Sochi Olympic Daily Recap & Medal Count: Day 3

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After earning a record-tying 12th Olympic medal with a 10km sprint gold on Saturday, Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen (pictured) made his first attempt in Sochi to become the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time.

But the “Biathlon King” will have to wait a little bit longer to make it happen after finishing fourth in the men’s 12.5km pursuit that was won by France’s Martin Fourcade.

Only 1.7 seconds separated Bjoerndalen from that coveted 13th medal, but he stayed steady and calm despite the near-miss. For now, the hunt continues…

Canada celebrated a pair of golds this afternoon. Short track skater Charles Hamelin won the 1500m while American hope J.R. Celski finished fourth, and at the end of the day, Alex Bilodeau became the first Olympic freestyle skier to win multiple gold medals when he earned a second consecutive moguls title

Alpine skier Julia Mancuso of the U.S. earned her fourth career Olympic medal by grabbing the bronze in the women’s super combined. Mancuso had led after the downhill portion going into the slalom, but eventually dropped to .53 of a second behind winner Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany; Austria’s Nicole Hosp took the silver…

In speedskating, the Dutch men’s speed skaters were at it again, posting a second Sochi podium sweep in the 500m. Michel Mulder grabbed gold over teammate Jan Smeekens by the slimmest of margins, while Michel’s twin brother, Ronald, placed third. Shani Davis of the U.S. finished 24th in a tune-up for his Wednesday title defense in the 1000m…

Women’s hockey favorites Team USA and Team Canada both won today, but while the Americans romped over Switzerland, the Canadians needed a late breakthrough to take down Finland…

Tomorrow brings the start of the snowboard halfpipe competition, but some of the riders are hoping that the Rosa Khutor pipe will be better than what it has been in training

Outside of competition, the IOC explained why it was keeping competitors from wearing memorial helmet stickers in honor of the late freestyle skiing pioneer Sarah Burke…

Speed skater Olga Graf talked about her near-wardrobe malfunction after putting Russia on the Sochi medal board with her women’s 3000m bronze…

Czech snowboarder Sarka Pancochova said she was “all good” after taking a nasty fall in Sunday’s slopestyle final that wound up splitting her helmet…

U.S. luger Tucker West stood by his dad, Brett, after he mentioned on Sunday’s TODAY Show that his 18-year-old son was “very single”…

The inaugural set of Olympic team figure skating medals were handed out today in Sochi, with the U.S. team taking their bronzes…

And U.S. bobsledder Johnny Quinn had door issues once again, this time in an elevator

MEDAL COUNT – Feb. 10
(Country – Gold/Silver/Bronze – Total Medals)
1. Canada – 3/3/1 – 7
2. Netherlands – 3/2/2 – 7
3. Norway – 2/1/4 – 7
4. United States – 2/0/3 – 5
5. Germany – 2/0/0 – 2
6. Russia – 1/2/3 – 6
7. Austria – 1/2/0 – 2
8. France – 1/0/1 – 2
T-9. Poland – 1/0/0 – 1
T-9. Slovakia – 1/0/0 – 1
T-9. Switzerland – 1/0/0 – 1
12. Czech Republic – 0/2/1 – 3
13. Sweden – 0/2/0 – 2
14. Italy – 0/1/1 – 2
T-15. China – 0/1/0 – 1
T-15. Finland – 0/1/0 – 1
T-15. Slovenia – 0/1/0 – 1
T-18. Great Britain – 0/0/1 – 1
T-18. Ukraine – 0/0/1 – 1

Ragan Smith delivers in first U.S. championship title win

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Ragan Smith embraced the role of heavy favorite coming into the U.S. gymnastics championships.

Thrust into the spotlight for the first time in her career, the 17-year-old hardly appeared intimidated by the stage. Smith pulled away from the field to claim her first national title Sunday, posting a score of 115.250, more than three points clear of Jordan Chiles in second place and Riley McCusker in third.

Smith opened up a 1.3-point lead over McCusker in the opening round Friday but admitted afterward she wasn’t particularly impressed by her own performance. She was considerably sharper less than 48 hours later, her 57.850 total in the finals was the best in the 16-woman all-around field by nearly two points.

Smith is one of the few holdovers from the 2016 Olympic cycle, serving as an alternate for the “Final Five” team that won half of the available medals in Rio de Janeiro last fall. Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Madison Kocian and Laurie Hernandez are taking breaks or have moved on, leaving Smith as the standard bearer for new national team coordinator Valeri Liukin.

The program appears to be in solid hands. Smith ditched “The Addams Family” themed floor routine she used last year for something a little more mature. It’s not the only part of her gymnastics that has grown up. Smith finished first on floor and beam and tied for third on bars.

Smith will be in the mix for the all-around title at the world championships in Montreal, where she’ll have a chance to extend the U.S.’s dominance. An American woman has won the world or Olympic title each of the last six years. Barring injury, Smith should be right there.

Liukin said he wasn’t alarmed following an uneven performance by the field in preliminaries, calling it a positive step for a group lacking in experience. The gymnastics were markedly improved in the finals.

Chiles slipped by McCusker into second thanks to a fabulous save on beam in which she turned a near disaster into something decidedly artful.

Chiles was in the middle of “wolf turn” (basically spinning on one foot while in a crouch on a 4-inch wide piece of wood) when she nearly fell over. Instead she rose to her feet, kept rotating, and went right into the next part of her routine as if it was planned all along.

Chiles’ steadiness gives Liukin another option as he tries to put together the rest of the four-woman team that will join Smith in Montreal. McCusker, only recently recovered from foot and wrist injuries, tried to keep the heat on Smith but stepped out of bounds following the last tumbling pass on her floor routine. McCusker finished first on bars — her legs practically magnetized together as she went from bar to bar — to win the event with ease.

Ashton Locklear, like Smith an alternate last summer, wound up second on bars with a watered down routine as he makes her way back from her own injury issues and should have time to install upgrades before Montreal.

Whoever heads to Canada in October will go with the usual expectations for what has become the sport’s most dominant program.

MORE: Simone Biles says being back in the gym is “OK” (video)

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Simone Biles says being back in the gym is “OK” (video)

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Simone Biles has competed in the six previous U.S. National Championships, winning the last four, but in Anaheim this year, she’s watching from the sidelines. Biles won four gold medals (team, all-around, vault and floor) and one bronze (on beam) last summer at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

This week she revealed she has returned to the gym to prepare for a yet to be determined event, in her return to competition.

When asked how she’s been doing in the gym by NBC Sports’ Andrea Joyce, Biles responded with her signature smile accompanied by an endearingly bashful eye roll, “the beginning is…OK.”

MORE: Danell Leyva on why he’s retiring

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