- Team USA
Survive and advance: Team USA's Day 12 recap
U.S athletes fought for their Olympic lives on Wednesday in order to put themselves in position to win medals. The men’s U.S. Olympic Hockey Team looked to advance into the semifinals and the figure skating trio of Gracie Gold, Ashley Wagner and Polina Edmunds were up against the world’s best in the ladies short program. See how the Americans fared on Day 12 in Sochi.
Alpine skiing: Men's giant slalom
Ted Ligety made history on Wednesday, dominating the giant slalom on his way to becoming the first American Alpine skier to capture two Olympic gold medals. The Park City native built a sizable lead after the first run and remained at the top of the podium for the remainder of the event.
Ligety won his first Olympic gold at the 2006 Turin Games in the combined event. The two-time Olympic champion will wrap up his 2014 Olympics with the slalom race on Saturday.
France’s Steve Missillier of France claimed the silver medal after recording the fastest second run. His compatriot Alexis Pinturault took the bronze.
PHOTOS: Ligety takes gold in giant slalom
Embedded owg_slideshow: Sochi Olympics: Men's Giant Slalom Run 2
Figure skating: Ladies short program
All three American skaters made it into the top 10 after the short program portion of the ladies figure skating competition. No major mistakes from Gracie Gold landed her in third, while an underrotated jump placed Ashley Wagner in sixth. 15-year-old Polina Edmunds, competing at the Olympics during her first season as a senior skater, is seventh.
WATCH: Getting to know Gracie Gold
Embedded video_content_type: Golden girl: Getting to know Gracie Gold
The scores of the top three skaters are all within a point of each other. As expected, defending Olympic champion Yuna Kim skated flawlessly and received the highest score. Behind by just .28 points is a fresh-faced Russian teenager -- not Yulia Lipnitskaya, whose performances in the team event helped capture the gold, but 17-year-old Adelina Sotnikova. Sotnikova is the 2014 Russian national champion but has been overshadowed by Lipnitskaya so far in Sochi. In third is Italian Carolina Kostner.
Lipnitskaya, normally extremely consistent, fell on a triple flip jump and ended the night in fifth place. Another shocking fall came from 2010 silver medalist Mao Asada, who was considered the top contender to challenge Kim for gold, but a botched triple axel cost her big points and sent her down to 16th place. She and the rest of the top 24 skaters will compete again tomorrow in the free skate portion.
PHOTOS: Defending Olympic champion Yuna Kim leads after short program
Embedded owg_slideshow: Yuna Kim leads after ladies figure skating short program in Sochi
Hockey: Men's quarterfinals
Team USA maintained their perfect record at the 2014 Games, taking a 5-2 victory over the Czech Republic and advancing to the semifinals. James Van Riemsdyk, Dustin Brown, David Backes, Phil Kessel and Zach Parise all scored for the U.S. This game marked the third time in four contests in Sochi that the U.S. scored at least five goals.
WATCH: U.S. vs. Czech Republic highlights
Embedded video_content_type: USA downs Czech Republic, 5-2
The defending Olympic champion Canada defeated Latvia in a quarterfinal round game that was a little too close for comfort for one of the pre-tournament favorites. Despite out-shooting Latvia 57-16, the Canadians went into the third period knotted at 1. But in the end, the Canadians avoided defeat when Shea Weber scored late in the third period to break the tie and gave Canada the 2-1 victory.
The U.S. and Canada are both undefeated in the 2014 tournament and face off in a rematch of the 2002 and 2010 Olympic gold medals games, of which the Canadians were victorious in both.
Russia headed into the Olympics with a dream of winning a gold medal on home soil, but Finland quickly crushed those dreams and handed the host country a quarterfinal loss. Juhamatti Aaltonen, Teemu Selanne and Mikael Granlund all scored for Finland, after Ilya Kovaluchk scored the opening goal for the Russians midway through the first period. The game came down to Tuukka Rask’s brilliant goal tending, stopping 37 of 38 shots for the Finns.
WATCH: Finland eliminates the host country from the men's hockey tournament
Embedded video_content_type: Finland scores three unanswered goals, eliminates Russia
Finland advanced to meet Sweden in the semifinals, after the #1 seeded Swedes easily got past Slovenia 5-0. The Swedes controlled the tempo for the majority of the first two periods, but they entered the third with only a 1-0 lead. They proved to be the better team in the final period as Daniel Sedin, Loui Eriksson and Carl Hagelin notched three goals in about 10 minutes early in the third. Hagelin sealed the deal with a second goal later in the period, securing Sweden's place in the semifinals.
The U.S. women’s bobsled team of Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams came into the final two runs on Wednesday in the lead and on the verge of winning the first women's U.S. bobsled gold since 2002. However, on the final run the duo faltered and let their gold medal chances slip through their fingers. Settling for silver was especially disappointing for brakeman Williams, as she was less than a second away from becoming the first woman ever to win a gold medal in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games.
Team Canada, consisting of Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse, won their second consecutive Olympic gold medal. Another U.S. team, consisting of Jamie Greubel and Aja Evans, took the bronze medal and rounded out the podium. USA-3, driven by Jazmine Fenlator and pushed by Lolo Jones, finished in 11th place.
PHOTOS: Canadian Kaillie Humphries defends Olympic title
Embedded owg_slideshow: Through the lens: Humphries golden; U.S. wins silver, bronze in women's bobsled
Curling: Men's and women's semifinals
The curling finals are set in stone. Tomorrow the women’s gold medal match will pit Canada against Sweden. Today the Canadians held strong against Great Britain and triumphed 6-4, while the Swedes who defeated Switzerland 7-5. The bronze medal will go to the winner of the Great Britain and Switzerland match, which will be held on Thursday morning before the finals.
The men’s final will pair Canada and Great Britain. The Canadians bested China 10-6 and Great Britain edged out Sweden 6-5 in the semifinals. The gold medal match will take place on Friday following the bronze medal game between China and Sweden.
WATCH: The etiquette of curling
Embedded video_content_type: The etiquette of curling
Snowboarding: Men's and women's parallel giant slalom
An American-born snowboarder competing for Russia, Vic Wild, earned the gold medal in the men’s parallel giant slalom. Wild, who hails from White Salmon, Wash., became a Russian citizen after marrying his girlfriend, Russian snowboarder Alena Zavarzina. Wild was joined on the podium by silver medalist Nevin Galmarini of Switzerland and bronze medalist Zan Kosir of Slovakia. Lone American Justin Reiter finished in 24th place and did not advance.
Wild’s wife, Zavarzina, earned a medal of her own, a bronze in the women’s parallel giant slalom. The silver medalist was Tomoka Takeuchi of Japan and the gold medalist was Patrizia Kummer of Switzerland.
Speed skating: Women's 5000m
Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic defended her 5000m Olympic title on Wednesday in the final individual speed skating race of the Sochi Games. Dutch skaters Ireen Wuest and Carien Kleibeuker finished second and third, respectively. The Dutch speed skaters have single-handedly won more medals, 21 overall, than every other country has won across all sports except Russia and the United States, who have won 22 and 23, respectively. American Maria Lamb, the only American in the 5000m race, finished last out of 16 skaters.
PHOTOS: Top images from Day 12
Embedded owg_slideshow: Sochi snapshots: Best images from Day 12
Biathlon: Mixed relay
History was made twice on Wednesday: when the mixed relay in biathlon made its Olympic debut, and when Ole Einer Bjoerndalen of Norway became the most decorated Winter Olympian ever with 13 medals. The Norwegian mixed relay team, represented by Bjoerndalen, Tora Berger, Tiril Eckhoff and Emil Hegle Svendsen, took home the gold, finishing ahead of the Czech Republic, who finished second, and Italy, who finished third. The United States team, represented by Susan Dunklee, Hannah Dreissigacker, Tim Burke and Lowell Bailey, finished in 9th place.
PHOTOS: Norway wins, Bjoerndalen becomes most decorated Winter Olympian of all-time
Embedded owg_slideshow: Mixed Relay: Norway wins and Bjoerndalen breaks record
Cross-country: Team sprint
The Norwegian cross-country skiers, led by Marit Bjorgen, won the women’s team sprint event by 9 seconds, giving Bjorgen her fifth career Olympic gold medal and her second gold at the Sochi Games. The American women, Kikkan Randall and Sophie Caldwell, finished eighth.
In the men’s event, gold went to the Finnish skiers after a dramatic finish. On the last lap, Finland, Russia and Germany were in contention to win the race when Germany’s Tim Tscharnke was right on Finland’s Sami Jauhojaervi’s heels and fell and finished fourth. Blaming Jauhojaervi for Tscharnke’s fall, the German team filed a protest but it was dismissed and the results—Finland gold, Russia silver, Sweden bronze—held. This is Finland’s first Olympic gold medal since 2002. Americans Erik Bjornsen and Simi Hamilton took sixth place.
PHOTOS: Day 12 medal ceremonies
Embedded owg_slideshow: Photos: Medal Ceremonies on Day 12