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 in the top 15. They were never a factor, though. Skiers have the option of changing skis at the 10k and 20k mark, and the U.S. skiers all changed at 10k. Then they saw few other skiers making the same decision. That cost them about 20 seconds, and no one was in the chase pack of about 12 skiers.

Liz Stephen finished 24th (3:06.6 back), Holly Brooks 27th (3:53.1), Kikkan Randall 28th (4:05.5), Jessie Diggins 40th (7:07.8).

What happened: Remember when Norway had all the wrong wax or all the wrong skis? Not today. At the 10k mark, Norway had the top three and the skier in fifth. Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla broke up the party, with Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk and Finland’s Krista Lahteenmaki immediately behind.

Then Theresa Johaug, Marit Bjoergen and Kristin Stoermer Steira simply broke away. At the halfway point, they were more than 30 seconds ahead of Lahteenmaki. Kowalczyk, unable to keep up, simply popped off her skis and withdrew from the race. (She prefers classical.)

By the 20k mark, the lead was close to a minute over a dispirited chase pack, where the other contenders had little interest in turning up the pace to chase for fourth place.

Bjoergen and Johaug pushed up the final climb and dropped Steira. Bjoergen gained some daylight at the top and raced away for the win. Johaug was 2.6 seconds back, then Steira 23 seconds behind.

The Norwegians had a minute — literally — to celebrate at the finish line before Finland’s Kerttu Niskanen won the sprint for fourth place.

Full results

Sochi recap: Curling, men’s tiebreaker

The flashy pants of Norway are out of the Olympics, as Britain took a close decision with a tremendous shot.

Date: 18-Feb

Sport: Curling

Event: Men’s tiebreaker (winner goes to semifinals)

What happened: Norway started with the hammer, and they traded singles through the first four ends. Norway got two in the fifth, we got a couple of blanks, and Britain tied it in the eighth.

Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud couldn’t quite clear out the British rocks in the ninth and was limited to one. That gave Britain the hammer and a 5-4 deficit heading into the 10th.

Ulsrud’s team put several rocks in the house. After the skip’s last shot, Norway had two in scoring position.


So you’d think Britain would be forced to draw to the four-foot for one, sending the game to an extra end. Right? But David Murdoch is made of sterner stuff than that.


That’s right — he set off a dizzying chain reaction that removed Norway’s scoring rocks, left his existing rock in place and left his shooter close enough to score two.

Britain wins 6-5 and sets up a semifinal date with Sweden. Britain has both men and women in the semifinals, as do Sweden and Canada.

Full results Scores and diagrams

Sochi recap: Men’s ice hockey, Finland vs. Norway

In the Scandinavian matchup, Finland is undefeated against Norway. They kept it that way tonight with a blowout.

Date: 14-Feb

Sport: Men’s hockey

Event: Finland vs. Norway

Score: Finland 6, Norway 1

What happened: Finland came out firing as they scored two goals in a 1:05 span in the 1st. The Finns dominated play. After another goal with 2:30 left in the period, the Norwegians changed their goalie.

In the second the Finns still dominated and scored two more goals on the backup goaltender, Lars Volden. The goals were from Korpikoski and Jokinen three minutes apart.

In the third period Norway started off with a 5-on-3 power play and scored to make it 5-1. To put the nail in the coffin, Maatta scored with 2:19 left in the game. Final score 6-1 Finland.

From Jimmy Halmhuber

Best/worst, Sochi medal projections vs. reality: Feb. 9

Norway is now projected NOT to break the USA’s record of 37 medals set in 2010.

Wait, you say, doesn’t Norway lead the medal count? Yes. But Norway is already three medals behind the projected pace. The projections called for 39 medals. So if Norway wins every remaining projection (and no others), that’ll be 36. The USA still in line for 35 medals.

The obvious disclaimer: It’s still early.

A few ups and downs from Sunday, good news last:


Germany (-3): Only one men’s luge medal? At least it was gold. Germany also missed out in speedskating and ski jumping.

Norway (-2): If you prefer looking at gold medals rather than the total, Norway’s day was awful. Three projected golds (women’s biathlon, men’s ski jumping, men’s downhill) turned to two bronze. Norway also got one instead of a projected two in cross-country, and Russia’s still protesting that one.


USA: Projected gold in slopestyle (Jamie Anderson) and bronze in team figure skating. Won gold in slopestyle (Jamie Anderson) and bronze in team figure skating.

Switzerland: Injured much of the season, and yet Dario Cologna rewarded the projections’ faith in cross-country.


Eighteen countries won medals Sunday, including Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, Slovenia, Finland, Britain and Ukraine.


Russia (+3): Projected for silver in team figure skating. That became a runaway gold. They also got a good run to silver from luge veteran Albert Demchenko, a surprising biathlon silver from Olga Vilukhina, and a completely unexpected bronze from speedskater Olga Graf,


Biggest surprise: Either Matthias Mayer (Austria) in the downhill or Graf (Russia) in speedskating.

Biggest disappointment: It wasn’t just that occasionally dominant cross-country skier Petter Northug (Norway) missed the medals. It was the way he blew up and fell back when his tactic of slowing the field didn’t work.

Best commentary: Sally Jenkins on “the most troubled, complicated Olympics of our time,” in which the media hotel problems barely scratch the surface behind the Potemkin village. Sure, Beijing had a wide gap between its Olympic glitz and the impoverished countryside, but this seems much, much worse.

Best parent: Tucker West’s dad isn’t letting the backyard luge slider-turned-Olympian leave his moment in the spotlight without reminding the ladies that his fine young son is single.

Funniest moment: “Oh, you need to get back to the start gate? Here, let me help … whoa!

Least sportsmanlike moment: “Hey, USA’s Noah Hoffman, you fell? Here, let me bonk you in the face.”

Highlight to see when NBC makes it available after prime time: Jamie Anderson had a bit of pressure on her. She was the runaway favorite in women’s slopestyle — maybe an unfair status given the sport’s unpredictability. Her first run was a little off. Her second was sublime.

More on Storify.


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2014 medal projections: Final changes

Having gone through the last week of World Cup stuff, season standings and slopestyle accidents, the following medal projections have changed:

Alpine skiing, men’s super-G: Patrick Küng (Switzerland) bronze, Christof Innerhofer (Italy) considered

Alpine skiing, women’s giant slalom: Jessica Lindell-Vikarby (Sweden) gold, Tina Maze (Slovenia) considered

Biathlon, men’s individual: Emil Hegle Svendsen (Norway) bronze, Andreas Birnbacher (Germany) considered

Bobsled, two-man: Alexander Zubkov (Russia) bronze, Lyndon Rush (Canada) considered

Freestyle skiing, women’s skicross: Marielle Thompson (Canada) bronze, Kelsey Serwa (Canada) considered

Snowboard, men’s slopestyle: Staale Sandbech (Norway) silver, Max Parrot (Canada) bronze, Shaun White (USA) withdrew), Torstein Horgmo (Norway) injured

Adding to “considered”

Cross-country skiing, men’s sprint: Josef Wenzl (Germany)

Luge, women’s: Kate Hansen (USA)

No change in curling, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, skeleton, ski jumping, short-track, speedskating.

The final medal count: Norway 39, USA 35, Canada 30, Russia 26, Germany 23.

Games start in three and a half hours.