Sochi Olympic Daily Recap & Medal Count: Day 10

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It’s mission accomplished for Meryl Davis and Charlie White.

Today, the two Americans brought home their country’s first-ever gold medal in Olympic ice dancing with a captivating free skate that landed them the world records in both free and total scores. Canadian rivals Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir – the pair that beat Davis and White for gold four years ago in Vancouver – finished with the silver this time around in Sochi.

After the victory, they made a classy gesture and hailed Virtue and Moir, with whom they train and also share a coach with.

“We wanted to fight for the best performance we could give and we did that,” White said to the Associated Press. “You dream of this for so long, work so hard, and [Virtue and Moir] worked hard, too. They always have been with us, pushing us, and we couldn’t have done it without them.” …

The other medal for the U.S. on Day 10 of the Sochi Olympics came from somewhere a medal had not come from for 62 long years.

In Vancouver, Steven Holcomb helped give the U.S. its first gold in four-man bobsled since 1948 (also, a span of 62 years). So, naturally, he (along with brakeman Steven Langton) was the one to bring the Americans their first Olympic medal of any kind in two-man bobsled since 1952.

Holcomb and Langton were in third place going into the last two runs and they stayed there to win the bronze despite the driver dealing with a strained calf muscle that required treatment leading up to race time. The gold went to the Russian combo of Aleksandr Zubkov and Alexey Voyevoda…

Belarus pulled off two golds today in the biathlon and in men’s aerials. Darya Domracheva became the first female to win three biathlon golds in a single Winter Olympics by taking the mass start event, while Anton Kushnir completed an aerials sweep for the country after Alla Tsuper won the women’s event…

And in the team ski jumping event, Germany won the gold and gave Austria its first team loss in either the Olympics or world championships since 2005…

Heavy fog this afternoon in Sochi forced the postponement of two medal events to tomorrow – the men’s snowboard cross final and the men’s biathlon mass start

In women’s hockey, the U.S. and Canada won their respective semifinals and will face off for the gold medal on Thursday. The Americans dominated Sweden, 6-1, while the Canadians got three goals in the first period and held on for a 3-1 win over Switzerland

On the men’s side, the playoff times were revealed and things are going to get very busy around lunchtime on Wednesday. The U.S. and Canada will both play their respective quarterfinal games at Noon ET; the U.S. taking on the Czech Republic-Slovakia winner, Canada facing either Switzerland or Latvia…

Out of competition, Norwegian Alpine skiing star Aksel Lund Svindal has exited the Sochi Olympics due to allergies and fatigue according to his coach…

U.S. ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson took over our @NBCOlympics Twitter account

Silver medalist freeskier Gus Kenworthy was all “Holla at me, Miley Cyrus” – and the “Wrecking Ball” singer obliged

Pop crooner Michael Buble gave a thumbs-up to U.S. ice dancers Maia and Alex Shibutani for using his music in yesterday’s short dance…

“Game of Thrones” has handed out a second sigil to a U.S. Olympian during these Games…

The Jamaican bobsled phenomenon has spawned a new tune for the ‘Olympics’ playlist on your iPod…

That pesky snowflake from the Opening Ceremony will be fixed for Sunday’s Closing Ceremony send-off at Fisht Olympic Stadium…

And we took a look back on Sochi: The Story So Far. You can bet we’ll have more memorable moments during this final week.

MEDAL COUNT – Feb. 17
(Country – Gold/Silver/Bronze – Total Medals)

1. Germany – 8/3/2 – 13
2. Russia – 5/7/6 – 18
3. Netherlands – 5/5/7 – 17
4. United States – 5/4/9 – 18
5. Norway – 5/3/7 – 15
6. Switzerland – 5/2/1 – 8
7. Belarus – 5/0/1 – 6
8. Canada – 4/7/4 – 15
9. Poland – 4/0/0 – 4
10. China – 3/2/1 – 6
11. Sweden – 2/5/2 – 9
12. Austria – 2/5/1 – 8
13. France – 2/0/4 – 6
14. Japan – 1/3/2 – 6
15. Czech Republic – 1/3/1 – 5
16. Slovenia – 1/1/3 – 5
17. Korea – 1/1/1 – 3
18. Great Britain – 1/0/1 – 2
19. Slovakia – 1/0/0 – 1
20. Italy – 0/2/3 – 5
21. Australia – 0/2/1 – 3
22. Finland – 0/2/0 – 2
23. Latvia – 0/1/2 – 3
24. Croatia – 0/1/0 – 1
T-25. Kazakhstan – 0/0/1 – 1
T-25. Ukraine – 0/0/1 – 1

Teri McKeever fired by Cal as women’s swimming coach after investigation

Teri McKeever
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Teri McKeever, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Olympic swimming head coach, was fired by the University of California at Berkeley after an investigation into alleged verbal and emotional abuse of swimmers that she denied.

McKeever was put on paid administrative leave from her job as head women’s swimming coach in May after an Orange County Register report that 20 current or former Cal swimmers said McKeever verbally and emotionally bullied her swimmers.

Cal athletics director Jim Knowlton wrote in a letter to the Cal team and staff that a resulting independent law firm report detailed “verbally abusive conduct that is antithetical to our most important values.”

“I strongly believe this is in the best interests of our student-athletes, our swimming program and Cal Athletics as a whole,” Knowlton said of McKeever’s firing in a press release. “The report details numerous violations of university policies that prohibit race, national origin and disability discrimination.”

The Orange County Register first published what it says is the full independent report here.

“I deny and unequivocally refute all conclusions that I abused or bullied any athlete and deny any suggestion I discriminated against any athlete on the basis of race, disability or sexual orientation,” McKeever said in a statement Tuesday confirming her firing and expressing disappointment in how the investigation was conducted. “While I am disappointed in the way my CAL Career will conclude, I wish to thank and celebrate the many student-athletes and staff that made my time in Berkeley a true blessing and gift.”

McKeever’s lawyer wrote that McKeever “will be filing suit to expose the manner in which gender has affected not only the evaluation of her coaching but harmed and continues to harm both female and male athletes.”

McKeever led Cal women’s swimming and diving for nearly 30 years, winning four NCAA team titles and coaching Olympic champions including Missy FranklinNatalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer.

In 2004, she became the first woman to be on a U.S. Olympic swim team coaching staff, as an assistant. In 2012, she became the first woman to be head coach of a U.S. Olympic swim team. She was an assistant again for the Tokyo Games.

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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