The Olympics have built in excitement this past week, with many of the most anticipated sports approaching the medal round.
The U.S. leads in the medal count with 28, with Germany following with 24 as of Feb. 24. Both the U.S. and Germany are tied for the lead with eight gold medals. Notable events from the past weekend include the men’s super combined ski event, the Olympic debut of ski cross, and the U.S. vs. Canada men’s hockey game.
High-profile American skier Bode Miller finally received the gold medal he’s been after during his three Olympic games. This year’s Olympics have been his most successful so far. He received a bronze medal in the downhill race, a silver medal in the super-G race, and a gold medal in the super combined event. After being portrayed as the party boy by the media, Miller has finally proved that he can live up to his talent and perform on the biggest stage in the world. Knowing that the slalom section of the super combined race would be the most difficult, Miller trained more on that section of the course, and it was there that he pulled into the lead. Miller’s slalom run was cleaner and faster than his opponents’. Many of the other top slalom skiers got caught on the flags and ended up either losing time or not being able to finish the run. By having a successful slalom run, Miller was able to pull into the gold medal spot and redeem himself to the U.S., his teammates and his opponents.
Ski cross, a fast and exciting new sport, made its debut these winter Olympics. Ski cross is very similar to snowboard cross: the competitors ski downhill very fast on a relatively straight course interspersed with jumps. Canadian Chris del Bosco was a lauded medal contender for the sport’s inaugural Olympics; however, he was not able to medal after a difficult final run. In the end, Switzerland’s Michael Schmid won the sport’s first ever gold, Austrian Andreas Matt took silver, and Norwegian Audun Groenvold took bronze.
In halfpipe last week, American’s Shaun White and Scotty Lago took gold and bronze respectively. Shaun White performed a simple first run, receiving 46.8 points, enough to secure him the gold medal position. For his second run, White showed his highly anticipated trick dubbed the Double McTwist. White is the only snowboarder able to do this move, and he landed it flawlessly to receive an even higher score of 48.4. Lago earned the bronze medal with a score of 42.8 from his first run. For women’s halfpipe, Australian Torah Bright took the gold with a score of 45 from her second run. Americans Hannah Teter and Kelly Clark received silver and bronze medals with scores of 42.4 and 42.2 respectively.
Irene Wust of the Netherlands got her second gold in speed skating this weekend. She was behind the front for most of the race, but in the last lap she sped up considerably and achieved the fastest time. In speed skating, most athletes tend to slow down at the end of the race, but Wust sped up to earn back-to-back gold medals in the 1500 meter event.
In women’s skiing, Americans Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso have done well. Mancuso received two silver medals, one in the downhill and the other in the super-combined slalom. Coming back from hip surgery, Mancuso was not one of the Americans expected to medal, but she has proved that she is still a strong skier and competitor. After earning the gold medal in the downhill Feb. 17, Vonn received a bronze in the Super G event. Vonn was unable to finish the super combined because of a shin injury; however, she still had a successful run in the Olympics.
The U.S. men’s hockey team beat the Canadian men’s hockey team, 5-3, in a mesmerizing game that showed why Olympic hockey is one of the most exciting events in the world of sports. Many spectators have called this game one of the best they have seen. U.S. goalie Ryan Miller had 42 saves and 3 goals during the game. Sidney Crosby scored one goal during the game during a power play. After this game, the U.S. automatically advances to the next round, while Canada will have to beat Germany in order to make it to the next round. At press time, both the U.S. and Canada are in the playoff rounds, so make sure to check to see if they are in the medal rounds. The men’s hockey final, which airs today, is the last game of the Olympics.
The Olympics wrap up today with the closing ceremonies.