PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – Sofia Goggia refused to let Lindsey Vonn catch her. Or, anyone else.
The Italian skier won the women’s downhill Wednesday, holding off Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway by 0.09 seconds and Vonn by 0.47 seconds.
“I was really focused – I moved like a samurai,” Goggia said. “Usually, I’m really chaotic, but I wanted to take in every little detail, every particular in the morning. I believed in myself. And then what counts, counts.”
Speaking of counting, Marit Bjoergen has had to do plenty of it during her Olympic career. She became the most-decorated Winter Olympian of all time with 14 career medals, getting the latest when Norway won the bronze in the women’s team sprint in cross-country skiing.
“When you’re still an athlete you just have focus on other races,” Bjoergen said. “I think I’ll need to have time to myself and look behind me and look how I’ve been able to do this. It’s still hard to understand it when I’m standing here.”
While Bjoergen’s milestone was the highlight, the United States’ victory in the event was its first Olympic gold in women’s cross-country skiing.
Norway won the men’s sprint, giving the country its 13th cross-country medal at the games to tie an Olympic record, and added gold in the men’s speedskating team pursuit with a win over South Korea in the final. Japan beat defending champion the Netherlands in an Olympic record to win the women’s team pursuit, and the U.S. women picked up bronze.
Mariama Jamanka won the women’s bobsled, giving Germany its fifth gold medal in eight sliding events so far at Pyeongchang.
Meanwhile, the Russian athletes are still sitting at zero in the gold medals column. But that number could change soon.
Teen figure skaters Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva were in first and second place , respectively, in the women’s short program after earning the highest scores ever. That leaves them both in good position to come up with gold heading into the free skate Friday.
“I was very happy when I saw the score, but I did not expect it,” said the 15-year-old Zagitova, who had 82.92 points. “Now my name will be connected to that record.”
Brady Leman of Canada won the men’s skicross , beating Marc Bischofberger of Switzerland in a wild final – after some scary elimination rounds during which a handful of crashes forced several men to leave the course on medical sleds.
Finland won the bronze in women’s hockey with a 3-2 victory over the Russian team. The gold-medal game between the United States and Canada is Thursday.
At Jeongseon Alpine Center, Goggia was behind on the leaderboard at the top, but sped up near the bottom of the hill. It was enough to keep Vonn just out of reach when she raced two spots later.
“I gave it all today, skied a great race,” Vonn said. “Sofia just skied better than I did.”
Meanwhile, the 33-year-old Vonn likely completed her final Olympic downhill race. She will compete in the combined, along with American teammate Mikaela Shiffrin, and that will be her last race in Pyeongchang.
“It’s sad,” Vonn said. “It’s my last downhill. I wish I could keep going. I’m having so much fun and I love what I do, but my body just can’t take another four years. But I’m proud to be competing for my country, giving it all and proud to come away with a medal.”
Unless another Russian athlete beats them to it, Zagitova and Medvedeva have the first gold for the team in their sights.
The 18-year-old Medvedeva posted a short-lived record score of 81.61 – despite not being completely happy.
“I’m satisfied with my performance today. It was not my best, but it was OK,” she said. “All the battle is still ahead.”
And, three skaters later, Zagitova broke the mark by completing a difficult program that included a triple lutz-triple loop combination.
Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada was third with 78.87 points.
Jessica Diggins passed the Swedes and the Norwegians on the final lap in the women’s team sprint to give the U.S. an upset victory.
“It feels unreal,” Diggins said. “I can’t believe it just happened.”
Sweden took silver, while Bjoergen and teammate Maiken Caspersen Falla finished third. Bjoergen broke a tie with Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjourndalen for the most Winter Games medals ever. The 37-year-old Norwegian has seven career golds, four silvers and three bronze medals.
In the men’s sprint, Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo and Martin Johnsrud Sundby helped Norway to the gold.
It was the third gold for Klaebo, who tied French biathlete Martin Fourcade for the most so far at Pyeongchang Games.
On the ice
In men’s hockey quarterfinal action, Pavel Francouz stopped all five shooters and Petr Kouka scored the shootout winner as the Czech Republic eliminated the United States with a 3-2 victory. The Czechs moved into a semifinal against the team from Russia.
Two-time defending champion Canada advanced to the semifinals for the third consecutive time after shutting out Finland 1-0. The two-time defending champions next face Germany.
On the slide
Jamanka was a surprise winner in the women’s bobsledding, beating three drivers who combined to sweep the medals at the Sochi Games four years ago.
Jamanka’s time was 3 minutes, 22.45 seconds over four runs. Elana Meyers Taylor of the U.S. was second for her third consecutive Olympic medal, missing the gold by 0.07 seconds. Kaillie Humphries of Canada, the two-time defending gold medalist, won bronze.
Japan and Norway dethroned the Netherlands in the team pursuit events and restored a semblance of balance in speedskating at the Gangneung Oval.
Japan won the women’s event in a stirring race after Norway took the men’s title, beating the Dutch in the semifinals and South Korea in the final.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.