PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – A tense shootout, a dazzling deke and the end of an impressive streak.
The United States’ women’s hockey team beat Canada 3-2 on Thursday in a gold-medal game that claimed a spot among the Olympics’ most thrilling moments in recent memory.
“They should make a movie on it,” U.S. forward Hilary Knight said. “We had all the drama and everything. It’s sort of a storybook ending to an incredible series of accomplishments.”
It’s the first time the Americans won it all since 1998, when they beat the Canadians 3-1 in the first women’s hockey tournament at the Olympics. Canada had won the last four Olympic golds, including four years ago in Sochi when it rallied from a two-goal deficit to shock the Americans.
This time, the U.S. bounced back from a 2-1 deficit in the third period to win in a shootout, capped by a jaw-dropping triple-deke by Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson for the go-ahead goal.
“I’ve butchered it a thousand times, just ran into tires, tripped over tires just working on my hands,” Lamoureux-Davidson said. “Just glad it worked out this time.”
David Wise delivered another gold for the U.S., winning the men’s halfpipe in freestyle skiing.
It was the second straight Olympic gold for Wise, who put down the most difficult, technically precise run ever seen in the sport of halfpipe skiing. He edged out his Olympic roommate, Alex Ferreira.
“I’m honestly just in disbelief right now,” Wise said. “Winning, losing, whatever, just the fact that I landed that run in the moment when it needed to happen, on that that third run, just felt so good.”
Mikaela Shiffrin couldn’t make it a third on the day for the U.S. , taking the silver as Michelle Gisin of Switzerland won the women’s Alpine combined.
In the men’s slalom, Andre Myhrer, a 35-year-old Swede, was the unlikely champion after Marcel Hirscher and Henrik Kristoffersen – the best slalom skiers on the World Cup circuit – couldn’t complete two runs.
In other events Thursday, Anna Gasser of Austria won the women’s Big Air snowboarding event, and Germany took the Nordic combined team title.
In short-track speedskating, Dajing Wu of China won the men’s 500 meters, Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands took the women’s 1,000, and Hungary was the winner of the men’s 5,000-meter relay.
Belarus won the gold in the women’s 4x6-kilometer biathlon relay, finishing in 1 hour, 12 minutes, 3.4 seconds.
In Gangneung, the U.S. women’s team won it all 20 years after their last gold medal in women’s hockey and 38 years to the day after the men’s famous “Miracle on Ice” victory over the Soviet Union at the 1980 Lake Placid Games.
The victory was redemption for the 10 Americans still on the team who watched Canada snatch gold away four years ago.
Several members of the Canadian team wept on the ice while accepting the silver medals, and defenseman Jocelyne Larocque immediately removed hers from around her neck and held it in her left hand.
“We were going for gold,” Larocque said. “We were chasing a gold medal.”
Taking a chance
With a third of the 12 riders limping off the course with injuries, Wise faced an all-or-nothing run after his ski bindings failed him in his two previous trips down.
“We cranked my bindings up as high as they would go,” Wise said. “We’re like, `You know what, my leg’s coming off before the ski does.“’
Everything stayed on, and he skied to victory.
Gisin finished the Alpine combined in 2 minutes, 20.90 seconds to eclipse silver-medalist Shiffrin by 0.97 seconds. Wendy Holdener of Switzerland was 1.44 seconds back to earn the bronze.
“I tried to put my heart into that run,” Gisin said. “It’s insane.”
Lindsey Vonn made a mistake early in the slalom and didn’t finish in what was likely the final race of her Winter Games career.
Hirscher skied off course in the opening run of the men’s slalom, while Kristoffersen set the fastest time. But Kristofferson couldn’t make it all the way down on the second run.
That left Myhrer at the top of the podium.
“To be able to do this after the season they have had,” Myhrer said of Hirscher and Kristoffersen, “is, of course, amazing for me.”
Ramon Zenhaeusern of Switzerland won the silver, 0.34 seconds behind Myhrer. Michael Matt of Austria took bronze.
After American Jamie Anderson overshot the landing a bit while trying to nail a cab 10 on her third jump in Big Air, Gasser had the opening she needed.
The Austrian did a “cab double 10” – two flips and three full rotations – to slip past Anderson. Her score of 96 was the highest of the day and boosted her two-jump total to 185.00.
“My mind was, `I can only win here if I land, I can change the color of this medal,“’ Gasser said. “I decided to do a trick I wasn’t 100 percent sure it would work but a trick I really wanted to show and that’s what mattered to me the most.”
Johannes Rydzek crossed the finish line with an overwhelming 52.7-second advantage as Germany joined Finland as the only countries to win three gold medals in Nordic combined in one Winter Olympics.
Defending champion Norway was second, followed by Austria, which was first after the ski jump.
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