IOC president Thomas Bach expecting successful Sochi Olympics

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International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has seen the first Olympics he’ll preside over attract various degrees of controversy in recent months.

But the former gold-medal winning fencer appears to be staying on an even keel as the countdown to Sochi draws closer to zero.

Today, Bach made his first formal appearance in Sochi. NBCOlympics.com’s Alan Abrahamson was there as Bach calmly answered the expected questions about Russia’s anti-gay legislation, the Games’ security, and their cost, which has risen to a eyebrow-raising sum of more than $50 billion.

Even with all of these elements in play, Bach is confident that Sochi will put on a great show, hosting in his words “Games with excellent conditions for the athletes” that herald “the transformation of a city, of a whole region.”

To the German, “the Olympic stage is set.”

For more on Bach meeting the press, check out Abrahamson’s report in the link above.

Athletes enjoy video games, basement tunnels, dental work in Olympic Villages

Diggins, Randall win historic gold medal for U.S. in cross-country

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The long, long wait is over.

Team USA ended their 42-year Olympic medal drought in cross-country skiing Wednesday and they made American cross-country history in the process.

Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall became the first American cross-country skiers to capture a gold medal by winning the women’s team sprint at the Alpensia Cross-Country Centre in PyeongChang, South Korea. Sweden captured silver and Norway took home bronze.

Diggins and Randall are the first American women to win an Olympic medal and join Bill Koch as the only American cross-country skiers to earn an Olympic medal.

The Americans advanced to the finals courtesy of their first place finish in the semifinals, beating Sweden and OAR in the process.

Diggins out-sprinted both the gold and silver medalists of the individual sprint (Stina Nilsson and Maiken Falla, respectively) in the final stretch to take the gold.

Results

Gold: Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins (USA)

Silver: Charlotte Kalla and Stina Nilsson (SWE)

Bronze: Marit Bjoergen and Maiken Falla (NOR)

Click here for a full recap of Team USA’s historic run

Czech Republic advance to medal round with shootout win vs. United States

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Petr Loukal scored the lone shootout goal as the Czech Republic defeated the United States and advance to the medal round.

Jan Kolar and Tomas Kundratek scored in regulation, while Pavel Francouz made 18 saves and stopped all five shootout attempts.

Ryan Donato scored his tournament-leading fifth goal, and Jim Slater added a shorthanded goal as the Olympics come to an end for the United States.