What you missed in PyeongChang last night: A night full of surprises
It was a night full of surprises, with many feel-good storylines ending in disarray.
Mikaela Shiffrin was attempting to win back-to-back golds on back-to-back nights. She came up short on a night she didn’t feel or look like herself. She finished fourth, just off the podium in the women’s slalom.
Nathan Chen was seeking redemption in the men’s short program. He came up short, faltering on every one of his mandatory elements. On the flip side, Adam Rippon and Vincent Zhou shined in the moment. Zhou became the first male to cleanly land a quad Lutz at the Olympics. Rippon ended the night as the highest ranked American.
Lindsey Jacobellis’ woes in the Olympics continued in snowboard cross. She missed the podium again, finishing in fourth place.
On the positive side, South Korean Yun Sung-Bin finished his strong skeleton showing, winning gold in front of a huge home crowd.
Yun Sung-Bin delivers at home
South Korean Yun Sung-Bin was so good in the first two runs that all he had to do today was avoid disaster and the gold medal would be his. He didn’t just avoid any crashes, he set a new track record (50.02) in his final run to win gold with an overall time of 3:20.55. It is South Korea’s first Olympic medal in a sliding event (bobsled, luge, or skeleton).
Nikita Tregubov, an Olympic Athlete from Russia, came in second. Tregubov bettered his sixth place finish in Sochi for his first Olympic medal. Dominic Parson from Great Britain took home bronze. Parsons won Great Britain’s first medal in the men’s skeleton since 1948.
Martins Dukurs, Latvia, had a chance to become the skeleton athlete with the most Olympic career medals (3), but he fell from second to fourth on his final run after clipping a wall. He had previously announced his retirement after these Games, and finishes with two Olympic medals.
Americans Matt Antoine and John Daly held steady in their final runs. Antoine finished 11th, where he stood entering the day. He didn’t have a great fourth run, finishing with the slowest time of the competition, 51.34 seconds.
Daly finished 16th overall. He has alluded to these Games being his final. His redemption story is well chronicled from Sochi, where he slipped from fourth to 15th in the final heat. Daly has referred to his comeback to compete at PyeongChang as “closing the chapter of my make-believe book.”
American golfer John Daly provided some entertainment on Twitter during Daly’s races. Obviously, with the same name people were tweeting the golfer good luck, and he had a funny response.
Not meant to be
Lindsey Jacobellis is easily considered to be the best in women’s snowboard cross. She has 28 world cup wins and 10 X-Games wins. When it comes to the Olympics, she has had horrible experiences. She infamously missed out on gold in 2006 when she fell on the final jump. She walked away with silver, her only Olympic medal. She crashed in the semifinal rounds in 2010 and 2014.
Jacobellis cruised through the quarterfinal and semifinal races. In the final, she led most of the race, but ultimately finished in fourth. She finished .46 seconds out of gold and .03 out of bronze. She might have made the podium if not pushed off her line by a crashing rider while landing the final jump.
Italy’s Michela Moioli, 22, won gold after tearing her ACL in the final in Sochi. 16-year-old Julia Pereira of France captured silver. 2014 gold medalist Eva Samkova took home the bronze.
Nathan Chen falls short, Vincent Zhou and Adam Rippon rise to the occasion
17-year-old Vincent Zhou became the first skater to land a quad Lutz at the Olympics. Zhou is Team USA’s youngest member. Despite skating early, the teenager performed well. He scored a new personal best of 84.53 and currently sits in 12th.
28-year-old Adam Rippon, after missing out in Sochi, finally skated a short program in the Olympics. Rippon skated a clean program, which he needed to do since he does not have the quad in his program.
He was rewarded with an 87.95 for his program, which temporarily put him in first place. He ended up finishing as the top American and seventh overall.
Nathan Chen had a disappointing debut in the team event and was looking to rebound in the men’s short. Redemption will have to wait. He had an incredibly disappointing performance, making mistakes on all three required jumping elements.
Chen’s score of an 82.27 almost ensures he will not medal. He will get a chance to finish on a personal high note by putting down a clean skate in the men’s free skate tomorrow.
Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu completed his comeback after injuring his ankle in November. He skated an outstanding short program, earning a score of 111.68. It is the second highest score ever in a short program (he holds the record for the highest score from earlier this season). If Hanyu wins gold tomorrow, he will be the first man to win back-to-back Olympic golds since American Dick Button did in the 1948 and 1952 Games.
Mikaela Shiffrin can’t complete comeback
Frida Hansdotter of Sweden win her first Olympic medal, finishing first in the women’s slalom event. Shiffrin did not defend her title, finishing in fourth.
Mikaela Shiffrin started her Olympics with a win in the giant slalom two nights ago. Last night, she had a quick turnaround to defend her Olympic title in the women’s slalom.
Her nerves, which she worked hard to overcome, got to her. Shiffrin threw up right before her first run. She looked conservative, and it cost her in the first run. She finished with a time of 49.37, .48 seconds behind the leader, Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener.
It was an unusual position for Shiffrin. It wasn’t the first time Shiffrin has had to come back to win the slalom event. In her last World Cup slalom win on January 9th, 2018 she was .37 behind entering the second run and came back to win by almost a full second. The last time Shiffrin came back from a deficit great than .48 to win a slalom race was March 16, 2013 at the World Cup finals.
Just as Shiffrin was about to begin her second run, a huge gust of wind came, but it dialed down just in time. She looked good at the top. Shiffrin had a tiny bobble at one of the gates, which caused her to lose a little bit of time. Shiffrin couldn’t really recover and didn’t take the necessary risk at the bottom of the hill. She finished a disappointing fourth, just off the podium in what is considered her best event.
It is extremely rare for Shiffrin to miss the podium. Since Sochi, she has had 34 world championship and World Cup starts and only missed the podium four times in four years.
Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter, who has finished second to Shiffrin many times, captured gold by .05 of a second over Switzerland’s Holdener. Hansdotter’s combined time was 1:28.63. Austria’s Katharina Gallhuber took home the bronze with a time of 1:38.95.
Tough super-G yields familiar results
Matthias Mayer won his second Olympic gold medal by winning the men’s super-G with a time of 1:24.44. He won gold in the downhill at the 2014 Sochi Games. Mayer joins Askel Lund Svindal as the only two skiers to win the gold medal in both speed events at the Olympics. Svindal was a meal favorite but finished in fifth place.
Beat Feuz of Switzerland and Kjetil Jansrud swapped medal colors in the super-G for their second medals of the games (downhill was their first), this time with Feuz winning silver and Jansrud winning bronze.
American Ryan Cochran-Siegle finished 14th overall with a time of 1:25.72. Teammate Jared Goldberg finished in 24th with a time of 1:26.49.
American Andrew Weibrecht was a medal favorite, but he did not finish. Ted Ligety also did not finish the race. The course was considered particularly tough with 14 racers not finishing.
The next men’s Alpine race is the giant slalom on Saturday. Ligety is the reigning Olympic champion.
U.S. rebounds vs. Slovakia in men’s hockey
Ryan Donato’s two-goal effort helped Team USA earn their first win in PyeongChang. They beat Slovakia 2-1.
Donato is 21 years old and one of four collegiate players on the U.S. men’s roster. He was chosen in the second round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft by the Boston Bruins.
The Americans were a lot more aggressive in the third period, helping to ensure Slovakia didn’t come back like Slovenia against the U.S. team. Goalie Ryan Zapolski turned in a solid performance with 21 saves.
Team USA will take on the Olympic Athletes from Russia next.
Sweden runs away with win over Team USA
For the second-straight night, the U.S. men’s curling team put themselves in a hole early and were unable to recover.
After giving up a five point end to Italy a night ago, the U.S. allowed Sweden to score four in the first end Thursday night and two more in the fourth and eighth for a 10-4 win.
The U.S. fell to 1-2 in PyeongChang play. Sweden remains unbeaten at 3-0.
In other scores from the night, Norway beat Korea 7-5. Denmark rallied to beat Italy 6-4.
Dario Cologna strikes gold again in men’s 15km individual
Dario Cologna of Switzerland won his third straight Olympic gold medal in the men’s 15km individual. Cologna is the first male cross-country skier to win three gold medals in one event.
Norway’s Simen Hegstad Krueger captured the silver medal, his second medal of the Games. He won the 30km skiathlon.
Denis Spitsov took home the bronze medal, finishing 23 seconds behind Cologna.
Shirtless Tongan Pita Taufatogua, who took the internet by storm, participated in the event. He famously took up cross-country skiing less than a year ago. He is one of a few athletes to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. He finished the race in 56 minutes, 4.11 seconds, coming in 114 out of 116 skiers.