The most interesting moments from Sochi’s final week

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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.

ADELINA ASCENDS

source: AP
Credit: AP

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.

source: AP
Credit: AP

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:

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Credit: Kellogg Company

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).

source: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

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:

source: AP
Credit: AP

The Sochi bear expressed Russia’s sadness in losing to Finland during the quarterfinals as well as any human, creature or human/creature:

source:
Credit: @Sochi2014

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.

source: AP
Credit: AP

OLE WINNER

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.

source: AP
Credit: AP

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:

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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.

source: AP
Credit: AP

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.

source: AP
Credit: AP

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.

source: AP
Credit: AP

DELICIOUS SLIDERS

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.

source: AP
Credit: AP

VIC VICTORIOUS

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.

source: AP
Credit: AP

WEIRD AND (NON-VIC) WILD STUFF

In the miscellaneous category …

  • The world received a guide to curling at home.

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source: AP
Credit: AP

Chinese swimmer Sun Yang gets rare open hearing in doping case

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The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said Monday it will hear the World Anti-Doping Agency’s case against three-time Olympic gold medalist Sun Yang on Nov. 15 in front of reporters — possibly even live-streamed — at the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace in Montreux, Switzerland.

The hearing won’t be completely open. Registration will be required, and photographers and videographers “will be invited to leave the hearing room after the opening,” CAS said in a statement. But those outside the room may still get a glimpse of the proceedings.

“With the agreement of all parties, it is intended to live stream all or parts of the hearing on the CAS website,” CAS said.

CAS noted that it has only held one prior hearing that wasn’t in a private setting — the 1999 case involving Irish swimmer Michelle Smith de Bruin, who won three gold medals in the 1996 Olympics but was banned for four years for tampering with a urine sample, a case that still prompts soul-searching in the Irish media. De Bruin lost the appeal.

Sun is accused of smashing a vial of blood at a drug test last fall. FINA allowed him to continue to compete, but the WADA has appealed, seeking a substantial suspension.

The Chinese swimmer won two gold medals at the world championships this summer and snubbed by some rivals at each medal ceremony, leading to a confrontation with British swimmer Duncan Scott.

RECAP AND VIDEO: Sun taunts Scott after medal ceremony

Sun has won 11 world individual titles in several freestyle distances but also has a long history of controversies ranging from a prior positive drug test and confrontations with other swimmers.

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U.S. women’s volleyball team ends year with surprise loss to Dominican Republic

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The Dominican Republic surprised the U.S. women’s volleyball team in the final of the NORCECA (North, Central America and Caribbean) women’s continental championship Sunday in San Juan, Puerto Rico, winning the first two sets and regrouping after a U.S. rally to win the fifth set.

The final score of the back-and-forth match: 25-19, 25-23, 15-25, 20-25, 15-9. The U.S. women had defeated the Dominican Republic in three previous finals: 2011, 2013 and 2015. The Dominican Republic won a semifinal matchup on its way to the 2009 title.

In group play, the U.S. team had beaten the Dominican Republic in straight sets. The U.S. also breezed past Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico in group play and swept past Canada in the semifinals.

The loss doesn’t affect Olympic qualification. The U.S. women had already qualified for the 2020 Olympics by winning a qualification tournament in August in Bossier City, La.

MORE: U.S. women rally to qualify

Semifinalists Canada and Puerto Rico qualified for a last-chance Olympic qualifier that the Dominican Republic will host in January. Mexico defeated Cuba in the NORCECA fifth-place game to be the last of the four teams vying for one spot.

The Dominican Republic has had some success in women’s volleyball, finishing fifth in the 2014 world championships and reaching the 2012 Olympic quarterfinals before falling to the U.S. The team also won this year’s Pan Am Games, to which the U.S. did not send its top players. Currently, the team is ranked 10th in the world.

Earlier this year, the U.S. women had defeated the Dominican Republic in two tournament finals — the Pan American Cup and the NORCECA Champions Cup. The U.S. also won a matchup in the World Cup last month, but the Dominican Republic won another five-set match in the Nations League preliminary round in Italy.

The U.S. finishes the year with a 44-7 record in tournament play, including a first-place finish in the Nations League and second place in the World Cup.

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