Anderson was a huge favorite in the snowboard event, which she has dominated in X Games competition for years — and she’s 23. But one poor landing had put her in fifth place going into her final run.
She needed a big, clean run in the final round to win, and she got it, scoring 92.25 points and vaulting into first place. Finland’s Enni Rukajarvi took silver and Britain’s Jenny Jones bronze. The other American in the field, Karly Shorr, was seventh.
Because NBC is saving both the slopestyle and men’s downhill for prime time, you didn’t have to watch Bode Miller finish eighth after several days of tremendous training runs in the downhill. Unless you’re not a Bodenian, in which case you might have enjoyed it. A fifth-place finish by American Travis Ganong — 11 years younger than Miller’s 36 years — was a career best. Steve Nyman, the first skier down the course, finished 27th and Marco Sullivan was 30th.
Matthias Mayer of Austria won the gold by .52 of a second over silver medalist Christof Innerhofer of Italy. Kjetil Jansrud of Norway took the bronze.
What did we see? Men’s cross-country and women’s hockey. The men’s skiathlon will be on later today in replays and I suggest you watch at lest part of it.
Switzerland’s Dario Cologna was a somewhat surprising winner, even though he is the world champion. An injury had slowed him leading up to the Games, but it didn’t show Sunday. Marcus Hellner of Sweden was second and Martin Johnsrud Sunde of Norway, who held the lead for much of the classical portion, took the bronze.
To the disappointment of the large crowd, Maxim Vylegzhanin of Russia missed the podium by .1 seconds, which means the host country hasn’t yet cracked the medals table. The Russians protested the results, claiming that Sunde had impeded Vylegzhanin, but lost. Their medal drought will end this afternoon, because Russia is virtually assured of gold in team figure skating. Maybe that will boost attendance at that event.
The skiathlon — and if you didn’t watch the women’s race Saturday, it was because you didn’t turn on your TV; NBC replayed it about 12 times. Anyway, the skiathlon is a combination of classical and freestyle skiing, called skating by the competitors. The first laps are done in classical style, in which competitors stay in tracks, like Beltway lanes, and almost everyone stays in the same track unless they want to pass, unlike the Beltway.
Then the skis come off — literally. Competitors make a pit stop, step out of their longer skis and into shorter ones, drop their shorter poles and grab longer ones, and off they go for the freestyle laps.
Mountains of the Olympics
During the classical portion, American Noah Hoffman was within site of the lead pack, which was a pretty good spot considering he’s better in the freestyle. But Hoffman fell on a hairpin run, was unintentionally roughed up by passing skiers, broke his pole trying to stand, then got an elbow to the face when he finally made it back to his feet. Then he had to continue the race with one pole in an event that demands two strong arms holding two strong poles until a coach with a replacement run alongside the course to make the handoff. That cost him too much time to be competitive the rest of the way and Hoffman finished 34th.
Also live Sunday morning, we saw Sweden beat Japan, 1-0, in the opening game of Group B play. Jenni Asserholt deflected a shot into the net in the first period. Nana Fujimoto made 22 saves for Japan, which was making its first Olympic appearance since the sport was added to the Games program in Nagano in 1998 (and by Olympic tradition, the host country got an automatic berth).