What happened on Thursday: The United States’ women’s hockey team finally broke their Olympic streak, beating four-time defending champions Canada in the gold medal game after an epic overtime duel that ended in a shootout. Their 20-year old goaltender Maddie Rooney saved the decisive shot from Meghan Agosta to give the U.S. their first title since Nagano ’98.
The United States also upset Canada in curling, to reach the men’s gold medal game. It’s the first time since curling returned to the Olympic Games in 1998 that Canada won’t play in the final. The US were 5-3 winners and will face Sweden, who defeated Switzerland 9-3 in the other semi-final.
Austria’s Anna Gasser won her first Olympic gold medal, using her gymnastic skills to soar above the competition in the ladies’ Big Air snowboarding final, while there was a U.S. 1-2 in freestyle skiing men’s Halfpipe. David Wise and Alex Ferreira took the top two spots on the podium, while 16-year-old New Zealander Nico Porteous claimed bronze.
In alpine skiing, Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin put together an aggressive slalom run to beat the USA’s Mikaela Shiffrin in the ladies’ Super Combined by 0.97 seconds. It’s the second gold medal for the Gisin family, as her sister Dominique tied for gold in the downhill at Sochi 2014. Lindsey Vonn failed to finish in her last Olympic race. In the other alpine final of the day, Sweden’s Andre Myhrer picked up gold in the men’s Slalom.
It was a big day in short track as it concluded in Gangneung – China’s Wu Dajing set a world record in the men’s 500m, while the Netherlands’ Suzanne Schulting eclipsed Canada’s Kim Boutin to win the women’s 1000m. Hungary set an Olympic record by nearly three seconds to win the men’s 5000m relay.
Elsewhere Belarus, anchored by Darya Domracheva, won the women’s biathlon 4x6km Relay, while Germany claimed gold in the men’s Nordic Combined team event.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH ON FRIDAY 23RD FEBRUARY 2018
1. Ladies’ Singles figure skating final: It’s looking like a duel between Olympic Athlete from Russia Alina Zagitova and her compatriot Evgenia Medvedeva for gold, as the pair enter the Free Skating program (10:00 local time – Gangneung Ice Arena) atop the scorecards. There’s certainly room for Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond or Japan’s Satoko Miyahara to make a move, but it’ll likely take a flawed skate from one or both of the leaders for someone else to top the podium.
2. Who’s going to play for men’s ice hockey gold? We’ll know by the end of the night, as the Czech Republic plays OAR in the first semi-final (16:40 local time – Gangneung Hockey Centre) followed by Canada versus Germany (21:10 local time).
3. A home advantage in curling: The South Korean women’s curlers take on Japan in the semi-finals, with the winner set to play the victor of the Great Britain-Sweden clash that will be happening simultaneously (20:05 local time – Gangneung Curling Centre). The Koreans were 8-1 in round robin play, with their only loss coming against Japan.
4. Men’s 1000m speed skating final: Norway’s Havard Lorentzen set an Olympic record in his gold medal-winning performance in the 500m earlier in the Games. He’ll be back on the ice trying to win more hardware in the 1000m final (19:00 local time – Gangneung Oval). Lorentzen will face a stacked field that includes 1500m gold medallist Kjeld Nuis of the Netherlands.
5. Can Canada sweep in ladies’ ski cross? Canadians Marielle Thompson, Kelsey Serwa, and Brittany Phelan posted the top three times in the seeding for the ladies’ freestyle skiing Ski Cross (10:00 local time – Phoenix Park). However, they’ll each have to get through four more races to wind up together on the medal stand. The first two of the three competitors in each of the eight initial heats advance to the four quarter-finals. The top two in each of those move on to the two semis, where the two top finishers in both of those end up in the Big Final competing for medals.