Thursday’s Olympic schedule was light, to put it nicely. Thank goodness for figure skating, the gift that keeps on giving … at least for one more night.
NBC will spend a lot of its prime-time schedule on the women’s free skate — and it will be well worth it. There were some brilliant performances, but none better than Adelina Sotnikova, who gave Russia its first gold medal in women’s skating.
Sotnikova entered the competition in second place by just .32 points, behind defending world and Olympic champion Kim Yu-na of Korea. Sotnikova skated before Kim, and she was nearly flawless, earning a score of 149.95. Kim’s program was error-free but a little flat compared to the 17-year-old Russian, who reveled in the cheers of the home crowd.
When it was over, Sotnikova had won by more than five points, a decisive margin.
Carolina Kostner was in third place coming in, and she stayed there for the bronze after a beautiful performance to “Bolero.”
American Gracie Gold was fourth, and Ashley Wagner of Virginia was seventh. Julia Lipnitskaia, the darling of Russia after the team competition, finished fifth, but at 15, she has a few Olympics yet to come.
Four Americans made the final in the freestyle halfpipe, but Maddie Bowman is the only one who made it to the podium. She led after the first run and bettered her score in the second (winners are determined by the best of the two runs). Marie Martinod of France won silver and Ayana Onozuka took the bronze.
Again, one assumes NBC will show a bit of the women’s hockey medal games. Switzerland shocked Sweden for the bronze, giving the country its first hockey medal since 1948. And in the gold medal game, Canada defeated the United States in overtime.
Certainly, you’ll get a soupcon of the men’s ski cross, where France got the first podium sweep in its history Thursday. Jean Frederic Chapuis, Arnaud Bovolenta and Jonathan Midol won gold, silver and bronze, respectively. “Two good friends. I can’t explain how it feels,” Midol said. “We had a dream to make the podium with friends. The Olympic Games, three French on the podium is incredible.”