Sochi Olympic Daily Recap, Medal Count: Day 2

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Russia’s team of figure skaters are the toast of their nation after Day 2 of the 2014 Sochi Olympics. But there were plenty of other stars that shined brightly on Sunday.

We’ll start off at the Iceberg Skating Palace, which rocked with cheers after the Russians – powered by Yevgeny Plushenko and Yulia Lipnitskaya (pictured) – won the inaugural gold medal in the Olympic team figure skating competition. Team USA, led by Meryl Davis and Charlie White’s winning effort in the free dance, earned the bronze…

Attending that competition was Russian president Vladimir Putin, who cheered along with the rest of the crowd inside the Iceberg for their country. Meanwhile, Plushenko, still brash as ever, delivered a short and sweet message to his critics.

The gold was Russia’s first such medal in Sochi, while the U.S. added its second as Jamie Anderson won the women’s title in another new Olympic competition, snowboard slopestyle. The victory completed a U.S. sweep of the new discipline following Sage Kotsenburg’s Saturday triumph on the men’s side…

The slopestyle action took turns that were both humorous and scary. Anna Gasser of Austria had a comical, stumbling start to her first run, while Czech rider Sarka Pancochova took a nasty fall that split her helmet; thankfully, she got up and completed her trek down the course…

Alpine skiing got underway in Sochi with the men’s downhill. Bode Miller of the U.S. was looking like a gold medal contender after several great training days, but ultimately failed to hit the podium. While Miller struggled, Austria’s Matthias Mayer captured the gold ahead of a exuberant silver medalist in Italy’s Christof Innerhofer

MORE: Complete Team USA rundown from Day 2

Felix Loch of Germany won a second consecutive gold in men’s luge, while bronze medalist Armin Zoeggeler of Italy made history by becoming the first Olympian to win six consecutive medals in the same individual event. Finishing with the silver was Russia’s Albert Demtschenko, who earned his second overall Olympic medal…

Also grabbing golds today were Dutch speedskater Ireen Wust in the women’s 3000m, Slovakian biathlete Anastasiya Kuzmina in the women’s sprint, Swiss cross-country skier Dario Cologna in the men’s skiathlon, and Polish ski jumper Kamil Stoch in the men’s normal hill

After taking down Finland in their first contest with Jessie Vetter as goalie, the U.S. women’s hockey team announced that they will put Molly Schaus between the pipes for their next game against the Swiss…

Social media also continued to buzz around the Olympics. Boston Bruins star and Slovakia defenseman Zdeno Chara is becoming a legitimate photo op for his fellow OlympiansThe Twittersphere tried to cheer up Bode Miller after his tough day on the slopes…And the father of U.S. luger Tucker West has fueled the #TeamTucker movement after revealing on TODAY that his son was “very single” and “a little shy.”

MEDAL COUNT – Feb. 9
(Country – Gold/Silver/Bronze – Total Medals)
1. Norway – 2/1/4 – 7
2. Netherlands – 2/1/1 – 4
3. United States – 2/0/2 – 4
T-4. Canada – 1/2/1 – 4
T-4. Russia – 1/2/1 – 4
6. Austria – 1/1/0 – 2
T-7. Germany – 1/0/0 – 1
T-7. Poland – 1/0/0 – 1
T-7. Slovakia – 1/0/0 – 1
T-7. Switzerland – 1/0/0 – 1
11. Sweden – 0/2/0 – 2
T-12. Czech Republic – 0/1/1 – 2
T-12. Italy – 0/1/1 – 2
T-14. Finland – 0/1/0 – 1
T-14. Slovenia – 0/1/0 – 1
T-16. Great Britain – 0/0/1 – 1
T-16. Ukraine – 0/0/1 – 1

Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight

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Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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