The final week of the Sochi Olympics provided another wave of triumphs, disappointments and astounding athletic achievements … along with more than a few controversial moments. Let’s take a photo-heavy tour through some of the biggest (and oddest) stories from the second week.
For a similar stroll through the first week, click here.
Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova won a surprising gold medal in figure skating over South Korea’s Yuna Kim a day after the host city’s men’s hockey debacle. Understatement: many disagreed with the judges.
Kim announced her retirement shortly after settling for silver.
DAVIS AND WHITE WIN GOLD
Naturally, there was controversy from Canada’s silver side via Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue – including about a coach they shared with the gold winners – but Meryl Davis and Charlie White delivered on significant hype to give the U.S. ice dancing gold for the first time in history. They even got the Kellogg’s Corn Flakes treatment:
CANADA DOMINATES ON ICE
Yes, there were some figure skating letdowns for the Great White North, but Canada finished incredibly strong in other ice sports. Canada won all four possible medals in ice hockey and curling, culminating with a 3-0 win for the men’s hockey team against Sweden (it’s worth noting that the women’s game was easily more dramatic and ranks as one of the most thrilling contests in all of the Olympics).
DISAPPOINTMENT FOR OTHER HOCKEY POWERS
The happiest U.S. men’s hockey image probably came when the Sochi bear was hovering over their oblivious bench. They fell to Canada in the semifinals and were embarrassed by Finland in the bronze-medal game, leading to several sad Patrick Kane sightings:
The Sochi bear expressed Russia’s sadness in losing to Finland during the quarterfinals as well as any human, creature or human/creature:
At least the bear had fun during the Canada gold game, oddly enough.
RUSSIA HITS 33
Maybe the bear was just excited by the bigger picture victory? Russia won the most gold medals at 13 and the most overall medals at 33.
Is Norway’s Ole Einar Bjoerndalen the greatest all-time Olympian? It became increasingly reasonable to ask that question as things progressed in Sochi as Bjoerndalen broke the Winter Games record with his 13th overall and tied the all-time mark for golds with eight.
Belorussian Darya Domracheva won three biathlon golds in Sochi on the women’s side.
REMEMBERING SARAH BURKE
Maddie Bowman (U.S.) won gold in the first-ever women’s ski halfpipe event, but the late Sarah Burke was clearly on everyone’s mind. They paid tribute to her in a variety of ways, including spreading her ashes at the Sochi course and this visual display:
SHIFFRIN TAKES THE STAGE
Mikaela Shiffrin became the youngest person to win gold in the slalom when the 18-year-old took the top mark for the U.S. The sense is that she’s just beginning her star turn, and she certainly fed into that feeling by sharing her dream of five golds in 2018.
LIGETY GETS IT, BODE BOWS OUT
One could look at the three biggest names in United States’ skiing as the three phases of a career. Shiffrin represents the promising beginning while Bode Miller grabbed a swansong bronze. Ted Ligety might represent the middle or “prime,” as he shredded his way to slalom gold.
DUTCH DOMINATE WHILE THE U.S. SINKS IN SPEED SKATING
While the Netherlands put together a stunning run in speed skating, the U.S. struggled on tracks both short and long. It makes you wonder what’s next for the fledgling program. To be fair, the rest of the world seems stumped regarding how to keep up with the Dutch, too.
While they didn’t win gold, the U.S. fared much better in sliding sports. Along with Noelle Pikus-Pace’s skeleton silver from last week, the United States managed three bronze and one silver medal between the men and women in the bobsled. Men’s bobsledders Steven Holcomb and Steve Langdon were the only U.S. Olympians to gain multiple individual medals in Sochi.
American-born snowboarder Vic Wild competed for Russia and made some history in the process, as he became the first snowboarder to win two gold medals in the same Olympics. Wild grabbed gold in the men’s parallel slalom and parallel giant slalom this week.
WEIRD AND (NON-VIC) WILD STUFF
In the miscellaneous category …
- Miley Cyrus became a fan of U.S. freeskier Gus Kenworthy:
- The world received a guide to curling at home.
- Characters like Sage Kotsenburg and Kate Hansen stayed relevant, with Kotsenburg chronicling his dream of bacon medals.
- Nick Goepper considered dating requests.
- There were more violent crashes and falls, with Canadian bobsledders somehow avoiding major injuries in another scary spill.
- And, finally, there were onesies.