- Team USA
Head first into history: Team USA's Day 7 recap
Team USA continued its streak of reaching the podium at the Sochi Olympics, with Noelle Pikus-Pace taking the silver in women's skeleton. See how the Americans fared on Day 7, which included Bode Miller and Ted Ligety in action in the men's super combined, the finale of men's figure skating, and medals handed out in women's aerials.
For the seventh day in a row the United States has earned an Olympic medal, thanks to Noelle Pikus-Pace. The 31-year-old mother of two, who was .01 seconds away from winning bronze in Vancouver, earned the silver medal in women’s skeleton on Friday. Pikus-Pace had retired after Vancouver but returned for Sochi, and she says she'll permanently retire now that she's exorcised the demons of missing a medal in Vancouver.
The event was won by Great Britain’s Lizzy Yarnold, who won the first medal of her Olympic career. Yarnold finished almost a full second faster than silver medalist Pikus-Pace. Third and fourth place were separated by just 0.04 seconds as Russia’s Yelena Nikitina edged out three-time Olympian, American Katie Uhlaender. Uhlaender next plans to train as a weightlifter for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
PHOTOS: Top images of Day 7
Embedded owg_slideshow: Sochi snapshots: Best images from Day 7
Figure skating: Men's free program
Japan earned its first-ever Olympic medal in men’s figure skating when Yuzuru Hanyu followed up his brilliant and record-breaking short program with an imperfect free skate that was enough to land him on top of the podium. The three-time reigning world champion, Canada’s Patrick Chan, had an opportunity to take home the gold after Hanyu left the door open, but followed with a lackluster performance that landed him a silver. Kazakhstan’s Denis Ten took bronze, the first Olympic figure skating medal the country has ever won.
The long programs of Americans Jason Brown and Jeremy Abbott couldn’t move them onto the podium, but both had reasons to count their Sochi experience as a success. Brown finished ninth after a performance that couldn’t match his U.S. National Championships skate that became a YouTube sensation. But his stated goal was breaking into the top 10 and, Brown, only 19 years old, has high hopes to return for a second Olympic appearance. Abbott has stated he will retire after Sochi and was able to finish his career on a high note. Skating confidently with the disastrous crash in his short program behind him, Abbott received a solid score and finished 12th. Both Americans previously earned bronze medals for their participation in the team figure skating event.
PHOTOS: Men's figure skating free program
Embedded owg_slideshow: Yuzuru Hanyu takes Japan's first gold in men's figure skating
Alpine skiing: Super combined
Swiss skier Sandro Viletta fought through tough conditions in spring-like weather to capture a surprising gold medal in the men’s super combined. Viletta sat in 14th place after the downhill portion of the event and then completed the second-fastest slalom run to land on top of the podium. Croatian Ivica Kostelic was the favorite heading into the event, but fell just a bit short, taking his third career silver in the discipline. The silver medal winner from the men’s downhill, Italian Christof Innerhofer, won the bronze.
The defending Olympic champion in the super combined, Bode Miller, finished 6th after swinging off the racing line on his downhill run. Fellow American Ted Ligety finished in 12th. Both Americans will compete later in Sochi, with Miller being among the favorites in the super-G on Sunday and Ligety the favorite in the giant slalom on Wednesday.
PHOTOS: Super combined slalom run
Embedded owg_slideshow: Sochi Olympics: Men's super-combined slalom
Freestyle skiing: Women's aerials
As the last to advance out of the second semifinal into the main final, Alla Tsuper from Belarus clinched the gold medal in women’s aerials with a final score of 98.01. Prior to Sochi, Tsuper’s best Olympic finish was a fifth-place showing at the 1998 Nagano Games, her Olympic debut. Xu Mengtao of China, the reigning world champion, claimed the silver, and defending champion Lydia Lassila of Australia earned the bronze.
American Emily Cook, 34, who has been chasing a podium finish for the past three Olympics, finished in eighth place. American teammate Ashley Caldwell failed to advance past the first final after a rough landing put her in tenth place.
PHOTOS: Women's aerials finals
Embedded owg_slideshow: PHOTOS: Women's aerials final
In Group B of the men's Olympic hockey tournament, Canada dominated Austria with a 6-0 victory. The most dominant Canadian was Jeff Carter, the Los Angeles Kings forward who scored three straight goals to complete Canada's first Olympic natural hat trick since Paul Knox turned the trick at the 1956 Olympics. Drew Doughty, Shea Weber and Ryan Getzlaf also had goals for Canada.
Finland powered their way to a 6-1 victory over Norway. Canada and Finland will meet on Sunday, to determine who will win Group B.
In Group C, the Swedes are without Johan Franzen, Henrik Sedin, and now Henrik Zetterberg. But they still have goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and today that was enough in Sweden’s 1-0 victory over Switzerland.
In Group A, the Americans will go into Saturday’s big tilt against Russia with a few line changes to the roster that earned them a 7-1 win over Slovakia in the Olympic tournament opener. Team USA will then conclude its preliminary round schedule with a match against Slovenia on Sunday.
WATCH: U.S. men in for showdown with Russia
Embedded video_content_type: U.S. men's hockey team in for a showdown with Russia
Cross country (Men's 15km classic)
The men’s 15km classic cross-country event was won by Dario Cologna of Switzerland. The gold medal is Cologna’s second of the Games after he won the 30km skiathlon event. Johan Olsson and Daniel Richardsson, both of Sweden, finished second and third respectively.The last place finisher was Roberto Carcelen, didn't let a recently broken rib stop him from competing in Sochi. When he crossed the line 28 minutes after Cologna, the gold medalist was there to shake Carcelen's hand and offer congratulations
Noah Hoffman finished highest of all American racers with a 31st place finish while Brian Gregg and Kris Freeman finished 47th and 52nd overall.
WATCH: Skiers wait for last-place finisher to complete race
Embedded video_content_type: Roberto Carcelen completes 15km despite broken rib
Biathlon: Women's 15km individual
Three days after winning the 12.5k pursuit, Darya Domracheva of Belarus earned her second gold medal of the Sochi Olympics in the women’s 15km individual race. Domracheva’s also won bronze in the individual race at the Vancouver Games. Switzerland’s Selina Gasparin claimed the silver medal, and Domracheva’s teammate Nadezhda Skardino earned the bronze medal. Americans Hannah Dreissigacker finished in 23rd place, Susan Dunklee in 34th, Sara Studebaker in 55th and Lanny Barnes in 64th.
PHOTOS: Day 7 medal ceremony
Embedded owg_slideshow: Photos: Medal Ceremony on Day 7 in Sochi
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