What you missed last night in PyeongChang: Mission accomplished for U.S. women's hockey
Going for Gold
The U.S. vs. Canada women’s hockey rivalry is a rivalry that equals any of the biggest and best rivalries in any sport. Of late, Canada has had the upper hand, having won the last four gold medals in the Olympics. The U.S. avenged that by winning 3-2 in a shootout for the gold medal.
The U.S. had to overcome a 2-1 deficit in the third. Monique Lamoureux-Morando tied the score at two with just six minutes to go in the third, forcing overtime. Emily Pfalzer scored in the second round of the shootout, Amanda Kessel scored in the fourth and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored in the sixth. Goalie Maddie Rooney stopped Canada’s Meghan Agosta to clinch the victory. It is the U.S.’ first Olympic gold medal since the inaugural tournament in the 1998 Games.
Hilary Knight scored the first goal of the night for Team USA. It was her second goal of the tournament. Canada’s Haley Irwin batted a puck out of midair to tie the game 1-1 with two minutes to go in the period.
In the second, Canada’s captain Marie-Philip Pouling gave her team the 2-1 lead with a wrister finding the back of the net. Lamoureux-Morando was able to counter in the third setting up the shootout.
Canada had won five straight Olympic meetings vs. the U.S. entering the game. Rooney, who stood tall in goal making 29 saves of 31 shots, was seven months old the last time the U.S. won gold in women’s hockey.
The last time a hockey team, men’s or women’s, had a chance for their fifth straight Olympic gold medal was the 1980 Soviet Union men. They lost to the U.S. in the game known as “The Miracle on Ice.” The women beat Canada on the 38th anniversary of that win.
Mikaela Shiffrin’s quest for a second gold medal of the Games was on full display. Shiffrin did not ski in the women’s downhill in order to be well rested for the super combined. It proved to be a smart decision as Shiffrin was able to clinch silver in the event.
She overcame being in sixth after the downhill portion by having an incredible finish in her slalom run. Near the middle, she looked like she was skiing too conservatively to have a chance to overtake the podium. However, she was faster at the bottom of the race where most skiers slow down.
Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin ended up victorious with a combined time of 2:20.90. She was third after the downhill portion but ended up .97 seconds ahead of Shiffrin despite skiing a slightly slower slalom. Her teammate Wendy Holdener had the fastest slalom time of the day, bringing home the bronze.
Lindsey Vonn had the fastest time in the downhill portion of the combined event. However, she skied out near the top of the slalom run in what is likely her last Olympic race.
Jamie Anderson won silver in the Olympic debut of women’s big air. She joins Kelly Clark and Shaun White as the only three-time Olympic medalists in snowboarding.
Austria’s Anna Gasser won the gold in her last run. New Zealand’s Zoi Sadowski Synnott took home the silver, her country’s second Winter Olympic medal all-time.
Austria’s Marcel Hirscher was the heavy favorite to win the men’s slalom event. He already won two gold medals in these Games in the giant slalom and combined event. The slalom is usually his best race. However, he skied out near the top of the run, disqualifying himself. Another gold medal favorite Henrik Kristoffersen was poised to win the gold after skiing the fastest time in the first run but also lost control near the top and did not finish.
Enter Andre Myhrer, the 2010 bronze medalist. He took home the gold with a time of 1:38.99. He becomes the oldest slalom medalist at 35 years old.
Elana Meyers Taylor won her second silver medal in the women’s bobsled. German’s Mariama Jamanka and Lisa Buckwitz walked away with the gold. Canada’s Kaillie Humphries and Phylicia George took home the bronze.
The Germans won by .07 seconds. It’s Meyers Taylor’s second consecutive silver. She won bronze in Vancouver and has never finished off the podium.
Kallie Humphries had won back-to-back gold entering PyeongChang. The American sled piloted by Jamie Greubel Poser with brakeman Aja Evans finished fifth, .13 seconds off the podium.
Meyers Taylor hinted that she wants to be back in 2022. “I really want to go for it in another four [years], hopefully in two-man and four-man,” she told NBC.
Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall won gold in the women’s team sprint. It ended a 42-year cross-country Olympic medal drought for the U.S. It was also the first women’s cross-country medal of any kind.
Diggins and Randall weren’t the only two athletes to snap a streak. The U.S. women’s speed skating team won its first medal in 16 years. Heather Bergsma, Brittany Bowe, Mia Manganello and Carlijn Schoutens won a bronze medal in the team pursuit. For Bergsma and Bowe, it was a medal that complimented their strong showings at world championships and their World Cup careers. Neither had won an Olympic medal. It was Bowe’s second Olympics and Bergsma’s third.
Shiffrin steals silver
It was a dramatic finish to the women’s super combined. Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin ultimately won gold. Mikaela Shiffrin came from behind to win silver. Swiss skier Wendy Holdener held on to take home bronze.
Lindsey Vonn finished the downhill portion of the women’s super combined in first place with a time of 1:39.37. Mikaela Shiffrin finished sixth, 1.98 seconds behind Vonn but .76 seconds ahead of slalom specialists Wendy Holdener. It set up an exciting slalom portion of the super combined.
Ultimately, a historic run was not in the cards for Vonn. She skied out near the top of her slalom run. She hadn’t raced slalom in five years since blowing out her knee in 2013. Vonn did not finish in what is likely her last Olympic race.
Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener was the first to ski of the serious medal contenders. She finished in a time of 2:22.34 but had nine skiers to race after her. Her time would ultimately hold up for a bronze, her second medal of the games. She also won silver in the slalom.
Shiffrin was the next medal contender to ski. She looked sluggish near the middle of the run but had an incredible finish. She crossed the line .4 seconds ahead of Holdener.
Next was Michelle Gisin, whose sister won the downhill gold medal in 2014. She had an incredible race and looked fast and in control the whole time. She crossed the finish line .97 seconds ahead of Shiffrin, clinching the gold medal.
It’s Gisin’s first Olympic medal. It’s also Switzerland’s first gold medal in the women’s super combined.
It is Shiffrin’s second medal of the Games after winning the giant slalom. Shiffrin has now won Olympic medals in three different events after her slalom gold in 2014 and her gold in the giant slalom.
American Alice Merriweather had a good showing in the event but ultimately finished 15th with a time of 2:26.90. The U.S. is on top of the Alpine skiing women’s medal chart with Switzerland, each country totaling three medals each heading into the team event.
An elite club
Jamie Anderson joins Kelly Clark and Shaun White as the only three-time Olympic medalists in snowboarding after winning silver in the women’s big air competition.
Austria’s Anna Gasser won gold in the inaugural event of the women’s big air competition. She came from behind on her last run to overtake Anderson for first. Gasser landed a switch double cork 1090 to earn a score of 96.00. She is Austria’s second gold medalist in snowboarding.
New Zealand’s Zoi Sadowski Synnott took home the bronze. It is New Zealand’s first Olympic snowboarding medal of any color. At 16 years old, she wasn’t even born the last time New Zealand won an Olympic Winter Games medal in 1992.
Anderson’s silver is her second medal of these Games (she won gold in the slopestyle event). Anderson landed a frontside 1080 on her first run and a cab double cork 900 on her second run. She tried a cab double cork 1080 on her third run but was unable to land it after getting some huge air.
Julie Marino and Jessika Jenson were the other Americans competing in the event. Marino finished 10th with a score of 93.25. Jenson had a disappointing showing, not able to land any of her runs. She finished 11th with a score of 40.50.
Back-to-back for David Wise
David Wise was facing what no athlete ever wants to face in the Olympics. In his first two runs, he had an equipment issue where his ski was popping off in the air. The issues meant it all came down to Wise’s final run. He delivered, scoring 97.20 to win the men’s freeski halfpipe final, successfully defending his gold medal from Sochi. Wise’s winning run featured double corks spun in four different directions, a difficult task the judges like to see to show versatility. The father of two had a cute moment with his kids after winning.
Teammate Alex Ferreira won silver in his Olympic debut. Ferreira was the most consistent of the event. All three of his runs earned scores in the 90s, improving just a bit on each run.
It was a strong American showing in the final with Torin Yater-Wallace and Aaron Blunck also skiing. Unfortunately, Yater-Wallace was unable to land a full run, but he was impressive with the large amount of height he got. Blunck’s runs were clean but just didn’t score well. He finished seventh overall, with his highest run earning an 84.80.
16-year-old Nico Porteous surprised everyone in his second run. He earned a 94.80, which ended up holding up for bronze. He made a curious move on his final run, not attempting to improve his score. The teenager was just so happy with his second, he decided to enjoy the moment in his final run. He became the youngest Olympic medalist in freestyle skiing. After 16-year-old teammate Zoi Sadowski Synnott took home bronze in the women’s big air, Porteous took home New Zealand’s third-ever Winter Olympic medal.
Shocking turn of events
Austria’s Marcel Hirscher was the favorite to win the men’s slalom event. He already had won two gold medal at the Games in the combined event and giant slalom. He was the reigning world champion and 2014 Olympic silver medalist in the slalom.
In a surprising turn of events, right as the broadcast was talking about Hirscher’s consistency and always finishing a race, Hirscher missed a gate and skied out in the opening run. Hirscher had finished every slalom race in the last two years until this run.
Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen became the favorite to win after Hirscher’s exit. Kristoffersen clocked the fastest time in the opening slalom run. He came into the race after already winning silver in the giant slalom in PyeongChang (finishing second to Hirscher). He also has a bronze in the slalom from Sochi, where he was the youngest medal winner ever in Alpine skiing.
Having the fastest time meant Kristoffersen would ski last in the second run. Kristoffersen could finally win gold without the dominant Hirscher in the way. However, in his second run, he also made an uncharacteristic error, skiing out near the top.
Ultimately, Sweden’s Andre Myhrer won the Olympic slalom gold medal with a time of 1:38.99. His second Olympic medal after winning bronze in slalom in Vancouver. Myhrer is the oldest slalom medalist at 35 years old and 42 days. It was Sweden’s first gold medal in men’s slalom since 1980.
Switzerland’s Ramon Zenhaeusern took home the silver after finishing ninth in the first run. He had the second fastest time of the second run. Zenhaeusern had only one World Cup win before the Olympics.
Austria’s Michael Matt won bronze after finishing 12th in the first run.
American David Chodonunsky finished 18th overall with a time of 1:40.84. Teammate Mark Engel finished 31st overall with a time of 1:49.31.
Down to the wire
Switzerland beat Great Britain 9-5 in the men’s curling tiebreaker match to advance to the semifinals. The game was extremely close until Switzerland’s Benoit Schwarz’s last shot in the ninth scored five points.
Switzerland will play Sweden in the semifinals. The other semifinals match is between the U.S. and Canada. Both semifinals matches will be played on Thursday morning in the U.S.
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