GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — Mark Arcobello had a choice between shuttling to and from the minor leagues in North America and taking his talents to Europe.
Arcobello, who went to Europe a year for some stability before the NHL decided not to participate in the Olympics, said he is glad he took the path less traveled because it helped him make the U.S. national team.
“This opportunity kind of solidifies that I made the right decision,” said Arcobello, who spent time with the Edmonton Oilers, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, Arizona Coyotes and Toronto Maple Leafs organizations. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and if I’d still be going up and down between the minors and NHL right now, I’d be probably regretting it and wishing that I had left.”
Arcobello is one of the poster boys for this unpredictable, wide-open Olympic men’s hockey tournament that begins Wednesday with the U.S. against Slovenia and Russia playing Slovakia. Even though current NHL players aren’t taking part, 94 of the 300 Olympians have played at least one NHL game and every country has at least one former player.
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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