a slight stumble. She scored a 76.00, leaving her in fifth place.
The last skier was Martinod, and she knew she would have to be even better than she was in her first attempt when she scored an 84.80. She had a clean and explosive run, but her score of 85.80 was good enough for second.
Ayana Onozuka of Japan took the bronze medal.
Gold: Maddie Bowman, United States
Silver: Marie Martinod, France
Bronze: Ayana Onozuka, Japan
Update by Steve Silverman
Virginie Faivre of Switzerland is the defending world champion in ski halfpipe and appears to be the one to beat in this competitive field.
Anais Caradeux of France was second in that same World Championships, and Ayana Onozuka of Japan was third. The United States is led by Angeli Vanlaanen, who finished sixth in the aforementioned 2013 World Championships.
Gold: Virginie Faivre (SUI)
Silver: Anais Caradeux (FRA)
Bronze: Ayana Onozuka (JAP)
Ladies' Free Skate
Adelina Sotnikova of Russia raised the bar to a new level when she found herself in second place after the short program.
Still, few thought she had a chance to bring home the gold medal, as South Korea's Yuna Kim was ahead of her after the short program, hoping to defend her gold medal. But Sotnikova showed that her short program was just the beginning. She performed a stellar free skate, scoring a 149.95. She won gold with an overall score of 224.59.
Sotnikova barely edged out the elegant Kim, who scored a 144.19 and had an overall score of 219.11. Carolina Kostner of Italy continued her solid skating and earned the bronze medal.
U.S. champion Gracie Gold skated well in her long program despite a fall, and got a 136.90 from the judges to give her a total of 205.53. Gold finished 11.20 points behind Kostner.
Russian star Julia Lipnitskaia had the crowd on the edge of its seat throughout much of her program, but she fell for the second consecutive day and had to settle for fifth place.
Japan's Mao Asada and American skater Ashley Wagner were sixth and seventh, respectively.
Gold: Adelina Sotnikova, Russia
Silver: Yuna Kim, Korea
Bronze: Carolina Kostner, Italy
Update by Steve Silverman
Japan's Mao Asada is a 2010 world champion and silver medalist from the Vancouver Games, but her short program could not have gone any worse, as she tallied an abysmal 55.51.
Other contenders are Russia's Julia Lipnitskaia, who won the European Championships this year and was second in the Grand Prix Final in Japan, and Italy's Carolina Kostner, who was a world champion in 2012 at the age of 25.
Three skaters broke 70 in the short program, with South Korea's Yuna Kim in the lead, Russia's Adelina Sotnikova in second and Kostner in third.
Heading into the free skate, the U.S. has Gracie Gold holding strong in fourth with Ashley Wagner in sixth.
Gold: Yuna Kim (KOR)
Silver: Adelina Sotnikova (RUS)
Bronze: Carolina Kostner (ITA)
Women's Ice Hockey
Canada and the United States once again played a gold-medal game for the ages.
The Canadians rallied from a late two-goal deficit to send the game into overtime, and Marie-Philip Poulin scored the game-winner 8:10 into the extra period to end matters.
That immediately set off a celebration on the Canadian bench that was juxtaposed with the agony on the American side. The United States had built a 2-0 lead on a late second-period goal by Meghan Duggan and an early third-period score by Alex Carpenter.
It appeared that lead would hold up as the Canadians were still being shut out by U.S. goaltender Jessie Vetter with under four minutes remaining in the third period. However, Briane Jenner scored for Canada with 3:26 on the clock to give that nation hope.
While the United States tried to maintain possession of the puck and stem the tide, it couldn't keep Canada down. Poulin scored with 55 seconds remaining to tie the score.
While Canada had all the momentum, the United States had several good chances to score in overtime, but Canadian goalie Shannon Szabados stopped them all. A series of penalties gave Canada a two-man advantage, and when Poulin got the puck inside the faceoff circle, she whipped a hard shot by Vetter for the golden goal.
The game mimicked the 2010 men's championship game, in which Canada beat the United States in overtime for the gold medal.
The Canadian women defended the gold medal they won at the United States' expense in Vancouver in 2010 and have now won four consecutive gold medals.
Silver: United States
Switzerland used a four-goal rally in the third period to overcome a two-goal deficit and defeat Sweden, 4-3, in the bronze-medal game.
Switzerland trailed, 2-0, after two periods, but goals by Sara Benz and Phoebe Stanz early in the third period allowed them to tie the score and take the momentum.
That paid off at the 13:43 mark of the third period, when Lara Stadler intercepted a pass near the blue line and drove to her right. As she got between the face-off circles, she made a cross-ice pass to Jessica Lutz, who beat Swedish goalie Valentina Lizana-Wallner for the go-ahead goal.
Switzerland would add an empty-net goal, and Sweden scored in the final minute to narrow the margin back to one.
Swiss goaltender Florence Schelling stopped 28-of-31 shots.
Update by Steve Silverman
All those other games, they were just prologue. The two best teams in women's hockey are the United States and Canada. The edge, in recent years, has gone to the skaters from the Great White North. These two teams hate each other, and that will make for an epic gold-medal game.
As Bleacher Report's Dan Levy notes, "The Canadian women already beat the U.S. in the preliminary round in the most hard-fought game of the entire tournament."
The U.S. just came off a semifinal game where it won, 6-1, over Sweden while firing off 70 shots to nine. The Canadians had a rougher go of it against Switzerland in their semifinal, winning 3-1.
Canada has won three straight gold medals in the Olympics, but that streak comes to an end. The Americans have been explosive, scoring 20 goals to Canada's 14.
Switzerland gave Canada a run for its money and should handle Sweden.
Gold: United States