Farrington of the U.S. celebrates during the women's snowboard halfpipe finals at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor

Sochi Olympic Daily Recap & Medal Count: Day 5

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A gold medal performance from American snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington tops today’s whip-around through the Sochi Olympics.

Farrington (pictured) eclipsed a field that featured the previous three Olympic women’s halfpipe champions to win Team USA’s third gold of these Games (all of which have come from snowboarding) by a narrow margin over the most recent title-holder, Torah Bright of Australia.

The U.S. also nabbed the bronze, as 2002 champ Kelly Clark hit the podium on the final run of the event. Unfortunately, another American snowboarder, Arielle Gold, was unable to compete today due to an injury sustained just before qualifying…

For the first time ever, two gold medals were handed out in the same Alpine skiing event. Dominique Gisin and Tina Maze posted identical times of 1:14.57 in the women’s downhill to create the Olympic first. As for Julia Mancuso of the U.S., she failed to medal in the event after winning bronze in the super combined – but more opportunities in Sochi are coming her way…

Complete recap of Team USA from Day 5

A surprise took place in the men’s 1000m speedskating event today as Shani Davis, the two-time defending Olympic champion, finished eighth and off the podium. The race went to Stefan Groothuis of the Netherlands, with Canada’s Denny Morrison taking the silver. You’ll see more about the latter two later tonight on OlympicTalk…

In figure skating, the Russian romp continued. Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov won the gold in pairs competition, while their compatriots, Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov, earned the silver. The top American pair was Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir in ninth…

Rounding out the medal events, Germany earned two golds today from Eric Frenzel in the Nordic combined individual normal hill/10km and “The Tobis” – Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt – in doubles luge…

Men’s hockey officially got underway with a pair of games and you can go here and here for those recaps. The Canadian and American men both get started tomorrow, and have made decisions regarding goaltenders for their opening games…

Meanwhile, in women’s hockey, arch-rivals Canada and the U.S. collided in round-robin play and the Canadians held on for a 3-2 win that came with some controversy. NBCOlympics.com’s Jason Brough has a special report from that tilt

Out of competition, we did some looking back on the dramatic finale of yesterday’s men’s halfpipe final, which saw Iouri “I-Pod” Podladtchikov topple Shaun White

Erin Hamlin’s hometown celebrated her bronze in women’s luge, the first U.S. Olympic luge medal in singles competition…

The four-year anniversary of the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili was observed…

The Olympics’ ice hockey venue is a show in itself

And the “Wolfpack” was at it again.

MEDAL COUNT – Feb. 12
(Country – Gold/Silver/Bronze – Total Medals)
1. Germany – 6/1/1 – 8
2. Canada – 4/4/2 – 10
3. Norway – 4/3/5 – 12
4. Netherlands – 4/2/4 – 10
5. United States – 3/1/5 – 9
6. Switzerland – 3/0/1 – 4
7. Russia – 2/4/3 – 9
8. Austria – 1/4/0 – 5
9. Slovenia – 1/1/2 – 4
10. France – 1/0/2 – 3
T-11. Belarus – 1/0/0 – 1
T-11. Korea – 1/0/0 – 1
T-11. Poland – 1/0/0 – 1
T-11. Slovakia – 1/0/0 – 1
15. Sweden – 0/3/1 – 4
T-16. Czech Republic – 0/2/1 – 3
T-16. Japan – 0/2/1 – 3
18. Italy – 0/1/1 – 2
T-19. Australia – 0/1/0 – 1
T-19. China – 0/1/0 – 1
T-19. Finland – 0/1/0 – 1
T-22. Great Britain – 0/0/1 – 1
T-22. Latvia – 0/0/1 – 1
T-22. Ukraine – 0/0/1 – 1

Karen Chen breaks U.S. Champs scoring record; Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold trail

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KANSAS CITY — A skater broke the U.S. Championships women’s short program scoring record Thursday night, but it wasn’t Ashley Wagner or Gracie Gold.

Karen Chen, a 17-year-old former junior star who struggled the last two years, tallied 72.82 points at the Sprint Center to lead going into Saturday’s free skate (8 p.m. ET, NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

Mirai Nagasu, a 2010 Olympian, is second, .87 of a point behind.

That leaves Wagner and Gold, who combined to win the last five U.S. titles, in third and fifth, respectively.

This is concerning for Wagner (1.88 behind Chen) and Gold (7.97 behind) given U.S. Figure Skating can send three women to worlds in two months. That selection will be made this weekend, primarily — but not totally — based off U.S. Championships results.

Tessa Hong is in fourth place, but at 14 years old is too young for senior worlds.

Full results are here.

Though Wagner and Gold are usually higher placed, the biggest surprise was Chen.

“My body’s still trembling right now,” she said, two hours after her performance.

Chen skated a clean program Thursday, rare for her in the last couple of seasons. Chen burst onto the scene as a 15-year-old two years ago, finishing third at nationals behind Wagner and Gold.

She was too young to be selected for the 2015 Worlds team. Little has been heard from Chen since.

She dropped to eighth at the 2016 U.S. Championships and came into Kansas City as the seventh-ranked U.S. woman this season. Struggling to find comfortable boots — a common skater problem — has plagued her. She went through 14 pairs in a four-month stretch.

“Everyone has doubts, and I certainly do as well,” said Chen, who choreographed her short program. “But I just kept pushing and telling myself that I’m gaining more experience, I’m learning about everything in the process and I’m just going to keep getting better.”

Wagner bounced back from her last outing — her worst Grand Prix finish in 25 career starts — with a decent program. She needed to save a double Axel near the end of her short. The 2016 World silver medalist was the pre-event favorite.

“People do not understand how difficult of a position I am in,” said Wagner, a 25-year-old bidding to become the oldest U.S. women’s champion in 90 years. “It might seem like I’m on top of the world, or second from being top of the world, but this is a very tough position to be in. It’s mentally been weighing on my shoulders all season. To be able to come out and show people I am a fighter, I’m really proud of that.”

Gold needed to show a fighting spirit given her well-publicized disaster of a fall season. And she did. Her only miss in the short program was doubling a planned triple flip.

“I can feel a huge improvement as a skater. I think everyone can see it,” Gold said. “I have made comebacks before. This doesn’t feel like a major comeback in some ways, because I felt pretty solid. … A long program is worth a lot of points, and I can certainly deliver some good long programs. I kind of feel like I’m due for a good one.”

If Gold doesn’t improve in the free skate, she could be left off the worlds team for the first time in her senior career. However, Gold believes her strong credentials in recent seasons merit consideration.

“We’ve seen different controversies where people aren’t on the [nationals] podium, and they’re still selected for events,” Gold said. “Michelle Kwan has not gone to nationals and been selected for an Olympic team [in 2006]. I believe that I deserve to be on the world team, but I’m not on the selection committee. Of course, every athlete feels like they should be on the world team.”

Earlier Thursday, the pairs short program produced surprise leaders.

The U.S. Championships continue Friday with the short dance and men’s short program. A full broadcast schedule is here.

MORE: U.S. Figure Skating boss wants Russia out of PyeongChang

Women’s Short Program
1. Karen Chen — 72.82
2. Mirai Nagasu — 71.95
3. Ashley Wagner — 70.94
4. Tessa Hong — 65.02
5. Gracie Gold — 64.85

 

Gwen Jorgensen pregnant, to sit out 2017 triathlon season

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 20: USA's Gwen Jorgensen followed by Switzerland's Nicola Spirig Hug (L) compete in the running portion of the women's triathlon at Fort Copacabana during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 20, 2016.(Photo by Jeff Pachoud-Pool/Getty Images)
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Olympic triathlon champion Gwen Jorgensen is pregnant and will not compete this year.

“Just kind of take this year a little bit easier,” Jorgensen said in a video posted on Facebook on Thursday.

The baby is due Aug. 3, according to Jorgensen’s social media.

Jorgensen, 30, became the first U.S. Olympic triathlon champion in Rio after going in as the heavy favorite. She has said for months that she planned to take time off to have a baby before returning to defend her Olympic title at Tokyo 2020.

Swiss Nicola Spirig, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist and 2016 silver medalist, is reportedly expecting a child in May.

In Jorgensen and Spirig’s absences, the top triathletes going into the season are defending world champion Flora Duffy of Bermuda, U.S. Olympians Katie Zaferes and Sarah True and Britons Vicky Holland and Helen Jenkins.

Jorgensen’s last competition was the New York City Marathon on Nov. 6, when she finished 14th in her first running race longer than 10 miles.

The World Triathlon Series kicks off in Abu Dhabi the first weekend of March.

MORE: Triathlon federation boss wants Olympic races shortened