Sochi Olympic Daily Recap & Medal Count: Day 6


The U.S. finally got a Sochi Olympic gold medal outside of snowboarding, and it came as part of a medals sweep in the inaugural men’s ski slopestyle competition.

Joss Christensen (gold), Gus Kenworthy (silver), and Nick Goepper (bronze) became the third American trio to pull that feat off in a Winter Olympics, joining those from the 1956 men’s figure skating and 2002 men’s snowboard halfpipe podiums. After the event, Christensen dedicated the win to his late father, saying to’s Nick Zaccardi:  “I hope I made him proud.”…

While the Americans continued their Sochi slopestyle surge, the world of figure skating said a dramatic goodbye to Yevgeny Plushenko, who withdrew from the men’s competition after suffering an apparent injury in warmups before today’s short program and then retired shortly afterwards.

Plushenko was both loved and hated but he was impossible to ignore, and his departure marks the end of an era. But the show went on and it was quite a show indeed.

MORE: Complete recap of Team USA on Day 6

After U.S. skater Jeremy Abbott showed what he’s made of after a hard fall on his opening jump, Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu earned a world-record score to take the lead going into tomorrow’s free skate. Jason Brown of the U.S., making his Olympic debut in Sochi, put on a solid program and placed sixth to put himself in medal contention…

French biathlete Martin Fourcade earned his second Sochi gold in the 20km individual, while Ole Einar Bjoerndalen finished 34th in his second attempt to become the most decorated Winter Olympian ever in these Olympics. The race also saw Team USA’s Lowell Bailey finish eighth, the best-ever individual result at the Olympics by a U.S. biathlete

The U.S. speedskaters had another trying day at Adler Arena, with Heather Richardson and Brittany Bowe both unable to medal in the women’s 1000m, a race won by China’s Zhang Hong…

China also got a gold today in short track as Li Jianrou won the women’s 500m after teammate and event favorite Fan Kexin crashed out in the semifinals…

Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland overcame a broken foot to win the women’s cross-country 10km classic, and the all-conquering German lugers won the first-ever team relay event at the Sanki Sliding Center…

The U.S. and Canadian men’s hockey teams both began their Sochi programs with wins, as the Americans thrashed Slovakia and Team Canada topped Norway. Host nation Russia also got a win over Slovenia in front of a red-hot crowd and Finland scored a whopping eight goals in their win over Austria…

American hopefuls Noelle Pikus-Pace and Katie Uhlaender are firmly in the medal conversation after the first of two days in women’s skeleton…

Out of competition, officials are still trying to figure out how a track worker at Sanki Sliding Center was hit by a forerunner sled prior to training runs this afternoon…

The aforementioned Mr. Kenworthy is trying to adopt and bring home a group of stray puppies and their mother, who have been living by an Olympics media center (yes, there are photos of the cuddly pooches in the link)…

Fans and athletes alike have been working around the relatively warm temperatures in Sochi…

The slopestyle set aren’t all that bothered by their falling pants

Two-time Olympian/NBC Olympics figure skating analyst Johnny Weir shows off some of his fashion ensembles

And new halfpipe champion Kaitlyn Farrington got a sigil from the “Game of Thrones” gang.

(Country – Gold/Silver/Bronze – Total Medals)
1. Germany – 7/2/1 – 10
2. Canada – 4/4/2 – 10
3. Norway – 4/3/6 – 13
4. Netherlands – 4/3/5 – 12
5. United States – 4/2/6 – 12
6. Switzerland – 3/0/1 – 4
7. Russia – 2/5/4 – 11
8. China – 2/1/0 – 3
9. France – 2/0/2 – 4
10. Poland – 2/0/0 – 2
11. Austria – 1/4/0 – 5
12. Slovenia – 1/1/2 – 4
13. Korea – 1/0/1 – 2
T-14. Belarus – 1/0/0 – 1
T-14. Slovakia – 1/0/0 – 1
16. Sweden – 0/4/1 – 5
T-17. Czech Republic – 0/2/1 – 3
T-17. Italy – 0/2/1 – 3
T-17. Japan – 0/2/1 – 3
T-20. Australia – 0/1/0 – 1
T-20. Finland – 0/1/0 – 1
22. Latvia – 0/0/2 – 2
T-23. Great Britain – 0/0/1 – 1
T-23. Ukraine – 0/0/1 – 1

Noah Lyles runs personal best and is coming for Usain Bolt’s world record


Noah Lyles ran a personal-best time in the 60m on Saturday, then reaffirmed record-breaking intentions for the 100m and, especially, the 200m, where Usain Bolt holds the fastest times in history.

Lyles, the world 200m champion, won the 60m sprint in 6.51 seconds at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston, clipping Trayvon Bromell by two thousandths in his first top-level meet of the year. Bromell, the world 100m bronze medalist, is a past world indoor 60m champion and has a better start than Lyles, which is crucial in a six-second race.

But on Saturday, Lyles ran down Bromell and shaved four hundredths off his personal best. It bodes well for Lyles’ prospects come the spring and summer outdoor season in his better distances — the 100m and 200m.

“This is the moment I’ve been working, like, seven years for,” he said. “We’re not just coming for the 200m world record. We’re coming for all the world records.”

Last July, Lyles broke Michael Johnson‘s 26-year-old American record in the 200m, winning the world title in 19.31 seconds. Only Bolt (19.19) and fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake (19.26) have run faster.

Lyles has since spoken openly about targeting Bolt’s world record from 2009.

How does an indoor 60m time play into that? Well, Lyles said that his success last year sprung from a strong indoor season, when he lowered his personal best in the 60m from 6.57 to 6.56 and then 6.55. He followed that by lowering his personal best in the 200m from 19.50 to 19.31.

He believes that slicing an even greater chunk off his 60m best on Saturday means special things are on the horizon come the major summer meets — the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in July (on the same Oregon track where he ran the American 200m record) and the world championships in Budapest in August.

After focusing on the 200m last year, Lyles plans to race both the 100m and the 200m this year. He has a bye into the 200m at world championships, so expect him to race the 100m at USATF Outdoors, where the top three are in line to join world champ Fred Kerley on the world team.

Lyles’ personal best in the 100m is 9.86, a tenth off the best times from Kerley, Bromell and 2019 World 100m champ Christian Coleman. Bolt is in his own tier at 9.58.

Also Saturday, Grant Holloway extended a near-nine-year, 50-plus-race win streak in the 60m hurdles, clocking 7.38 seconds, nine hundredths off his world record. Olympic teammate Daniel Roberts was second in 7.46. Trey Cunningham, who took silver behind Holloway in the 110m hurdles at last July’s world outdoor championships, was fifth in 7.67.

Aleia Hobbs won the women’s 60m in 7.02 seconds, one week after clocking a personal-best 6.98 to become the third-fastest American in history after Gail Devers and Marion Jones (both 6.95). Hobbs, 26, placed sixth in the 100m at last July’s world championships.

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, the Olympic and world 400m hurdles champion competing for the first time since August, and Jamaican Shericka Jackson, the world 200m champion, were ninth and 10th in the 60m heats, just missing the eight-woman final.

In the women’s pole vault, Bridget Williams, seventh at last year’s USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, upset the last two Olympic champions — American Katie Moon and Greek Katerina Stefanidi. Williams won with a 4.63-meter clearance (and then cleared 4.71 and a personal-best 4.77). Stefanidi missed three attempts at 4.63, while Moon went out at 4.55.

The indoor track and field season continues with the Millrose Games in New York City next Saturday at 4 p.m. ET on NBC,, the NBC Sports app and Peacock.

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Birk Irving, last man on Olympic team, extends breakout season with Mammoth win


One year ago, Birk Irving was the last man to make the four-man U.S. Olympic ski halfpipe team. Since, he continued to climb the ranks in arguably the nation’s strongest discipline across skiing and snowboarding.

Irving earned his second World Cup win this season, taking the U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain, California, on Friday.

Irving posted a 94-point final run, edging Canadian Brendan Mackay by one point. David Wise, the two-time Olympic champion who won his fifth X Games Aspen title last Sunday, was third.

A tribute was held to 2015 World champion Kyle Smaine, a U.S. halfpipe skier who died in an avalanche in Japan last Sunday.

“We’re all skiing the best we have because we’re all skiing with Kyle in our hearts,” Irving said, according to U.S. Ski and Snowboard. “We’re skiing for him, and we know he’s looking down on us. We miss you Kyle. We love you. Thank you for keeping us safe in the pipe today.”

Irving also won the U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, Colorado, on Dec. 17. Plus, the 23-year-old from Colorado had his best career X Games Aspen finish last Sunday, taking second.

The next major event is the world championships in Georgia (the country, not the state) in early March. Irving was third at the last worlds in 2021, then fifth at the Olympics last February.

The U.S. has been the strongest nation in men’s ski halfpipe since it debuted at the Olympics in 2014. Wise won the first two gold medals. Alex Ferreira won silver and bronze at the last two Olympics. Aaron Blunck is a world champion and X Games champion.

Irving is younger than all of them and has beaten all of them at multiple competitions this season.

New Zealand’s Nico Porteous, the reigning Olympic gold medalist, hasn’t competed since the Games after undergoing offseason knee surgery.

In snowboarding events at Mammoth, Americans Julia Marino and Lyon Farrell earned slopestyle wins by posting the top qualification scores. The finals were canceled due to wind.

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