Sochi Olympic Daily Recap & Medal Count: Day 14

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During these Sochi Olympics, Team Canada supporters have been fond of declaring #WeAreWinter on social media.

Right now, even some of the biggest Team USA diehards must be wondering if they’re actually right.

On Wednesday, Canadians Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse rallied from two-tenths down to beat Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams of the U.S. in women’s bobsled.

On Thursday, the Canadians charged from a two-goal deficit and defeated the U.S. in overtime for their fourth consecutive Olympic title in women’s hockey.

And in today’s men’s hockey semifinal, the Canadians sucked the life out of what had been a potent American offense, only needing a lone goal from Jamie Benn to win, 1-0, and move on to Sunday’s gold medal game against Sweden.

Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, Canada also won a pair of golds today in men’s curling (following their female counterparts’ lead) and women’s ski cross.

Needless to say, it must be pretty fun right now in Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Vancouver, and all other points north of the border…

But U.S. fans still smarting from today’s hockey loss can perhaps take solace in knowing that their country’s much-heralded “future superstar” in Alpine skiing has officially become one in the present.

Mikaela Shiffrin tossed the ninth gold medal into the Americans’ haul at these Games by becoming the youngest Olympic champion, man or woman, in the slalom. It’s the first U.S. victory in the event since Phil Mahre’s in 1984, and the first in the women’s slalom since Barbara Cochran’s in 1972.

Adding to the occasion was that she shared the podium with two of the best in the world in Austria’s Marlies Schild (silver) and Kathrin Zettel (bronze) – who Shiffrin called her greatest idols after the race.

“I modeled myself after them,” the 18-year-old phenom said in a team release. “To be in this moment with them – to share it with my family and friends, my team and my coaches, and everyone who has been in my past and will be in my future, it’s just very special.”

The victory earned her props from American skiing luminaries like Julia Mancuso, Bode Miller, and Picabo Street…

Also having a great day was Russian short track star Victor Ahn, who won not one but two golds this afternoon in the men’s 500m and as part of the men’s 5000m relay. The latter race saw Team USA finally earn a speedskating medal, with anchor J.R. Celski and his crew coming away with the silver…

In biathlon, Ukraine’s women’s relay foursome won gold but did not celebrate as their country continues to deal with violence sparking from anti-government demonstrations. South Korea also got a gold today from Park Seung-Hi in the short track women’s 1000m

Out of competition, the International Skating Union defended its judging system for figure skating after Adelina Sotnikova’s surprise win…

Meanwhile, Sotnikova herself is setting her sights on getting “all the gold that there is” after her Olympic triumph…

Russian president Vladimir Putin told her “the whole Russia is proud of you”

Ashley Wagner of the U.S. called for the end of anonymous figure skating judging after yesterday’s result left her “speechless”…

Former world champion figure skater and NBC Olympics researcher Kimmie Meissner turned the spotlight on bronze medalist Carolina Kostner of Italy

Under Armour announced a new eight-year deal with U.S. Speedskating despite taking criticism for their new suits that debuted in Sochi and were ultimately replaced…

And women’s hockey star Julie Chu has been chosen as the U.S. flagbearer for the Closing Ceremony.

MEDAL COUNT – Feb. 21
(Country – Gold/Silver/Bronze – Total Medals)
1. Norway – 10/4/8 – 22
2. Russia – 9/10/7 – 26
3. Canada – 9/10/5 – 24
4. United States – 9/7/11 – 27
5. Germany – 8/4/4 – 16
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 – 3/4/2 – 9
12. Korea – 3/2/2 – 7
13. Austria – 2/7/3 – 12
14. Sweden – 2/6/6 – 14
15. Czech Republic – 2/4/2 – 8
16. Slovenia – 2/1/4 – 7
17. Japan – 1/4/3 – 8
18. Finland – 1/3/0 – 4
19. Great Britain – 1/1/2 – 4
20. Ukraine – 1/0/1 – 2
21. Slovakia – 1/0/0 – 1
22. Italy – 0/2/6 – 8
23. Australia – 0/2/1 – 3
24. Latvia – 0/1/2 – 3
25. Croatia – 0/1/0 – 1
26. Kazakhstan – 0/0/1 – 1

U.S. women’s basketball team, statistically greatest ever, rolls to FIBA World Cup title

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The revamped U.S. women’s basketball team may have been the greatest of all time.

The Americans completed, statistically, their most dominant global championship ever by routing China 83-61 in the FIBA World Cup final on Saturday in Sydney — giving them 60 consecutive wins between the Olympics and worlds dating to 2006.

It marked the largest margin of victory in a World Cup final since the event converted from a fully round-robin format in 1983.

For the tournament, the U.S. drubbed its opponents by an average of 40.75 points per game, beating its previous record between the Olympics and worlds of 37.625 points from the 2008 Beijing Games. It was just off the 1992 U.S. Olympic men’s Dream Team’s legendary margin 43.8 points per game. This U.S. team scored 98.75 points per game, its largest at worlds since 1994.

“We came here on a mission, a business trip,” tournament MVP A’ja Wilson said in a post-game press conference before turning to coach Cheryl Reeve. “We played pretty good, I think, coach.”

Since the U.S. won a seventh consecutive Olympic title in Tokyo, Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles retired. Tina Charles ceded her national team spot to younger players. Brittney Griner was detained in Russia (and still is). Diana Taurasi suffered a WNBA season-ending quad injury that ruled her out of World Cup participation (who knows if the 40-year-old Taurasi will play for the U.S. again).

Not only that, but Reeve of the Minnesota Lynx succeeded Dawn Staley as head coach, implementing a new up-tempo system.

“There was probably great concern, and maybe around the world they kind of looked at it and said, ‘Hey, now is the time to get the USA,'” Reeve said Saturday.

The U.S. response was encapsulated by power forward Alyssa Thomas, the oldest player on the roster at age 30 who made the U.S. team for the first time in her career, started every game and was called the team’s glue and MVP going into the final.

Wilson and Tokyo Olympic MVP Breanna Stewart were the leaders. Guard Kelsey Plum, a Tokyo Olympic 3×3 player, blossomed this past WNBA season and was third in the league’s MVP voting. She averaged the most minutes on the team, scored 15.8 points per game and had 17 in the final.

“The depth of talent that we have was on display,” Reeve said. “What I am most pleased about was the trust and buy-in.”

For the first time since 1994, no player on the U.S. roster was over the age of 30, creating a scary thought for the 2024 Paris Olympics: the Americans could get even better.

“When you say best-ever, I’m always really cautious with that, because, obviously, there are great teams,” Reeve said when asked specifically about the team’s defense. “This group was really hard to play against.”

Earlier Saturday, 41-year-old Australian legend Lauren Jackson turned back the clock with a 30-point performance off the bench in her final game as an Opal, a 95-65 victory over Canada for the bronze. Jackson, who came out of a six-year retirement and played her first major tournament since the 2012 Olympics, had her best scoring performance since the 2008 Olympics.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. women’s basketball team won its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headlined a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, included neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team had nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 60 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The U.S. beat China in the final, while host Australia took bronze to send 41-year-old Lauren Jackson into retirement.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), wasn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule, Results

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France 74, Mali 59 Group B
4 a.m. Australia 69, Serbia 54 Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada 70, Japan 56 Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium 85, Bosnia and Herzegovina 55 Group A
11:30 p.m. Serbia 81, Mali 68 Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA 145, South Korea 69 Group A
2 a.m. France 67, Japan 53 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 95, Puerto Rico 60 Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia 75, Canada 72 Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 92, South Korea 73 Group A
11:30 p.m. China 81, Belgium 55 Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA 121, Bosnia and Herzegovina 59 Group A
2 a.m. Canada 88, Mali 65 Group B
3:30 a.m. Serbia 68, France 62 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 71, Japan 54 Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. USA 88, Serbia 55 Quarterfinals
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Canada 79, Puerto Rico 60 Quarterfinals
4 a.m. China 85, France 71 Quarterfinals
6:30 a.m. Australia 86, Belgium 69 Quarterfinals
Fri., Sept. 30 3 a.m. USA 83, Canada 43 Semifinals
5:30 a.m. China 61, Australia 59 Semifinals
11 p.m. Australia 95, Canada 65 Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. USA 83, China 61 Gold-Medal Game