Sochi 2014 Olympic Update (Day 13)

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As the Olympics continue to wind down to the closing ceremonies there are a number of athletes that are just finishing their Olympics. These athletes have been in the games from the very start as they are the team sports that require a tournament to determine the gold medal. Both men’s and women’s curling and hockey will close out their tournaments in the coming days. They are the longest competitions in the Olympics as many would start at the beginning of the games and are finally ready to determine their champions. For both of these sports the Olympics can be the ultimate in reward as they are the biggest tournament in the world. It can be a bit different for the men’s hockey as they are professional players who many times think of the Stanley Cup before a gold medal, although playing for their countries is a great honour. For curling and women’s hockey this is the ultimate prize as the opportunity only comes around once every four years. When they get the chance they try to do everything to earn the rights to call themselves the best in the world for the next four years. They will go all out to try and earn the gold medal for their country but the competition can be much different in the two sports. For curling there are a number of good teams throughout the years as teams rise and fall while others continue to be contenders in every Olympic year. That is not the same in women’s hockey though as the competition level is extremely constant. Every Olympics year two teams continue to try and earn bragging rights in women’s hockey as they are the only two countries that take the sport seriously. Canada and USA are the top of the women’s game and everyone else is generally just playing for bronze. The women’s game was added to the Olympic program in 1998 and since that time the Canadians have won the gold three times while the Americans have won the other gold medal. In all but one of those Olympics Canada or USA would finish in second place losing the gold medal game. It has been like that for more than two decades in women’s hockey as the IIHF Women’s Hockey Championship has only ever seen Canada or USA win since it began in 1990. There are a number of reasons for this pattern as many European countries have different views of women in sports and as a result many women are steered towards different sports. Both Hockey Canada and USA Hockey have tried to lend a hand in creating better programs in Europe but nothing has made much of a difference. Once again in 2014 the Olympic Gold medal would come down to USA versus Canada while Sweden and Finland played for the bronze medal. In the end Canada would come out on top while the USA would finish in second place to continue to the pattern of North American dominance in women’s hockey. Although Canada and USA make for some great hockey every time they face off the lack of competition among the rest of the teams may mean the end to the sport in the Olympics. It has become the ultimate goal for women’s hockey but it soon may be taken away as the debate continues over how realistic it is to have the sport in the games. The IOC has a set of very specific rules that they go through to approve new sports and to ensure that the best sports are a part of the Olympic program. One of these criteria is the level of competition in the sport in terms of the level of play among the teams and athletes as well as the level of competition among countries. If there are only a few countries playing the sport or there are only a few countries at the top while the rest sit far below it generally does not get approved. As the Olympics continue to move on the IOC continues to try and see if women’s hockey can show this level of competition and continue to develop into a sport where more than two teams win the gold every year. If it cannot the women’s game may not be seen for very much longer in the Olympics as the competition is clearly not at an Olympic level and if the women’s game in Europe does not pick up there may not be an Olympic gold up for grabs in the future but for now the Canadians ­­sit on top of the world of women’s hockey for the next four years, and possibly for the last Olympic women’s hockey tournament.

 

Canadian Story:

Gold Strikes again
The Canadian Women’s Hockey Team looked to be down and out in the 3rd period of the gold medal game as they were down 2-0 at the start of the 3rd but would score two goals late in the period to force overtime and would put it away to win the gold medal for the 4th straight Olympics

Ladies Day
Before the Women’s hockey team won their gold the other Canadian sport would take the ice as Jennifer Jones and her curling team would take on Sweden in the gold medal game and would take the win and the first gold medal for Canadian women’s curling since 1998

Another Honour for Wickenheiser
Before she won her fourth gold medal, and fifth Olympic medal, Hayley Wickenheiser she would be given another honour in being named to the IOC Athletes Commission, a group of summer and winter athletes who help to guide the IOC for the future

Not all Positive for Canada
In a day when the Canadians added two more gold medals to their tally a number of Canadians would finish short of a medal as Kaetlyn Osmond would finish 13th in Ladies Figure Skating, Rosalind Groenewoud finished 7th in Ladies halfpipe, and Brady Leman finished 4th in Men’s Ski Cross

 

Day 13 Medal Results:

Curling
Women’s Curling
1. Canada
2. Sweden
3. Great Britain

Figure Skating
Ladies Individual
1. Adelina Sotnikova (Russia)
2. Yuna Kim (Republic of Korea)
3. Carolina Kostner (Italy)

Freestyle Skiing
Men’s Ski Cross
1. Jean Frederic Chapuis (France)
2. Arnaud Bovolenta (France)
3. Jonathan Midol (France)

Women’s Ski Halfpipe
1. Maddie Bowman (USA)
2. Marie Martinod (France)
3. Ayana Onozuka (Japan)

Hockey
Women’s Hockey
1. Canada
2. USA
3. Switzerland

Nordic Combined
Team Large Hill
1. Norway
2. Germany
3. Austria

 

Day 14 Medal Events:

Alpine Skiing
Women’s Slalom

Biathlon
Women’s 4x6km Relay

Curling
Men’s Bronze Medal Game [China vs. Sweden]
Men’s Gold Medal Game [Canada vs. Great Britain]

Freestyle Skiing
Women’s Ski Cross Finals

Short Track
Men’s 500m
Women’s 1,000m
Men’s 5,000m Relay

medal_table_d13

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