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USA women’s cross-country ready to rise from rock bottom

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – Kikkan Randall remembers rock bottom.

It came in the 4x5km relay at the 2005 World Nordic Ski Championships in Oberstdorf, Germany, detailed in “World Class: The Making of the U.S. Women’s Cross-Country Ski Team.”

The U.S. was in last place of 15 nations after the first leg, nearly three minutes behind the leaders. The team’s second leg, skiing with a reported respiratory infection, wasn’t much faster.

Randall never got the tag to ski her anchor leg.

“We were pulled out of the race because we were about to be lapped,” Randall said last year.

The U.S. women’s cross-country team, after a decade-long climb from an international afterthought, will ski for its first Olympic medal Saturday in the 4x5km relay. If they don’t get it there, another chance in the two-woman team sprint comes four days later.

Americans had outside medal hopes in the first three individual events here this week – the 15km skiathlon, the classic sprint and the 10km freestyle – and recorded decent finishes.

Jessie Diggins had two fifths and a sixth, missing a medal in Thursday’s 10km freestyle by 3.3 seconds.

She split three seconds faster than joint bronze medalist Marit Bjorgen at 9.3 kilometers, but Diggins “completely locked up” on a climb in the last half-mile.

Click here to read the rest of the story and catch up on the rest of cross-country around PyeongChang

USA wins gold in men’s curling

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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 

Ester Ledecka first woman to win gold in two sports at same Winter Olympics

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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