If you were asleep anytime between midnight and 6:00a.m. EST in the United States, then it’s fair to say that you probably missed a couple of events in PyeongChang. Here at OlympicTalk, we’ll take you through the evening’s stories and results. Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla won the first gold medal of the Olympic Games, as she cruised in the final four kilometers of the women’s skiathlon. But perhaps the bigger story of that race belongs to the silver medalist: Marit Bjorgen. By reaching the podium in the skiiathlon, the Norwegian has officially become the most successful female Winter Olympian.
Snowboarding: USA’s Gerard emerges as serious contender
It was a big day for Norway and Canada as the two nations continue to dominate the sport. Norway and Canada combine for eight of 12 slopestyle finalists.
In Heat 1, it was all about X Games champion Markus Cleveland as he overcame a poor Heat 1 performance to land atop the standings. He was joined by compatriots Mons Roisland and Torgeir Bergrem.
Heat 2 provided some of the biggest names in the sport with Mark McMorris and Max Parrot of Canada leading the standings. Team USA’s Red Gerard took one step closer to being one of the youngest American Olympic medalists, finishing third. Meanwhile, Belgium’s Seppe Smits barely held onto the final qualification spot.
With the two giants of the sport competing, and with Gerard looking to steal their thunder, the slopestyle final is bound to be dramatic.
Ice Hockey: Sweden hold off Japan
The Japanese women’s ice hockey team proved to be an unexpected challenge for Sweden. This is only the third time that the island nation qualified for the Winter Olympics (1998, 2014), and only scored a single goal in Sochi. Known for being a doormat team for the other competitors, Japan seemed to turn the switch after conceding within the first three minutes of their opening game.
Rather than fold, the Japanese were able to withstand the pressure put on by the Swedes and were eventually able to squeak the puck past GK Sarah Grann late in the second period to draw level. The second intermission gave Sweden an opportunity to regroup following Japan’s sudden pressure, and managed to grab another early goal in the third period off a tight angle by Sarah Hjalmarsson.
Cross Country Skiing: Diggins in fifth as Kalla claims first PyeongChang gold
Norway’s Marit Bjoergen led the field in the first 7.5km of the skiathlon, pushing the pace up through the transition into the ski change. Swede Charlotte Kalla made a bursting move from the pack around the 12km mark, creating a nine second gap between her and the 10 time Olympic medalist. Kalla’s stunning move at the 12km mark proved to be the decisive break that was necessary to defeat the legendary Norwegian skiier, as Kalla won with a time of 40:44:9.
Qualifying continued for the men’s moguls, with Michael Kingsbury cementing his place as the man to beat for the competition.
18 year-old Maame Biney advanced out of her 500m heat with a time of 43.665 seconds. She will be joining Britain’s Elise Christie, who posted a new Olympic Record time of 42.872 seconds.