Sochi Olympic Daily Recap & Medal Count: Day 13

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Team Canada refused to lose. That’s about all you can say after their thrilling 3-2 overtime win over the U.S. for the gold medal in women’s hockey.

The U.S. took a 2-0 lead deep into the third period before Brianne Jenner pulled the Canadians within 2-1 and then Marie-Philip Poulin leveled the game at 2-2 with 55 seconds left in regulation.

At the 8:10 mark in OT and with Canada on a 5-on-3 power play, Poulin fired a quick shot into the net to secure her country’s fourth consecutive Olympic women’s hockey title.

The U.S., now with their second consecutive set of silver medals, will have to wait four more years before its next attempt to win their first gold since Nagano in 1998.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE FULL REPLAY of today’s gold medal game…

The bronze medal game was also a great one, as Switzerland rallied from two goals down against Sweden and held on to win, 4-3, and earn their first-ever women’s hockey medal.

Meanwhile, up in the mountains at Rosa Khutor, an American sweep in a brand-new Olympic discipline – ski halfpipe – was completed as Maddie Bowman won the women’s gold two days following David Wise’s victory in the men’s event.

Bowman, the two-time reigning X Games champion, earned an 89.00 on her second run to help her earn Team USA’s eighth gold in Sochi. It’s the fourth American gold medal in as many days…

Russia also struck gold today and it was a big one. Adelina Sotnikova shocked defending Olympic champion Yuna Kim to become the first Russian to win gold in ladies’ figure skating. The 17-year-old from Moscow earned a stellar 149.95 in her free skate, which pushed her total to 224.59.

Kim was the last woman to skate and she had a great free program herself. But she came up a few points short, earning 144.19 for a total of 219.11.

Italy’s Carolina Kostner held off Gracie Gold of the U.S. for the bronze – which meant the Americans were unable to garner a men’s and women’s individual medal in figure skating for the first time since the 1936 Winter Games in Germany…

Another set of Canadian women earned gold medals of their own today. Jennifer Jones and Co. finished off a perfect 11-0 run in Sochi with a 6-3 win over Sweden in the women’s curling gold medal match. Great Britain won the bronze

Also earning golds were the Norwegian men in the Nordic combined team large hill/4x5km relay and France’s Jean Frederic Chapuis as part of a French medal sweep in men’s skicross

Out of competition, Maria Lamb criticized U.S. Speedskating in the wake of the Americans failing to win a medal in the individual events…

The president of the International Skating Union wonders if some countries are “sleeping” on speedskating as the Dutch dominate

The aforementioned Gracie Gold will be part of the events surrounding this year’s Indianapolis 500

Ted Ligety may need to get some more servers for his company’s website after it went down following his giant slalom win

Steven Holcomb continued to make progress after straining his calf muscle and looked ahead to this weekend’s four-man bobsled competition…

And President Obama now owes Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper some beer.

MEDAL COUNT – Feb. 20
(Country – Gold/Silver/Bronze – Total Medals)

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

Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

Kendall Gretsch
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Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.

She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.

Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.

Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.

Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.

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World champion skier Kyle Smaine dies in avalanche at age 31

Kyle Smaine
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Kyle Smaine, a retired world champion halfpipe skier, died in an avalanche in Japan on Sunday, according to NBC News, citing Smaine’s father. He was 31.

Smaine, a 2015 World champion in ski halfpipe, had been doing ski filming in Japan, sharing videos on his Instagram account over the past week.

The native of South Lake Tahoe, California, finished ninth in ski halfpipe at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.

In 2018, Smaine won the fifth and final U.S. Olympic qualifying series event in ski halfpipe but did not make the four-man team for PyeongChang. His last sanctioned international competition was in February 2018.

Late Sunday, two-time Olympic champion David Wise won the X Games men’s ski halfpipe and dedicated it to Smaine.

“We all did this for Kyle tonight,” Wise said on the broadcast. “It’s a little bit of an emotional day for us. We lost a friend.”