Another Alpine skiing event, another American disappointment, although to be fair, the top finishers were the top skiers in this event, the women’s super-G, on the World Cup circuit. It was a great day for Austria, however, as Anna Fenninger took gold and Nicole Hosp bronze. Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany won the silver medal. Julia Mancuso was the top American finisher, in eighth.
You will have to wait till the prime-time telecast to watch that event. As always, the drama we could actually see on TV Saturday morning was a cross country event, this time the women’s 4×5-kilometer relay, and what a race it was.
Sweden led at about the midway point, but fell behind and by the time the final leg began, Finland had the lead, with Germany closely behind and Sweden further back. Norway and France were lurking.
But then the fourth leg began, and the fun really started. Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla slowly creeped up on the leaders, trying to pass Denise Hermann of Germany and Krista Lahteenmaki of Finland several times, including a risky move on a turn. Then on the final stretch in front of the grandstand, Kalla pulled ahead and claimed gold for Sweden. King Gustav and the rest of the blue-and-gold-clad fans went nuts.
Finland, just .5 seconds behind, won silver, and Germany, .9 back, took the bronze.
Surprising France was fourth. But the biggest surprise was Norway, which finished fifth. That would be respectable for some countries, but it’s a disaster for the Norwegians, who normally dominate this sport. The great Marit Bjoergen was on the fourth leg for Norway, but was too far back.
The Americans, who fell behind early, were out of contention by the last leg. Jessica Diggins, sleeves cut off her uniform, took a wrong turn on the final lap and dropped the Americans from eighth to ninth.
It was a good day for Sweden: Four different players scored as the Swedes beat Finland in a women’s hockey quarterfinal, 4-2. The Swedes face the U.S. in Monday’s semifinals.
American Emily Scott won her first-round heat in the short-track speedskating 1,500 meters in 2 minutes 22.641 seconds. Jessica Smith also advanced to the quarterfinals. Alison Dudek did not make it out of her heat.
Jorien Ters Mors of Netherlands, Bernadett Heidum of Hungary and Agne Sereikaite of Lithuania advanced from the fastest heat of qualifying.
In the semifinals, Scott advanced to the Group A final and Smith to the Group B final.
In men’s hockey, Slovenia shut out Slovakia for nearly three periods before Tomas Jerko scored with 18 seconds remaining. That disappointment Slovenia’s goaltender, Robert Kristan, but his team still took a 3-1 victory. Slovenia is 1-1 in group play and its next opponent is the United States, on Tuesday. Slovakia is winless and its final group game is against Russia.
Speaking of the United States and Russia, if you’re not watching (NBCSN), what’s wrong with you? Forget cartoons, just for today.