All in the family today, with unique pairs of siblings and spouses in action:
– Siblings Anatasiya Kuzmina (Slovakia) and Anton Shipulin (Russia) competed against each other in the first Olympic biathlon mixed relay, and their teams finished 0.3 seconds apart — Russia fifth, Slovakia sixth.
– American-born snowboarder Vic Wild won parallel giant slalom gold for Russia. He gained Russian citizenship after marrying Alena Zavarzina — who won bronze in her event just a few minutes earlier.
So if you took Wild’s medal and reclassified it for the USA, the Americans and Russians would be tied on the current medal projection pace. But after today’s hockey quarterfinals, Russia could use a nice feel-good story like the Wild-Zavarzina family.
Original projections: Norway 39, USA 35, Canada 30, Russia 26, Germany 23, Austria 22, South Korea 15, Netherlands 14, France 12, Switzerland 11, Sweden 10, Japan 7, Italy 7
If the rest of the projections were to come true, like they did in speedskating today, the medal count would be: Russia 31, USA 29, Norway 27, Canada 27, Netherlands 24, Germany 19, Austria 15, Sweden 15, France 14, Switzerland 14, South Korea 9, Japan 9, Italy 9
Switzerland (+2 today, +3 overall): Parallel giant slalom snowboarding was very good to the Alpine country.
USA (+1 today, -6 overall): One more medal than expected in women’s bobsled, but also a bonus for someone who was under tremendous expectations and delivered — Ted Ligety.
Austria (-4 today, -7 overall): It’s not as bad as it seems. Three of those medals were in the wild and wacky world of parallel giant slalom snowboarding. The other was in men’s giant slalom — the original Alpine skiing variety.
Germany (-2 today, -4 overall): Bobsledders aren’t getting it done.
Best legacy to keep alive: Once again, freestyle skiing pioneer Sarah Burke. Everyone wishes she was in these Olympics, but everyone is thinking of her.
Best reminder that Americans also complain about figure skating judges: Frank Carroll, speaking before the short program, dismissed Julia Lipnitskaia as a “little girl.”
Best reminder that Americans sometimes have a good point when they complain about figure skating judges: “How in the world Sotnikova ended up ahead of Kostner, whose poise and lyricism is light years ahead of the Russian’s, is anyone’s guess.” – Christine Brennan
Most important thing to remember about Lolo Jones: She recruited Lauryn Williams, who beat her out for a spot in the top USA sled.
Most arcane conspiracy theory: Norwegian cross-county ski team wax technician Knut Nystad – “I wish I had the best products, preferably the stuff the Swedes have. There are rumors that certain producers favor certain countries. We’ve heard that rumor from two distributors.”
Most intriguing conspiracy theory: Playing time and line combinations on Russia’s hockey team were bizarre. “Why? Because the KHL and Russian hockey hoped to use the world’s biggest hockey games as a propaganda tool for the Russian professional league that vies to rival the NHL. Well, that was a complete and utter disaster.” – Pierre LeBrun, ESPN
Best impression of a boxer’s career indecision: Yevgeny Plushenko’s latest retirement hasn’t lasted long.
Best bear moment:
Worst bear moment:
Most frightening quote:
Least effective drug test: Japanese skier Akira Lenting only had one event on his agenda — the men’s relay. But his teammates were lapped, which meant he wouldn’t get to ski his anchor leg. Then his name was drawn for a drug test. Gee, it’d be a shame if Japan had to vacate that result.
Curling, women’s bronze and gold medal games: Sweden, Britain, Canada
Sweden-Canada for gold, Britain-Switzerland for bronze. Based on today’s semifinals, pick Canada, Sweden, Britain.
Figure skating, women’s free skate: Mao Asada (Japan), Yuna Kim (South Korea), Ashley Wagner (USA). Also considered: Gracie Gold (USA), Julia Lipnitskaia (Russia), Carolina Kostner (Italy), Adelina Sotnikova (Russia)
Actual top 6 through the short program: Kim, Sotnikova, Kostner, Gold, Lipnitskaia, Wagner. Let’s not talk about Asada.
Freestyle skiing, men’s skicross: Alex Fiva (Switzerland), Dave Duncan (Canada), Andreas Matt (Austria), Jean Frederic Chapuis (France), Chris Del Bosco (Canada), Filip Flisar (Slovenia), Victor Oehling Norberg (Sweden)
Confidence level: Maybe a 2 on a scale of 1 to 5. Not the most predictable event.
Freestyle skiing, women’s halfpipe: Virginie Faivre (Switzerland), Roz Groenewoud (Canada), Maddie Bowman (USA). Also considered: Marie Martinod (France), Ayana Onozuka (Japan)
Should be a terrific competition.
Ice hockey, women’s bronze and gold medal games: USA, Canada, Finland. Also considered: Russia
USA-Canada for gold, Sweden-Switzerland for bronze.
Nordic combined, team: Germany, Norway, France. Also considered: Austria, Japan, USA
Individual large hill results:
- Norway: 1, 2, 9, 12
- Germany: 3, 4, 8, 10 (#10, normal hill winner Eric Frenzel, was sick)
- Austria: 5, 15, 17, 19
- France: 7, 13, 21, 27
- Japan: 6, 26, 35, dns
- Italy: 18, 23, 28, 41
- Czech Republic: 11, 25, 29, 32
- USA: 20, 22, 31, dns
- Finland: 14, 38, 42, 44