Sochi Olympic Daily Recap & Medal Count: Day 4

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Shaun White was aiming to become the first American man to win three Winter Olympic golds in an individual event.

Instead, he got a Sochi Shock.

After a tough first run in today’s snowboard halfpipe final, White rebounded with a solid second run. But it wasn’t enough to put him on the podium, and the gold medal went to Switzerland’s Iouri “I-Pod” Podladtchikov.

The stunning result was one of eight medal events that went down today on Day 4 of these Games. Here were the others:

Individual figure skating competition also got underway today with the pairs’ short program. Russia’s duo of Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov posted a world-record score, while the U.S. pairing of Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir notched a personal-best score. However, Castelli/Shnapir were bumped down to ninth by the end of the night; the second American pairing, Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay, finished 14th…

A big contender in the women’s downhill, Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather, has confirmed that she is out of the Olympics following a training crash on Sunday that left her with bone bruises at her shin and knee. That may increase the medal chances in this event for Team USA’s Julia Mancuso, who topped the downhill portion of Monday’s super-combined before finishing with the bronze. The final training day before Wednesday’s medal event was scratched due to warm temperatures causing deep ruts to form on the course…

Finally, viewers of tonight’s NBC Olympics primetime coverage won’t be seeing familiar host Bob Costas, who’s handed over the reins temporarily to TODAY’S Matt Lauer while he tries to recover from an infection that has now spread to both of his eyes. Naturally, we wish Bob (and Matt) the best.

MEDAL COUNT – Feb. 11
(Country – Gold/Silver/Bronze – Total Medals)
1. Norway – 4/3/4 – 11
2. Canada – 4/3/2 – 9
3. Germany – 4/1/0 – 5
4. Netherlands – 3/2/3 – 8
5. United States – 2/1/4 – 7
6. Switzerland – 2/0/0 – 2
7. Russia – 1/3/3 – 7
8. Austria – 1/3/0 – 4
9. France – 1/0/2 – 3
T-10. Belarus – 1/0/0 – 1
T-10. Korea – 1/0/0 – 1
T-10. Poland – 1/0/0 – 1
T-10. Slovakia – 1/0/0 – 1
14. Sweden – 0/3/1 – 4
15. Czech Republic – 0/2/1 – 3
16. Slovenia – 0/1/2 – 3
T-17. Italy – 0/1/1 – 2
T-17. Japan – 0/1/1 – 2
T-19. China – 0/1/0 – 1
T-19. Finland – 0/1/0 – 1
T-21. Great Britain – 0/0/1 – 1
T-21. Ukraine – 0/0/1 – 1

Laurie Hernandez eyes return to competition in 2018

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NEW YORK – Laurie Hernandez hardly considers her 14 months away from competitive gymnastics a break.

Since earning Olympic team gold and balance beam silver in Rio, the 17-year-old won “Dancing with the Stars,” authored a book and even enrolled in ballet lessons.

But her most rewarding experience has been speaking at schools. Students have asked her seemingly every question, from when she started taking gymnastics classes (age 5) to whether she climbed trees when she was younger (yes, all the time).

Seeing how many children were inspired by her Rio performance motivated Hernandez as she prepares to return to the sport.

“I didn’t realize at the Olympics how many people were truly watching,” Hernandez said Wednesday night at the annual Women’s Sports Foundation Salute to Women in Sports. “Now I’m excited to get back into the gym.”

Hernandez recently added handstand holds, back tucks and front flips to her conditioning program, in addition to continuing to run and lift weights.

“It’s a little difficult, but it’s fine,” she said. “I’ll push it a little more after the holidays.”

She has her eye on returning to competition in 2018.

“That’s definitely the hope,” Hernandez said. “I’m not going to rush anything, but I would love to compete in 2018.”

Hernandez, who said her next goal in gymnastics is to compete at the world championships for the first time and hopefully the 2020 Olympics, has not yet identified her comeback meet.

She noted that Aly Raisman took more than two years off after the London Olympics.

“I know every athlete is different,” Hernandez said. “But I wouldn’t mind following in her footsteps.”

Simone Biles, who has not competed since winning four gold medals in Rio, recently announced that she plans on returning to full-time training Nov. 1 and competition next summer.

“I look up to her, even though we are teammates,” Hernandez said. “I can’t wait to see her out there, but hopefully I’ll be out there with her soon.”

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Olympic cycling champion running for Congress

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Olympic cycling gold medalist Marty Nothstein is the latest to announce he’s running for the eastern Pennsylvania congressional seat being vacated by fellow Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Dent.

Dent, a former state senator, is a centrist Republican who has held the seat since 2005. He’s retiring after his term expires next year.

Nothstein, who won sprint silver in 1996 and gold in 2000, is the only American track cyclist to win an Olympic title at a fully attended Games.

Two Republican state representatives, Ryan Mackenzie and Justin Simmons, previously announced they’re running for Dent’s 15th District seat.

Democrat Bill Leiner, a former Lehigh County commissioner, is also running.

Dent’s district includes Allentown and all of Lehigh County, and parts of four surrounding counties.

Republicans in 2011 stretched the district almost 90 miles to the Susquehanna River in central Pennsylvania to make it more Republican.

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