OLYMPICS UPDATE: Weekend Event Highlights From Sochi
(CNN) — It was a weekend packed with drama and record-setting scores in Sochi. Here’s a look at some of the highlights:
Dutch speed skaters rule the rink
Dutch competitors swept the podium in speed skating for the third time on Sunday.
But this time, it was the women who led the way in the long-track event.
Jorien ter Mors jumped for joy after her gold-medal win. Teammates were on either side of her at the podium, with Ireen Wust winning silver and Lotte Van Beek winning bronze.
The speed-skating wins have helped Holland shoot ahead of other teams’ medal counts.
Their total haul of 17 is the most by any nation in Sochi, one more than the United States or host Russia, according to Bleacher Report’s tally.
She sported good-luck mustache, got gold
The Czech Republic’s Eva Samkova made headlines with her gold-medal finish in women’s snowboard cross on Sunday.
But there was another detail about the athlete that caught spectators’ attention: her mustache.
The painted-on, swirly red, white and blue ‘stache has become a trademark of Samkova’s on the slopes.
According to Yahoo, the first time she sported the mustache in the colors of the Czech flag was at the 2011 Snowboarding World Championships.
Since then, she’s kept doing it for good luck.
Apparently, it worked. And why not? As Bleacher Report pointed out, everything looks good with a gold medal.
Warm temperatures melting snow?
In women’s Super-G skiing, America’s favorite for a medal, Julia Mancuso, was shut out and finished eighth on Saturday.
The Sochi course was rigorous, causing 18 of 49 skiers to crash or miss a turn, especially early in the competition.
Winning gold was Austrian Anna Fenninger, making it her first Olympic medal. Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch took silver, and Austria’s Nicole Hosp won bronze.
After the race, competitors complained that warm temperatures were creating slushy conditions on the course.
“There is no snow at the bottom, it’s not funny any more. This is a disaster, it was a shame for everybody,” medalist Lara Gut of Switzerland told Bloomberg. “I think the last part was a bit too much. Everybody was crashing around. I don’t know if this is the best way to show off our skiing. It’s not a race, you are just trying to come down.”
On Sunday, the men’s event’s start time was pushed an hour earlier as a result.
Strong super-G finish for Team USA
Kjetil Jansrud of Norway took the gold in super giant slalom. And two athletes from Team USA also got a chance to stand on the podium.
Andrew Weibrecht, 28, hadn’t finished in the top nine in any event since winning a bronze medal in Vancouver — until Sunday, when he surprised observers by winning a silver medal.
An emotional Bode Miller took the bronze on Sunday, giving the U.S. alpine team a boost after days of disappointing results.
Also on the podium beside him? Canada’s Jan Hudec, who tied with Miller.
Competitors set several records during the event, according to Bleacher Report.
Hudec was the first Canadian to win an alpine skiing medal in 20 years.
And Miller, 36, became the oldest alpine Olympic medalist in history.
From ski slopes to saving puppies
U.S. skier Gus Kenworthy said he came to the Olympics looking for a medal in freestyle skiing. But in addition to winning a silver medal, he found four stray puppies.
Now on top of the challenges he faces in competition, he’s jumping through hoops to bring the four puppies, their mother and possibly another stray home to the United States.
“I heard that they were just rounding them up and exterminating them. So I felt really bad, but I definitely wasn’t planning on trying to come here and be some animal activist, or like, spokesperson for humanity, for the dogs, or anything,” he told CNN’s Rachel Nichols Sunday. “This particular family just really kind of touched me, and I just think they’re so cute and they need some help. So I’m just going to try to bring this family home.”
Friends and family have already agreed to adopt the puppies, he said. And a Russian billionaire who’s set up an animal shelter nearby is helping him with the paperwork.
He’s still working on naming the brood.
“I was thinking, ‘Sochi’ is kind of nice,” he told Nichols.
He’s also thinking about naming one of them Silver.
CNN exclusive: Plushenko says he was forced to compete
Days after his dramatic, last-minute withdrawal from the men’s individual figure skating final, Russia’s Evgeni Plushenko told CNN’s Amanda Davies he tried to back out before the high-profile competition.
Plushenko said he felt pain in his back after he helped Russia win gold in team figure skating. Asked by Russian Skating Federation officials how he was feeling, Plushenko says he replied “not so good” and asked if someone else could compete in his place in the individual event.
“And they said, ‘What happened, happened,'” Plushenko told CNN.
In the end, the skater said, officials pressured him to compete because he had a better chance of winning a medal than others on the Russian team.
“Is that fair?” Davies asked.
“You know, like I said, I tried,” he said. “I tried.”
Rivalry alive and well
The United States and Russia faced off in hockey Saturday, and though it was just a preliminary-round game, both teams played as if gold were on the line.
A tie sent Saturday’s game into overtime, when American T.J. Oshie scored four times on six attempts in one-on-one confrontations with Russian goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.
Oshie, 27, a native of Everett, Washington, plays forward for the National Hockey League’s St. Louis Blues. Bobrovsky, 25, a native of Novokuznetsk, also plays in the NHL, for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“My hands are a little tingling, my feet are tingling,” Oshie said after the game. “It was pretty nerve-racking out there. We knew it would take 65 minutes and then some.”
Said Bobrovsky: “Obviously I’m very disappointed. It was a shootout; we wanted more. It is heartbreaking.”
Guess who’s last in bobsledding? Yeah, mon.
The first two heats of the men’s two-man boblsledding event took place on Sunday, with 30 teams racing through the 17-turn course.
The event continues Monday, and several pairs are within striking distance of the podium after two heats, including teams from the United States, Canada and Russia.
But it’s not looking likely that this year’s Jamaican team will have a fairytale finish to inspire any sequels to the 1993 movie “Cool Runnings.”
This year, the Jamaican team made headlines after qualifying, but now they’re in last place.
But at least they have their own theme song, designed to sync with the Sochi course.