Best/worst, Sochi medal projections vs. reality: Feb. 22

Unless Alexander Zubkov crashes on his home track and Norway sweeps the 50k cross-country race on Sunday, Russia will be the first host country to finish atop the medal count since … Norway, in 1994. If you prefer following gold medal counts to overall medal counts, you’re no fun, and possibly a little pedantic. But the last host country to have the most gold medals was Canada, last time. A few bits of medal trivia: – 26 countries have won medals in Sochi, tying the number from last time. In fact, they’re the same 26. – The projections had 25 countries winning … Continue reading Best/worst, Sochi medal projections vs. reality: Feb. 22

Sochi recap: Alpine skiing, men’s slalom

Austria’s Mario Matt has two world slalom titles (2001, 2007) and plenty of World Cup success. But he has rarely been healthy in the Olympics — in fact, he had never finished an Olympic slalom. Now the 34-year-old is a gold medalist. Date: 22-Feb Sport: Alpine skiing Event: Men’s slalom Medalists: Mario Matt (Austria), Marcel Hirscher (Austria), Henrik Kristoffersen (Norway) SportsMyriad projections: Marcel Hirscher (Austria), Mario Matt (Austria), Felix Neureuther (Germany) How U.S. fared: Nolan Kasper was 18th, exactly 2 seconds back, after the first run. David Chodounsky did not finish. That left all eyes on Ted Ligety, the giant slalom gold medalist. His World Cup slalom results aren’t special … Continue reading Sochi recap: Alpine skiing, men’s slalom

Sochi recap: Biathlon, men’s relay

A thrilling final leg in the last biathlon event of these Olympics saw Russia pull away for gold in front of a raucous home crowd, while Ole Einar Bjoerndalen could only watch as Emil Hegle Svendsen’s wayward shooting cost him a final medal for the collection. Date: 22-Feb Sport: Biathlon Event: Men’s 4×7.5k relay Medalists: Russia, Germany, Austria SportsMyriad projections: Russia, Norway, France How U.S. fared: Bad news at the start — Tim Burke, the American with the best World Cup track record — was ill and did not compete. Lowell Bailey went out fast, then took his time on the first shooting stage … Continue reading Sochi recap: Biathlon, men’s relay

Sochi recap: Snowboarding, men’s parallel slalom

American-born Russian Vic Wild loves his new country, and they love him. He took his second Olympic gold in a thrilling final over Zan Kosir, who also took his second medal of the Games. As unpredictable as this sport may be, each of the medalists was a repeat — Benjamin Karl reached the podium in parallel giant slalom in 2010. Date: 22-Feb Sport: Snowboarding Event: Men’s parallel slalom Medalists: Vic Wild (Russia), Zan Kosir (Slovenia), Benjamin Karl (Austria) SportsMyriad projections: Andreas Prommegger (Austria), Roland Fischnaller (Italy), Rok Marguc (Austria) How U.S. fared: Justin Reiter, a World Championship silver medalist, missed … Continue reading Sochi recap: Snowboarding, men’s parallel slalom

Sochi recap: Snowboarding, women’s parallel slalom

The first Olympic parallel slalom — just like parallel giant slalom but slightly smaller — was as unpredictable as ever. But a solid rider, Austria’s Julia Dujmovits, came up with the clutch performance to win gold. Germany took the next two places, with Amelie Kober adding parallel slalom bronze to the parallel giant slalom silver she won in 2006. Date: 22-Feb Sport: Snowboarding Event: Women’s parallel slalom Medalists: Julia Dujmovits (Austria), Anke Karstens (Germany), Amelie Kober (Germany) SportsMyriad projections: Ekaterina Tudegesheva (Russia), Patrizia Kummer (Switzerland), Hilde-Katrine Engeli (Norway) How U.S. fared: No entries What happened: Qualifying tripped up all three … Continue reading Sochi recap: Snowboarding, women’s parallel slalom

Sochi recap: Cross-country skiing, women’s 30k

We saw two races today — a three-way race between three Norwegians, then a race among everyone else. Norway had some frustration in these Olympics, but not today. Marit Bjoergen won her third gold medal of these Games. She’s tied for the women’s Winter Olympic career records with six golds and 10 medals. Date: 22-Feb Sport: Cross-country skiing Event: Women’s 30k freestyle mass start Medalists: Marit Bjoergen (Norway), Theresa Johaug (Norway), Kristin Stoermer Steira (Norway) SportsMyriad projections: Justyna Kowalczyk (Poland), Therese Johaug (Norway), Marit Bjoergen (Norway) How U.S. fared: Not the USA’s best event, but a couple of skiers were seeded … Continue reading Sochi recap: Cross-country skiing, women’s 30k

Defending the figure skating system — sort of

The current system for the inherently controversial task of judging figure skating competitions is the worst system ever designed — except the last one. And except the systems they used in snowboarding, freestyle skiing, gymnastics and pretty much everything else that’s decided by judges. The old system had that old familiar air to it. Judges gave marks for technical merit and presentation ranging from 0.0 (never, ever seen) to 6.0 (rarely seen). But that wasn’t even the decisive factor — it was the “ordinals,” ranking skaters from first to worst. And it had a few problems: 1. Rep meant everything. Judges … Continue reading Defending the figure skating system — sort of