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

Diana Taurasi says 2024 Paris Olympics ‘on my radar’

Diana Taurasi
Getty
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Diana Taurasi said immediately after winning her fifth Olympic gold medal in Tokyo that she might try for a record sixth in Paris.

It’s still on her mind 17 months out of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“It’s something that it’s on my radar,” Taurasi told The Associated Press in a phone interview Tuesday after the first day of a USA Basketball training camp in Minnesota, her first national team activity since Tokyo. “I’m still competitive, still driven, still want to play, I still love being a part of USA Basketball.”

Taurasi will be 42 at the time of the Paris Games — older than any previous Olympic basketball player — but said if she’s healthy enough she’d like to give it a go.

“If the opportunity comes to play and be a part of it, it’s something I’ve always taken a lot of pride in,” said Taurasi, who shares the record of five Olympic basketball gold medals with the retired Sue Bird. “When you get to my age at this point in my career, you just try to win every day. Right now this is a good opportunity to be part of this team moving forward we’ll see what happens.”

She said she would have played at the FIBA World Cup last year in Australia, but had a quad strain that kept her out of the end of the WNBA season.

“I got hurt a little bit before. I had a good conversation with Coach (Cheryl) Reeve and (USA Basketball CEO Jim) Tooley. I felt like I hadn’t played enough basketball to be out there and help,” Taurasi said. “That’s the biggest thing with USA Basketball is being able to help the team win.”

Reeve said Monday that when she succeeded Dawn Staley as head coach a few months after Tokyo, she wasn’t sure whether Taurasi would play for the national team again. That was before her conversation with Taurasi.

“I look forward to having a chance to have her be around and be, as I told her, a great voice,” Reeve said. “Obviously, the competitive fire that she competes with is something that we all do well with.”

In Tokyo, Taurasi started all six games and averaged 18.8 minutes per game, sixth-most on the team (fewer than backup guard Chelsea Gray). Her 5.8 points per game were her fewest in her Olympic career, though she was dealing with a hip injury.

Taurasi is an unrestricted free agent although she is expected to return back to Phoenix where she’s spent her entire career since getting drafted No. 1 overall in 2003.

“Phoenix still has things they need to work out,” the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer said.

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Alexis Pinturault wins world championships combined; American in fourth

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France’s Alexis Pinturault won the world Alpine skiing championships combined at his home venue after defending world champion Marco Schwarz blew a lead in the final seconds of his slalom run.

Pinturault, a 31-year-old who hadn’t won a race in nearly two years (the longest drought of his distinguished career), prevailed by one tenth of a second over the Austrian Schwarz in Courchevel, France.

“I hope to enjoy it because it was pretty difficult some months ago,” Pinturault said.

Austrian Raphael Haaser took bronze in an event that combined times from a morning super-G run and an afternoon slalom run, one day after his older sister took bronze in the women’s combined.

River Radamus was fourth, a quarter of a second from becoming the first U.S. man to win an Alpine worlds medal since 2015. Radamus’ best event is the giant slalom, which is scheduled for Feb. 17 at worlds.

“It’s nice, but honestly, you don’t come to world championships hoping to get fourth,” Radamus said.

Five skiers finished within 2.98 seconds of the winner in an event that has been dropped from the annual World Cup schedule and is under review to remain on the Olympic program.

ALPINE WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Pinturault had the fastest super-G run by six hundredths over Schwarz. Schwarz, a slightly better slalom skier than Pinturault, erased that deficit early in the slalom and had a three tenths lead at the last intermediate split.

He gave it all away about six gates from the finish, slamming on the brakes. Moments later, he crossed the finish line one tenth behind Pinturault, who reacted by pumping his fists in the air.

The Frenchman earned his first race victory since the March 2021 World Cup Finals giant slalom, where he clinched his first World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing. Last season, Pinturault went winless on the World Cup for the first time since he was a teenage rookie in 2011, plus went medal-less at the Olympics.

Pinturault, who grew up in Courchevel and now co-owns the family’s five-star Hotel Annapurna there, had retirement cross his mind in the offseason, according to Eurosport. He skipped a pre-worlds Sunday press conference due to illness.

Nonetheless, Pinturault was on the front page of French newspapers this week, including L’Equipe on Tuesday. In a sports cover story for Le Figaro, Pinturault said that, given the circumstances, it would be almost a “nice surprise” to go for a medal at these worlds.

Olympic champion Johannes Strolz of Austria skied out of the slalom after tying for 29th in the super-G.

Olympic silver and bronze medalists Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway and Jack Crawford of Canada were among the speed specialists who did not start the slalom. They essentially used the event as a training run for Thursday’s super-G.

Worlds continue Wednesday with the women’s super-G, where Mikaela Shiffrin is a medal contender but not the favorite. She can tie the modern-era records for individual world championships gold medals (seven) and total medals (12).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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