GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — The “Miracle On Ice” was a Minnesota production.
If the U.S. pulls off another Olympic miracle, it would be a nationwide effort.
When the 1980 U.S. hockey team made up of college kids shocked the favored Soviet Union on the way to winning the gold medal, 13 players came from Minnesota, four from Massachusetts, two from Michigan and one from Wisconsin. The 2018 team couldn’t be constructed more differently with players from 12 different states and leagues all over the world, though it has the same underdog approach from careers of being discounted and passed over.
“We’re trying to prove some doubters wrong,” goaltender Ryan Zapolski said. “We’ve all had pretty successful pro careers, I think, but we still have doubters, for sure. And I think that’s a motivation for us. We’ve been overlooked pretty much our whole careers, much of us, so just in the back of our minds we still think of those times where people didn’t give us the right chances and have this opportunity now to kind of take advantage of that.”
For the first time in history, the United States won the Olympic gold medal in curling.
A week ago, it didn’t seem like that would happen. Sitting at 2-4 and with a game against behemoth Canada coming up, John Shuster captained the United States to three consecutive wins (over Canada, Switzerland, and Great Britain) to squeak into the semifinals. From there, they took down Great Britain before completing the run against Sweden in the gold medal game.
Tied at 5-5 in the eighth end, Shuster was able to hit both of Sweden’s rocks out of the house, giving the United States an incredible five points and a 10-5 lead heading into the ninth.
NBCOlympics.com: Watch: Team USA scores five points in eighth end
After that, it was all about protecting the lead. Just a few minutes later Swedish skip Niklas Edin conceded the game, and it was the United States standing on top of the podium for the first time ever in the sport of curling.
Click here to read the full recap from the gold medal game
One week after shocking the world by winning a gold medal in Alpine skiing, Ester Ledecka of the Czech Republic strapped back into a snowboard and won a gold medal in her primary sport.
Ledecka, the No. 1 ranked athlete in women’s parallel giant slalom snowboarding, qualified for the finals of that event with the fastest time, then won four consecutive head-to-head races to claim her second gold medal of the PyeongChang Olympics.
With the win, Ledecka is the first woman to win gold medals in two different sports at the same Winter Olympics.
Results: Women’s Parallel Giant Slalom
Gold: Ester Ledecka (CZE)
Silver: Selina Joerg (GER)
Bronze: Ramona Hofmeister (GER)
4. Alena Zavarzina (OAR)
5. Benjamin Karl (AUT)
6. Stefan Baumeister (GER)
7. Roland Fischnaller (ITA)
8. Edwin Coratti (ITA)
Click here to catch up on all of the snowboarding action from PyeongChang