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

Jamaican bobsledders want to return to the Olympics, so they’re pushing a Mini Cooper

Jamaica Bobsled
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The Jamaican bobsled team’s push for the next Winter Olympics took a detour to the roads of Great Britain.

Numerous British media outlets reported in the last week on Shanwayne Stephens and Nimroy Turgott, who have been pushing cars, including a Mini Cooper, in Peterborough.

“We had to come up with our own ways of replicating the sort of pushing we need to do [in bobsledding amid the coronavirus pandemic],” Stephens, a reported British resident since age 11, said, according to Reuters. “So that’s why we thought: why not go out and push the car?

“We do get some funny looks. We’ve had people run over, thinking the car’s broken down, trying to help us bump-start the car. When we tell them we’re the Jamaica bobsleigh team, the direction is totally different, and they’re very excited.”

The Jamaican bobsled team rose to fame with its Olympic debut at the 1988 Calgary Winter Games, inspiring the 1993 Disney film, “Cool Runnings.” At least one Jamaican men’s sled competed in every Olympics from 1988 through 2002, then again in 2014, with a best finish of 14th.

A Jamaican women’s sled debuted at the Olympics in 2018, driven by 2014 U.S. Olympian Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian. A Jamaican men’s sled just missed qualifying for PyeongChang by one spot in world rankings.

Stephens, a driver, is 51st and 56th in the current world rankings for the four-person and two-man events, respectively.

He competed in lower-level international races last season with a best finish of sixth in a four-person race that had seven sleds. One of Stephens’ push athletes was Carrie Russell, a 2018 Olympian in the two-woman event and former sprinter who won a world title in the 4x100m in 2013.

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MORE: Sam Clayton, Jamaica’s first bobsled driver, was ‘a pioneer of pioneers’

Lance Armstrong, Jan Ullrich and a Tour de France rivalry that brought tears

Lance Armstrong, Jan Ullrich
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Lance Armstrong reportedly breaks down into tears in Sunday’s second episode of his ESPN documentary, discussing his closest rival during his run of seven Tour de France titles, all later stripped for doping.

Armstrong visited Jan Ullrich in Germany in 2018, after Ullrich was released from a psychiatric hospital following multiple reported arrests over assault charges.

“The reason I went to see him is I love him,” Armstrong said, followed by tears, according to reports. “It was not a good trip. He was the most important person in my life.”

Ullrich struggled with reported substance abuse, saying in a 2018 letter in German newspaper Bild that he detoxed in a Miami facility and that he had “an illness.”

Ullrich, after winning the 1997 Tour de France, finished second to Armstrong in 2000, 2001 and 2003.

He retired in 2007. In 2013, he admitted to doping during his career (which had been widely assumed), five months after Armstrong confessed in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

“Nobody scared me, motivated me. The other guys … no disrespect to them, didn’t get me up early,” Armstrong said in the ESPN film, according to Cycling Weekly. “He got me up early. And [in 2018] he was just a f—ing mess.”

Armstrong and Ullrich’s most notable Tour de France interactions: In Stage 10 in 2001, on the iconic Alpe d’Huez, Armstrong gave what came to be known as “The Look,” turning back to stare in sunglasses at Ullrich, then accelerating away to win the stage by 1:59.

In Stage 15 in 2003, Armstrong’s handlebars caught a spectator’s yellow bag. He crashed to the pavement. Ullrich and others slowed to allow Armstrong to remount and catch up. Armstrong won the stage, upping his lead from 15 seconds to 1:07, eventually winning the Tour by 1:01, by far the closest of his seven titles (again, all later stripped).

For Armstrong, Ullrich began transforming from rival to friend in 2005. After Armstrong won his last (later stripped) Tour de France that July, he was told Ullrich wanted to show up at Armstrong’s victory party in a luxury Paris hotel. Ullrich wanted to say a few words in front of hundreds of Armstrong supporters.

“If you know Jan, you know that his English is not great,” Armstrong said in a 2017 episode of one of his podcasts. “I’m just going, no, this can’t be happening. This is not real. Jan showed up and took the mic and gave a speech and talked about me and talked about us. It was the classiest thing that anybody ever did for me in my cycling career. I’ll never forget it. I love him for it.

“I wasn’t man enough to do that. If the roles were reversed, there’s no way I would have done that. But for him to do that, that’s something that I’ll never forget the rest of my life.”

In 2017, Armstrong was upset that Ullrich wasn’t invited to appear at the Tour de France’s opening stages, held in Germany that year. In 2013, when Ullrich fessed up to doping, he said of his chief rival and fellow cheater, “I am no better than Armstrong, but no worse either.”

Ullrich (and other dopers) kept his Tour de France title, a fact that Armstrong has brought up in interviews since his confession. Ullrich was reportedly asked in 2016 by CyclingTips if he considered Armstrong a seven-time Tour de France champion.

“This is a hard question,” he said, according to the report. “It’s not good, that in all those years, you have no winner. It’s not good for history, it’s not good for the Tour de France. I have heard all the stories about Lance. It’s a hard question. I don’t know the answer. I’m not the judge. But for the history of the Tour de France, it’s not good that there is no winner.”

TIMELINE: Lance Armstrong’s rise and fall

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