By Natalie Heavren, Staff Writer
Team USA won another nine medals since last week, although they remain in fifth place in the overall medal count. After winning four gold medals in less than a week of competition, only Mikaela Shiffrin, Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins managed to win gold in the last week.
Shiffrin won the Women’s Giant Slalom, however, she failed to defend her gold medal in the slalom the following day, despite it being one of her better events. To avoid competing on back-to-back days again, Shiffrin pulled out of the downhill skiing event so she could focus on the Women’s Super Combined competition.
Randall and Diggins made history when they won gold in the Women’s Team Sprint Cross-Country event, as they became the first US skiers to win a medal in any women’s cross country event. This is a perfect ending to Randall’s fifth and final Olympics, as it is the first medal she’s won in the 17 Olympic events she’s competed in her career.
Team USA added three silver medals, including one in Women’s Bobsled. Team USA member Elana Meyers Taylor also accomplished this four years ago in Sochi, but it was brakeman Lauren Gibbs’ first medal.
The other two silver medals came from John-Henry Krueger in the Men’s 1000 meter short track event. It was the United States’ first individual speed skating medal since the 2010 Games in Vancouver. Nick Goepper also won silver in Men’s Slopestyle Skiing, just four years after suffering depression and considering suicide following the 2014 Sochi Games.
Of the four bronze medals won by Team USA, Lindsey Vonn’s in Women’s Downhill made the biggest news. Vonn has battled injuries since winning the gold and bronze at Vancouver in 2010, but still became the oldest woman to win an Alpine medal.
Vonn wasn’t the only one to earn a historic victory. Heather Bergsma, Brittany Bowe, Mia Manganello, and Carlijn Schoutens won bronze in Women’s Team Pursuit, the first women’s speed skating Olympic medal since 2002 for the U.S.
Siblings Alex and Maia Shibutani added another bronze medal to their collection after coming in third in Ice Dance. They are only the second pair of siblings to ever win an Olympic Ice Dance medal, the first since 1992, and the first siblings from the U.S.
Brita Sigourney improved upon her sixth-place finish in Sochi to take the bronze in Women’s Halfpipe Freestyle Skiing.
The disappointment of the week came from the men’s hockey team, who rebounded from an early loss to Slovenia last week only to lose to the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals. The Czech Republic had a break heading into this game whereas Team USA had just played Slovakia the night before. After coming in fourth in the 2014 Games in Sochi, the NHL’s ban on their players participating in the Olympics will likely be seen as a contributing factor to this disappointing finish.
Graphic by Billy Ferguson