Sochi Olympics Curling Women

U.S. unlikely to win medal count after medal-less Day 15

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On the next-to-last day of the Sochi Olympics, the U.S. finally had its streak of earning at least one medal on each day of medal events snapped.

For those hoping to see the Americans top the medal count, it couldn’t have come at a worse time.

Three medal events are on tap for tomorrow’s final day of competition: Four-man bobsled, the men’s mass start in cross-country skiing, and the men’s hockey gold medal game.

As we saw today, the U.S. men’s hockey squad is heading back home with nothing after losing their bronze medal match with Finland. And the skiing event doesn’t have an American among the true contenders.

That leaves only Steven Holcomb and his team of bobsledders as the last legit chance for the U.S. to get one more piece of hardware. They’re currently .01 of a second off the bronze medal position after today’s first two runs.

But even if Holcomb and Co. get a 28th medal for the U.S., it won’t be enough to overtake Russia, which has 29 medals so far and could land two more tomorrow in bobsled (they’re currently first in the four-man) and in cross-country.

Third in the overall medal count is Norway, which has 26 medals but is tied with the Russians for the most golds with 11. Competitors from both nations are expected to figure heavily into the outcome of tomorrow’s mass start.

Canada is fourth overall with 24 medals, but could take third in the golds outright if their men’s hockey team can defeat Sweden tomorrow morning.

But one figures Canucks from Vancouver to the Maritimes won’t really care all that much about where their country winds up in the medal count; they just want their team to beat the Swedes.

Really, really badly.

MEDAL COUNT – Feb. 22
(Country – Gold/Silver/Bronze – Total Medals)

1. Russia – 11/10/8 – 29
2. Norway – 11/5/10 – 26
3. Canada – 9/10/5 – 24
4. United States – 9/7/11 – 27
5. Netherlands – 8/7/9 – 24
6. Germany – 8/6/5 – 19
7. Switzerland – 6/3/2 – 11
8. Belarus – 5/0/1 – 6
9. Austria – 4/8/5 – 17
10. France – 4/4/7 – 15
11. Poland – 4/1/1 – 6
12. China – 3/4/2 – 9
13. Korea – 3/3/2 – 8
14. Sweden – 2/6/6 – 14
15. Czech Republic – 2/4/2 – 8
16. Slovenia – 2/2/4 – 8
17. Japan – 1/4/3 – 8
18. Finland – 1/3/1 – 5
19. Great Britain – 1/1/2 – 4
20. Ukraine – 1/0/1 – 2
21. Slovakia – 1/0/0 – 1
22. Italy – 0/2/6 – 8
23. Australia – 0/2/1 – 3
24. Latvia – 0/1/2 – 3
25. Croatia – 0/1/0 – 1
26. Kazakhstan – 0/0/1 – 1

Mikaela Shiffrin wrestles with doubt in seconds before World Cup downhill debut

Mikaela Shiffrin, of the United States, skis during the third training run for the World Cup women's downhill ski race in Lake Louise, Alberta, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)
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After a momentary panic in the start house, Mikaela Shiffrin raced to a tie for 18th in the first downhill of her World Cup career in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Shiffrin, the youngest Olympic slalom champion who has also won a World Cup giant slalom, has been slowly adding the speed events of super-G and downhill to her repertoire the last two seasons.

“It wasn’t bad,” Shiffrin said, according to SkiRacing.com. “I certainly didn’t risk anything crazy.”

Her result Friday, 1.99 seconds behind Slovenian winner Ilka Stuhec, came after Shiffrin was 18th, 24th and 30th fastest in downhill training runs the previous three days. Shiffrin also had to wait several minutes in the start house as the racer before her crashed (video here).

“That was just a bummer,” Shiffrin said, according to the Denver Post. “I was like, ‘Just don’t let it affect you,’ but being up there for 10 minutes, like, ‘What happened? What’s taking them so long? What’s going on? Is she hurt?’

“Then I started doubting myself, like my technique going off the jumps, which is actually pretty good. I was going back and forth between, ‘Should I even be doing this? Maybe I just should pull out because I don’t want to kill myself.’ Then I’m like, ‘You’re absolutely fine, you haven’t felt sketched out a single time on this track in the past three days, so stick with that. You don’t have to go crazy.'”

“To be fast in speed there certainly needs to be a certain level of risk, and I know that, but now, if [giant slalom] and slalom are my main priority this season, I don’t need to be going crazy in a downhill with flat light and after I got iced [waiting so long],” Shiffrin said, according to SkiRacing.com.

Stuhec won Friday’s race by .22 of a second over Italian Sofia Goggia. Swede Kajsa Kling was third.

A race replay can be seen here. Full results are here.

Lindsey Vonn, owner of a record 18 wins at Lake Louise, is missing the annual World Cup stop in Alberta due to a broken arm from a November crash. Vonn had raced at Lake Louise each of the previous 15 seasons.

Last season, Shiffrin made her World Cup debut in the super-G at Lake Louise and finished 15th.

The women have another downhill Saturday and a super-G on Sunday in Lake Louise, both streaming live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app (schedule here).

MORE: Vonn eyes January return from her most painful injury

High-speed crash at World Cup downhill in Lake Louise (video)

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Swiss Joana Haehlen crashed into netting at high speed during a World Cup downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Haehlen, 24, lost her right ski after landing from a jump and sped uncontrollably off course. She braced for impact, slammed into red netting and was turned around before landing with neither of her skis still attached.

She lay on the snow while being attended to and eventually skied down the mountain on her own.

It caused a 10-minute delay before the next skier, American Mikaela Shiffrin, could take her run.

VIDEO: Vonn details the most painful injury of her career