By Max Calderone | Sports Writer
With just six days left of competition, Team USA has fallen into a tie for fifth place in the latest 2018 Winter Olympics medal count. The Americans have tallied a total of 12 medals, including five gold, three silver and four bronze.
Freestyle skier Nick Goepper won the United States’ only medal in the men’s slopestyle, an event the Americans swept in 2014. Goepper snatched the silver after posting a score of a 93.60, which was just shy of Norwegian gold medal winner Oystein Braaten’s score of 95.00, one of 11 gold medalists from Norway in this year’s games.
San Marcos junior Truett Newton has been impressed by Norway’s performance as a country throughout the 2018 Winter Games.
“I’ve been watching a lot of the events and Norway has been killing it,” Newton said. “It’s funny to me to see how the Americans run the table in the freestyle events like snowboarding, but all the other countries focus so much more on other events.”
Newton attributes that to the United States hosting the X Games each year, which emphasizes events showcasing freestyle tricks in snowboarding and skiing.
One of the favorites in the men’s slopestyle was American Gus Kenworthy, the silver medalist at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. However, Kenworthy didn’t land a clean run in the finals, finishing last in 12th place. He will return home empty-handed, having only competed in one event.
Kenworthy posted a message on Twitter thanking his fans for all the support and said he felt like he was walking away more fulfilled even after not medaling.
“At every contest there are three winners and a field of non-winners,” the tweet read. “This is the Olympics though and nobody here loses. Everybody gave it their best effort, fought hard, endured and made their country, their family, their friends and their fans proud. I’m holding my head high knowing that I gave it my all.”
On the ice, John-Henry Krueger brought home another silver medal for Team USA, taking second place in the men’s 1000-meter race in short track speed skating. He finished just two tenths of a second behind Canada’s Samuel Girard, who won the gold.
At the latest figure skating events, three American teams were in the top seven after part one of the two-part pairs’ finals. The duos of Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, Madison Chock and Evan Bates, and the brother-sister combo of Maia and Alex Shibutani each began Monday night in medal contention.
By the conclusion of the competition, it was only the Shibutanis who found themselves on the podium after stunning performances by Canadian and French skaters. The Americans settled for the bronze medal with a combined score of 192.59 after competing in the short dance program and free dance portion of the pairs’ event.
The “Shib Sibs” as they’re nicknamed will bring home two bronze medals this year after helping Team USA to third place in the figure skating team event. Hubbell and Donohue finished fourth and the duo of Chock and Bates took ninth after a fall in their final performance cost them deductions in points.
Also in action Monday night was the women’s halfpipe competition, and more freestyle skiers took to the slopes to try and land a spot on the Olympic podium. Americans Maddie Bowman, Annalisa Drew and Brita Sigourney each qualified for the final.
In the end, it was Sigourney who edged out Drew for the bronze medal by less than a point. Canada’s Cassie Sharpe and France’s Marie Martinod took home the gold and silver. The trio of Americans finished in third, fourth and 11th, as Bowman fell on all three of her runs, unable to defend her gold medal win from 2014.
A big rematch was also in order Monday night as Team USA’s men’s hockey team began the first round of the playoffs by facing off against Slovakia, a team which they had previously defeated 2-1.
Needing a win to advance, the Americans got out to a 3-0 lead as of the Lariat’s print time of 10:30 p.m. Monday night.
On the women’s side, Team USA earned a spot in the gold medal game against Canada, thanks to a 5-0 victory over Finland. The Americans previously squared up with the Canadians in a pool play match, dropping the game by a score of 2-1.
The puck will drop at 10:10 p.m. on Thursday as Team USA and Canada go for the gold.
In other results, American skiing superstar Lindsey Vonn was unable to make the podium in the women’s super-G slalom event, coming in sixth place with a time of one minute and 21.49 seconds.
Vonn’s Team USA skiing teammate Mikaela Shiffrin announced that she will withdraw from the women’s downhill event in order to focus on the women’s super combined event in search of her second medal of the 2018 Winter Olympics.
The rest of this year’s games can be seen on NBC’s family of networks. Events continue through Sunday.