PHOTOS & VIDEOS
Let the Games Begin
Fireworks explode over Fisht Olympic Stadium, in Sochi, Russia, as the Olympic flame is lit during the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, on February 7. The event kicks off two weeks of competition. Click through this slide show to see updated sports highlights from the Games.
Nothing But Air
U.S. snowboarder Jamie Anderson soars during the women’s slopestyle final at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on February 9. She became the first woman to win gold in the debut Olympic event. Sage Kotsenburg, also on Team U.S.A., won the debut men’s slopestyle event on February 8.
Gold for the Home Team
The Russian figure skating team celebrates a gold-medal win during the mixed team medal ceremony at the Sochi Medals Plaza in Olympic Park on February 10. This was the first time a team medal event was held in Olympic figure skating—and the first gold medal of the Sochi Games for host country Russia. Veteran Olympic skater Evgeni Plushenko (second from far left) and newcomer Julia Lipnitskaia (far left) helped secure gold for the team.
A Decorated Skier
Team U.S.A. skier Julia Mancuso poses with the American flag and her skis after a flower ceremony at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on February 10. Mancuso had just won bronze in the women’s super combined event, making it her fourth career Olympic medal. No other American skier has won more than two medals in the Alpine events.
Speed Skate Sweep
Gold medalist speed skater Michael Mulder (right) hugs his twin brother, Ronald Mulder (left), who finished third, during the flower ceremony after the men’s 500-meter final at Adler Arena Skating Center on February 10. Michael Mulder beat silver medalist Jan Smeekens by 12-thousandths of a second. All three medal-winners are competing for the Netherlands.
Passing the Torch
American snowboarder Shaun White (right) congratulates Iouri Podladtchikov of Switzerland, who won the Olympic halfpipe final on February 11. Podladtchikov, nicknamed I-Pod, secured gold on his second run, when he landed his signature trick, the Yolo. It includes two head-over-heels flips and two 360-degree turns. White, the sport's biggest star, had hoped to win the halfpipe event for the third Olympic Games in a row, but he didn't medal. White finished fourth in the event, behind silver medalist Ayumu Hirano and bronze medalist Taku Hiraoka, both from Japan.
Hamlin Makes History
Erin Hamlin of Team U.S.A. competes in the women's luge singles final at the Sanki Sliding Center on February 11. Hamlin won bronze in the event, becoming the first American ever to medal in a singles luge event since it debuted at the Games 50 years ago. German teammates Natalie Geisenberger and Tatjana Huefner finished first and second, respectively.
Women's Time to Jump
Skier Carina Vogt of Germany jumps during the women's normal hill individual event at the RusSki Gorki Ski Jumping Center on February 11. Vogt walked away with a historic gold medal—the first ever given in the debut women's ski jumping event. Austria's Daniela Iraschko-Stolz won silver and Colin Mattel of France took bronze.
Gold Medal Club
Snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington competes in the women's halfpipe final at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on February 12. Farrington beat defending champion Tora Bright of Australia for the gold medal. Bright, who won the event at the 2010 Games, was awarded silver. American Kelly Clark, who came in first in the event at the 2002 Games, took bronze. "We’re the gold medal club," Clark said, as reported by the Associated Press. "We’ve all got one of these now. Well done, ladies."
Germany Leads in Luge
The German luge team of (from left to right) Tobias Wendl, Felix Loch, Natalie Geisenberger, and Tobias Arlt celebrate winning gold in the debut luge team relay event at the Sanki Sliding Center on February 13. The team finished their run in 2 minutes, 45.649 seconds, beating the Russian team by just over a second. Russia took silver, while Latvia won bronze. Individually, Loch also won the men's singles title, Geisenberger the women's, and Wendl and Arlt in the doubles competition. The team victory marks Germany's 31st Olympic gold medal in luge.
Left to right: Silver medalist Gus Kenworthy, gold medalist Joss Christensen, and bronze medalist Nick Goepper—all from Team U.S.A.—pose during the debut Men's Freestyle Skiing Slopestyle medal ceremony at the Sochi Medals Plaza on February 13. It was only the third time a trio of U.S. athletes swept a Winter Olympics podium. “We couldn’t have asked for a better way to debut this sport to the world,” Goepper said, according to the Associated Press.
A Skating Surprise
Stefan Groothuis of the Netherlands races around the track in the Men's 1000-meter Speed Skating event on February 12. Groothuis took home gold in the event. American Shani Davis, who was expected to take a spot on the podium, finished in a crushing eighth place. Davis had been looking to medal in the event for the third time. "I have to live with this for the rest of my life," he said following the loss, according to the Associated Press.
A Sad Goodbye
Evgeny Plyushchenko of Russia waves to fans as he withdraws from the Men's Figure Skating Short Program on February 13. Plyushchenko was seeking a record fifth medal to become the most decorated figure skater in history. But during warm-ups, he injured his back while attempting a triple axel. "This is [the] end of my career," Plyushchenko told NBC Sports. "I tried to make [it my] best."
Fighting for Gold
Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan performs during the men’s free skate program on February 14. Though he fell twice, a strong lead from the short program helped Hanyu win the men’s figure skating gold. It was the first-ever Olympic gold medal in the event for Japan. Patrick Chan of Canada took silver, while Kazakhstan’s Denis Ten won bronze.
Sledder Noelle Pikus-Pace of the U.S. jumps for joy on the medal podium after winning silver in the women’s skeleton event on February 14, as gold medalist Elizabeth Yarnold watches. Pikus-Pace has a lot to celebrate. She had retired from the sport after the 2010 Olympics, where she missed getting a medal by one-tenth of a second. But she decided to return in 2012 to take one last shot at an Olympic medal. Russia’s Elena Nikitina earned bronze.
T.J. Oshie of Team U.S.A. makes the game-winning shot on Sergei Bobrovsky of Russia during the U.S.’s shootout win at the Bolshoy Ice Dome arena on February 15. Oshie scored four times during the eight-round shootout of an intense ice hockey game between the rival teams. The teams could meet again in Sochi during the gold- or bronze-medal match.
Alexander Tretiakov of Russia starts a run at the men's skeleton final on February 15 at the Sanki Sliding Center—a track he’s trained on more than anyone else. The slider, nicknamed the Russian Rocket, won gold well ahead of Latvia’s Martins Dukurs. Bukurs settled for silver for his second straight Games, while American Matt Antoine won bronze.
Cross-country skier Charlotte Kalla of Sweden celebrates winning gold in the women's 4 x 5-kilometer relay on February 15. When Kalla started the final leg of the relay, the two leaders were 25 seconds ahead. She erased their lead and won a three-way sprint to the finish to give her country its first gold medal of the Sochi Games. Another Swedish skier, Lars Nelson, took gold in the men’s 4x10-kilometer relay the next day, making his country the first in 42 years to win both men’s and women’s team events in the same Winter Games.
American skier Bode Miller passes a gate in the men's super-G race on February 16. Miller tied for third with Canada’s Jan Hudec. The bronze was Miller’s sixth career Olympic medal. Kjetil Jansrud won Norway its fourth straight Olympic super-G gold medal. American skier Andrew Weibrecht took silver.
Warmed-Up Winter Games
Cross-country skier Chris Andre Jespersen of Norway competes in the men’s 15-kilometer classic event wearing shorts and short-sleeved shirts on February 14. Russia’s Caucasus Mountains, above Sochi, saw temperatures in the 50s, in degrees Fahrenheit, prompting several skiers to modify their outfits. Switzerland’s Dario Cologna took gold in the event. He was followed by a pair of Swedish skiers, Johan Olsson and Daniel Richardsson.
It took 38 years, but the U.S. finally has a gold medal in ice dance. Meryl Davis and Charlie White became the first Americans to achieve that victory. The pair has been skating together since 1997, when she was 9 and he was 8. After the win, White told reporters, "That in itself justified 17 years of hard work.”
The Sweet Smell of Success
U.S. bobsled pilot Steven Holcomb takes time to smell the flowers during the medal ceremony for the two-man bobsleigh event on February 18. Holcomb and his brakeman Steve Langton won bronze, becoming the first Americans to medal in the event since 1952. Holcomb, 33, hurt his left calf over the weekend and some worried the injury would prevent him from racing well. “When you’re sitting in third place, you can deal with a lot more pain than you think you can,” he told the Associated Press.
King of Curves
On February 19, Ted Ligety won the gold medal for the men's giant slalom. In doing so, he became the first American man to win two Olympic gold medals in Alpine skiing. On the course, Ligety did what he does best—showed off his smooth and speedy technique of acing turns. "To be able to throw it down in the event I had the most pressure in, and the event I was the favorite in—to be able to do that is awesome," he told the Associated Press.
A Long-shot Victory
There were several skaters predicted to win women's figure skating at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games—but Adelina Sotnikova wasn't one of them. On February 20, the 17-year-old shocked the world by taking gold and becoming the first Russian in history to win the event. Yuna Kim of South Korea, who won the title in 2010 and was favored to take first place again this year, took home silver. Carolina Kostner of Italy grabbed bronze. Sotnikova delivered an astounding score of 149.95—better than anyone in the field had scored this year. "To compete at the Olympic Games, I dreamed of any medal," she told the Associated Press. "But frankly speaking, I wanted a gold one."
In women's ice hockey, it was match-up of longtime rivals for the gold medal. Team USA made 28 saves to keep the Canadians from scoring during the first 56 minutes of the game. But Canada started to turn things around towards the end. With 55 seconds left to play, Canada scored a goal to drive the two teams into overtime. In the extra period, Marie-Philip Poulin scored the winning goal, helping Canada edge out the U.S. 3-2 to capture gold and win its fourth consecutive Olympic women’s ice hockey title. Earlier in the day, Switzerland beat out Sweden for the bronze medal.
Price Saves for Gold
Canada beat the United States 1-0 in the semifinals of the Olympic men's hockey tournament on February 21. This was the 18th time the two countries met during the Winter Olympics games in hockey—more than any other two nations in the world. Canada has now won 12 of those match-ups, with Team USA winning only three. The other three were ties. In the semifinals match, Canada's goal keeper Carey Price made 31 saves and helped his teammates maintain their winning streak at Sochi."We didn't score a lot of goals, but we didn't have to,'' Canada forward Jonathan Toews told the Associated Press. "The next game will follow that work ethic. . . we can make things real tough for the other team.''
Stay tuned: The U.S. plays against Finland in the bronze medal match on Saturday. Canada plays against Sweden in the gold medal match on Sunday.
On February 21, American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin became the youngest athlete to ever win an Olympic slalom gold medal. The 18-year-old showed great balance on the course when she corrected herself mid-air and landed her skis between the gates. Despite losing time with that move, Schiffrin still finished 0.53 seconds faster than Marlies Schild, the Austrian skier who took silver. "Today was one of the most special days of my life," Shiffrin told the Associated Press. She also described her mid-run save as "pretty terrifying for me."