Even with a two-goal lead heading into the closing minutes of regulation, the United States still couldn’t find a way to beat Canada for Olympic gold.
Canada claimed its fourth straight gold medal in women’s hockey, rallying for a thrilling 3-2 overtime win over the Americans in Thursday’s classic battle at the Sochi Games. Marie-Philip Poulin scored the two biggest goals of the game, notching the tying goal for the Canadians with 55 seconds left in regulation before winning it with a power-play marker from the left circle at 8:10 of OT. Poulin helped deliver the 21st straight win for Canada at the Olympics. The Canadians haven’t lost at the Winter Games since 1998, when the U.S. beat them in gold medal game at the inaugural women’s Olympic tournament in Nagano. Meghan Duggan and Alex Carpenter scored for the U.S., which settled for silver for the third time in the last four Winter Games. The Americans, who beat Canada to take four of the last five world championships, won bronze at the 2006 Olympics.
Earlier on Thursday, Switzerland scored four third-period goals to overcome a two-goal deficit then hung on late to upset Sweden, 4-3, to claim the bronze medal.
Led by Jean Frederic Chapuis’ gold medal, the French swept the men’s ski cross podium on Thursday at the Sochi Olympics. A fall by Canada’s Brady Leman on the final turn confirmed the French sweep, leaving just the order to be decided. Chapuis, the 2013 FIS World Champion, held firm for his first Olympic medal, followed by Arnaud Bovolenta for silver and Jonathan Midol for the bronze.
American Maddie Bowman won the first-ever Olympic gold medal on Thursday in the women’s freestyle halfpipe event. The two-time defending X Games champion was third after qualifying, but posted the two best runs in the final round, including a score of 89.0 in her second run to edge France’s Marie Martinod by 3.6 points. Japan’s Ayana Onozuka claimed the bronze with a score of 83.20. She was also a third place finisher at the world championships. Although she had won four of her six events to start the season, Bowman may have been a bit overlooked here in Sochi due an 11th-place finish at the Olympic test event here last February.
Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova won women’s figure skating gold at the Sochi Olympics, edging South Korea’s Kim Yuna for the title on Thursday night. Sotnikova trailed the 2010 Olympic champion by just .28 points after the short program on Wednesday, but had a brilliant free skate on Thursday. She earned a top score of 149.95 for a two-day total of 224.59, becoming the first Russian woman to win Olympic figure skating gold. Kim, skating last on Thursday, earned a free skate score of 144.19 for a total of 219.11 to claim a silver medal. She was trying to become the first women’s figure skater to win consecutive Olympic gold medals since Katarina Witt in 1984 and 1988. Italy’s Carolina Kostner placed third to earn a bronze medal in her third Olympics. She was ninth in the 2006 Games and 16th four years ago in Vancouver.
Joergen Graabak’s mad sprint at the end helped Norway win the gold medal in the Nordic combined team competition. Norway, which sat in third place after the jumping portion of the event, posted a total time of 47 minutes and 13.5 seconds to narrowly edge Germany by three-tenths of a second and win its 10th gold medal of the Games.
Canada completed a perfect run to gold in women’s curling at the Sochi Olympics, beating Sweden 6-3 on Thursday to end the tournament with an 11-0 record.