Sunday, February 23, 2014

OLYMPICS, DAY 16: Sochi: Denouement

We've done it in Vancouver, we've done it in London, and now, with the Olympic cauldron shut off for another two years, it's time to step back and process everything we've been through over the past two weeks.

You will note two different timelines in the headline and here: in the headline, I use a timeline that pegs Day 1 as the first full day of competition. In the Denouement, a timeline is used that pegs Day 1 as the first day of any competition. Never you mind my wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff.

That said, this is your official Denouement of the Games of the 22nd Winter Olympiad.

 DAY 1: Ready or not, the 2014 Winter Olympics commence with qualifying in men's slopestyle snowboarding. The event begins without two of the highest-profile riders, Shaun White of the United States, who pulled out citing an injury risk to concentrate on the halfpipe competition; and Torstein Horgmo of Norway, who injured his collarbone during a practice run. Between heats, among the music played over the PA system is 'Do what U Want' by Lady Gaga, the first of many times her music will be played over the course of the Games.
DAY 1: During slopestyle qualifying, Alexey Sobolev of Russia poses with his snowboard after his run. The image on Sobolev's snowboard depicts a knife-wielding woman in a ski mask, an image widely thought to resemble a member of the band Pussy Riot. Whether this was a form of protest by Sobolev is unknown, and Sobolev refuses to elaborate. He finished 10th in his heat, not good enough to advance directly to the finals. Meanwhile in the team figure skating session, one spectator seated just above the teams can be seen displaying a mainly light-blue flag with a rainbow on it.
DAY 1: A training session for women's downhill skiing has to be delayed for over an hour after one of the jumps on the course proves to be too big to safely navigate by the athletes. Forerunners sent down the course beforehand were not able to match the speeds or jumping distances of the athletes, and Laurenne Ross of the United States and Daniela Merighetti of Italy are injured on their training runs before training is halted and the offending jump altered.

DAY 2: During a training run, luger Shiva Keshavan of India, competing as an independent due to the IOC's dispute with India's Olympic association, crashes on the course, coming off his sled, but manages to get back on his sled and resume his run at speed.
DAY 2: Four activists are arrested in St. Petersburg, and 10 more in Moscow, for taking part in a gay rights protest. The protest consisted of displaying a banner citing Principle 6, the Olympic Charter's section dealing with anti-discrimination.
DAY 2: A flight from Kharkiv, Ukraine to Istanbul, Turkey is subject to a hijacking attempt by a Ukranian man trying to divert the plane to Sochi with a bomb threat. The pilot and crew trick him into thinking they are complying, while actually flying the plane to its original destination.
DAY 2: The Opening Ceremony takes place, marred slightly when, at the point that five snowflakes are supposed to expand to form the Olympic rings, only four do. The incident is not shown on Russian broadcaster Russia-1, who cuts to rehearsal footage where all five rings form as intended. Team Germany marches into the stadium in brightly-colored outfits that many take as a depiction of the rainbow flag, although their designer says they were designed before the controversy over Russia's anti-gay policies began. Hockey player Vladislav Tretiak and figure skater Irina Rodnina are the final torchbearers. Rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabaeva, also one of the last torchbearers, is conspicuous by her presence as, despite a resume not on par with the other five final torchbearers (though it does include a 2004 gold medal), she is the rumored girlfriend of Vladimir Putin.

DAY 3: The first gold medal of the 2014 Olympics is awarded to snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg of the United States in men's slopestyle. Staale Sandbech of Norway wins silver. Mark McMorris of Canada overcomes a broken rib to win bronze.
DAY 3: The first medal sweep of the Olympics is achieved by the Netherlands in men's 5,000 meter speedskating. Sven Kramer wins gold, setting an Olympic record of 6:10.76 in the process. Jan Blokhuijsen wins silver. Jorrit Bergsman wins bronze.
DAY 3: Adding to the list of construction issues, bobsledder Johnny Quinn of the United States becomes trapped inside his hotel bathroom when the door jams. Quinn, a former practice-squad wide reciever for the Green Bay Packers, escapes by breaking down the door. Meanwhile, bobsledder Rebekah Wilson of Great Britain opens an elevator door to find an open shaft.
DAY 3: At age 40, the oldest man in the field, biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway equals the record for most all-time medals in the Winter Olympics, winning gold in the men's 10k sprint for his 12th winter medal overall, tying cross-country skier Bjoen Daehlie of Norway. He also becomes the oldest gold medalist in an individual winter event. Dominik Landertinger of Austria wins silver. Jaroslav Soukup of the Czech Republic wins bronze.
DAY 3: French sports publication L'Equipe makes an allegation that figure skating judges from the United States and Russia have conspired against Canada in order to help each other win gold medals. According to the allegations, Russia is to win the pairs and team competition; in exchange, the United States is to win in ice dancing.
DAY 3: Sisters Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe of Canada take gold and silver in the women's moguls competition: Justine the gold, Chloe the silver. A third sister, Maxine, is eliminated in the semifinal, finishing 12th. Hannah Kearney of the United States wins bronze.
DAY 3: Reporter Dan Wolken of USA Today visits the designated 'protest zone' in Khosta, seven miles from the nearest Olympic venue. He finds out that he is the first foreigner to arrive in town, that Khosta has seen a grand total of one small protest to that point, and also that Khosta is a nicer place than any of the actual venues.

DAY 4: Despite a rowdy, unforgiving course, only two of the 49 skiers who start the men's downhill fail to complete it. Matthias Mayer of Austria wins gold. Christof Innerhofer of Italy wins silver. Kjetil Jansrud of Norway wins bronze.
DAY 4: The Russian team lodges a protest against the results of the men's cross-country skiathlon, 15 km classic/ 15 km free. The allege that Martin Johnsrud of Norway impeded the progress of Maxim Vylegzhanin of Russia in the race for the bronze medal, which Johnsrud narrowly won. The protest is unsuccessful. Dario Cologna of Switzerland wins gold. Marcus Hellner of Sweden wins silver.
DAY 4: Snowboarder Jenny Jones wins Great Britain's first-ever medal in a snow-based event, winning bronze in women's slopestyle. Jamie Anderson of the United States wins gold. Enni Rukjarvi of Finland wins silver. Meanwhile, Sarka Pancochova of the Czech Republic suffers a fall in the second of her two runs that causes her helmet to crack. Pancochova finishes 5th, on the back of her first run.
DAY 4: Speedskater Olga Graf gives Russia its first medal of the Games, taking bronze in the women's 3,000 meters. She begins to unzip her racing suit in celebration, before realizing that she's wearing nothing under it. She promptly zips back up. Ireen Wust of the Netherlands, one of only seven openly gay athletes competing at the Games, wins gold. Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic wins silver.
DAY 4: Italian flagbearer Armin Zoeggeler becomes the most decorated Olympic luger ever, taking bronze in the men's singles for his sixth medal at his sixth consecutive Olympics. He is the only athlete to ever win medals in the same event in six consecutive Olympics, summer or winter. Albert Demchenko of Russia wins silver, becoming the oldest individual medalist in Winter Olympics history, and ties the winter longevity record by competing in his seventh Winter Games, alongside ski jumper Noriaki Kasai. Felix Loch of Germany wins gold. Shiva Keshavan of India, competing independently, finishes 37th.
DAY 4: Kasai, also in competition, finishes 8th in the men's normal hill. Kamil Stoch of Poland wins gold. Peter Prevc of Slovenia wins silver. Anders Bardal of Norway wins bronze.
DAY 4: The United States overcomes a poor early showing by Jeremy Abbott in the men's short program to salvage bronze in the inaugural team figure skating competition. Russia wins gold, the host nation's first. This result, for what it's worth, matches L'Equipe's earlier allegations. Canada wins silver.
DAY 4: India holds a rerun of leadership elections for their national association, to the seeming satisfaction of the IOC. It is hinted that India may be reinstated in time for their athletes to march under their own flag by the Closing Ceremony.

DAY 5: The temperature in Sochi is 61 degrees.
DAY 5: During an interview of short-track speed skater Lui Pan-To Barton of Hong Kong, the production crew on the global feed display next to his name the flag from the era when Hong Kong was a British colony. Lui would go on to finish 5th in his 6-man heat, failing to advance in the 1,500 meters. Charles Hamelin of Canada wins gold. Tianyu Han of China wins silver. Victor An of Russia wins bronze.
DAY 5: Alpine skier Laurenne Ross of the United States loses a ski during her run in the downhill portion of the women's super-combined. Ross had been on pace to take the lead at the time of the incident. Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany wins gold. Nicole Hosp of Austria wins silver. Julia Mancuso of the United States wins bronze.
DAY 5: Off the field, it begins to be noticed just how singularly national the crowd is. In any given event, when fans display national flags, some 90-95% of them will be Russian, drowning out all the other nations at a rate far above previous Olympics. It is also noticed how many empty seats can be seen in any given event, with some entire sections going more empty than full.
DAY 5: Biathlete Martin Fourcade of France wins the men's 12.5 kilometer pursuit. Ondrei Moravec of the Czech Republic wins silver. Jean Guillaume Beatrix of France wins bronze.
DAY 5: On the back of a dominating performance from team captain Liu Rui, an unheralded Chinese men's curling team opens their tournament run in convincing fashion, defeating Denmark 7-4 in a match that was not nearly as close as the score indicates. Meanwhile, the perpetual-favorite Canadian team is upset by Switzerland 5-4 after defeating Germany 11-8 in their opening match. The other perpetual favorite, Great Britain, also goes 1-1 in the first day, beating Russia 7-4 before losing to Sweden 8-4.
DAY 5: The Dutch speed skating team achieves its second medal sweep in three days, taking all the hardware in the men's 500 meters, bringing their total to seven medals in three events. Michel Mulder wins gold. Jan Smeekens wins silver. Ronald Muller wins bronze. Between heats, a series of three consecutive Lady Gaga songs play over the PA system: first Poker Face, then Applause, then Just Dance.
DAY 5: Bobsledder Johnny Quinn of the United States gets stuck in an elevator. He wisely elects not to break down the door this time.

DAY 6: The final training run for the women's downhill is cancelled due to unacceptably warm temperatures melting too much of the snow.
DAY 6: The Great Britain women's curling team scores an Olympic record seven points in one end, out of a theoretical maximum of eight. Great Britain would go on to defeat the United States 12-3, with the United States conceding after the minimum allowable amount of ends.
DAY 6: Norway doubles up in gold in the men's and women's cross-country freestyle sprints. For the women, Maiken Caspersen Falla wins gold, with Angvild Flugstad Oestberg winning silver as well. They are almost joined on the podium by Astrid Uhrenholt Jacobsen, whose brother died on Day 1, but Vesa Fabjan of Slovenia wins bronze to avoid the Norwegian sweep. For the men, Ola Vigen Hattestad wins gold. in the wake of a three-man crash in the latter part of the course involving contenders Sergey Ustiugov of Russia, Marcus Hellner of Sweden and Anders Gloeersen of Norway. Teodor Peterson of Sweden wins silver. Emil Joensson wins bronze. The three crash victims finish in positions 4-6.
DAY 6: Fighting a deteriorating course that collected, among others, gold-medal favorite Kaya Turksi of Canada, freestyle skier Dara Howell wins gold in women's slopestyle. Devin Logan of the United States wins silver. Kim Lamarre of Canada wins bronze.
DAY 6: Luger Erin Hamlin of the United States becomes the first American to ever medal in a singles luge competition, winning bronze. Natalie Geisenberger of Germany dominates the field to win gold. Tatjana Huefner of Germany wins silver.
DAY 6: Speedskater Sang Hwa Lee of South Korea sets an Olympic record of 74.70 seconds in the two-race women's 500 meters. Olga Fatkulina of Russia wins silver. Margaret Boer of the Netherlands wins bronze.
DAY 6: The men's snowboarding halfpipe competition is marred by a high number of crashes, many brought on by the warm snow turning to slush, causing riders to lose speed and control. Shaun White of the United States, who had pulled out of slopestyle to concentrate on the halfpipe, finishes out of the medals in 4th. Iouri Podladtchikov of Switzerland wins gold. Ayumu Hirano of Japan wins silver. Taku Hiraoka of Japan wins bronze.
DAY 6: India is reinstated by the IOC. Indian athletes who have not yet completed their competitions are now able to compete under the Indian flag.
DAY 6: The inaugural women's ski jumping competition, on the normal hill, is won by Carina Vogt of Germany. Daniela Iraschko-Stolz of Austria, another one of the seven openly gay athletes in attendance, takes silver. Coline Mattel of France wins bronze.

DAY 7: There is a tie for gold in the women's downhill, with alpine skiers Tina Maze of Slovenia and Dominique Gisin of Switzerland finishing in a dead heat of 1:41.57. Lara Gut of Switzerland wins bronze.
DAY 7: The Dutch domination of the long track continues as they bring their total to ten medals out of a possible 15, with Stefan Groothuis winning gold in the men's 1,000 meters and Michel Mulder winning bronze. Denny Morrison of Canada wins silver.
DAY 7: In what is widely expected to be a preview of the gold-medal match in women's ice hockey, Canada defeats the United States 3-2.
DAY 7: Eric Frenzel of Germany wins gold in the Nordic combined individual, normal hill. He holds off his only real rival, Akito Watabe of Japan, who settles for silver after trading the lead back and forth with Frenzel for most of the race. Magnus Krog of Norway wins bronze.
DAY 7: The halfpipe course continues to collect rider after rider due to the slushy conditions. Kaitlyn Farrington of the United States is the one who comes out of it with gold. Torah Bright of Australia wins silver. Kelly Clark of the United States wins bronze.
DAY 7: Germany takes their third luge gold in the men's doubles, with victory coming by way of Tobia Arlt and Tobias Wendl. Only the team relay stands between Germany and a sweep of the luge golds. Andreas Linger and Wolfgang Linger of Austria win silver. Andris Sics and Juris Sics of Latvia win bronze.
DAY 7: The men's hockey competition gets underway, with Sweden defeating the Czech Republic 4-2 and Switzerland defeating Latvia 1-0.
DAY 7: It is estimated that the post-Olympic maintenance bill for the Olympics may run about $7 billion, approximately the amount Vancouver had spent to host the Olympics four years prior. Vladimir Putin had told Sochi two days earlier that they should not expect further federal funding for anything beyond maintenance of current facilities.

DAY 8: The United States, which has been beginning to catch heat for a high number of losses from expected medalists, sweeps the medals in men's freestyle skiing slopestyle, next to which green grass can now be spotted, as temperatures in the 50's and 60's are expected for the remainder of the Olympics. Joss Christensen wins gold. Gus Kenworthy wins silver. Nichols Goepper wins bronze. Meanwhile, the coach of freestyle skier Jesper Tjader of Sweden wears a pair of rainbow-flag buttons on his jacket during qualifying of the men's slopestyle competition. Tjader does not advance out of qualifying, placing 24th overall.
DAY 8: Despite a fractured foot, cross-country skier Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland not only wins gold in the women's 10-kilometer classic, she dominates, winning by over 18 seconds. Charlotte Kalla of Sweden wins silver. Therese Johaug of Norway wins bronze. Due to the temperatures in the 60's, many of the athletes opt to compete in short sleeves or even tank tops.
DAY 8: Short-track speedskater Li Jianrou of China wins gold in the women's 500 meters, being the only skater in the final to remain on her feet for the duration of the race. Arianna Fontana of Italy wins silver. Park Seung-Hi of South Korea wins bronze.
DAY 8: The semifinals of the men's short-track 5,000-meter relay eliminate pre-race favorites South Korea and Canada. Canada crashes out; South Korea is disqualified for their role in a crash that collects the United States, who is advanced to the final at South Korea's expense.
DAY 8: A track worker at the bobsled venue breaks both legs and potentially suffers a concussion after being struck by a bobsled driven by a forerunner. Surgery occurs the next day; he is conscious and in stable condition.
DAY 8: Skating from out of the 'also-ran' pairings, specifically pair 7 of 18, speedskater Zhang Hong of China shocks everybody by setting a gold-medal time of 1:14.02, a time that can barely even be approached by anyone else in the field and was only two-tenths off the Olympic record, set at altitude in Salt Lake City 2002. In the process, China wins their first ever long-track speed skating gold. The Dutch bring their long-track haul to 12 medals out of a possible 18, as Ireen Wust wins silver and Margot Boer wins bronze.
DAY 8: Figure skater Evgeni Plushenko, who previously won medals in Salt Lake City, Torino and Vancouver, and who came back from 12 surgeries to help Russia win gold in the team event, injures his back attempting to land a triple axel in final warm-ups before the men's short program, and is unable to compete. After withdrawing, he announces his retirement.
DAY 8: Germany completes its gold-medal sweep of the four-event luge program, winning the newly-introduced team relay. Russia wins silver. Latvia wins bronze.
DAY 8: Efforts to rescue the many stray dogs in Sochi become particularly highly publicized, with offers pouring in from throughout Russia to adopt as many dogs as can be transported out of the city. Several of the athletes are similarly inclined to adopt.
DAY 8: The IOC asks Russian authorities for information on why environmental activist Yevgeny Vitishko, protesting the long-term impact of the Olympics on the region, was sentenced to three years in prison. A week earlier, Vitishko had been arrested for swearing at a bus stop, and was subsequently jailed for what was claimed by the court as violation of a suspended sentence from 2011 in which he and other members of an environmental group spraypainted what they considered to be an illegal fence in a public forest, behind which logging of protected tree species was occurring.

DAY 9: The softening snow proves so problematic in the downhill portion of the men's super combined that organizers start the slalom portion earlier than scheduled. 12 of the 46 who begin the slalom don't complete it. Sandro Viletta of Switzerland wins gold. Ivica Kostelic of Croatia wins silver. Christof Innerhofer of Italy wins bronze.
DAY 9: Cross-country skier Nadeem Iqbal becomes the first athlete to compete under India's flag in these Games, competing in the men's 15-kilometer classic. He finishes 85th. Dario Cologna of Switzerland wins his second gold. Johan Olsson of Sweden wins silver. Daniel Richardson of Sweden wins bronze. Like the women, many of the men opt for short sleeves.
DAY 9: Disaster nearly strikes the United States men's curling team as a passing official calls Jared Zezel for touching one of the stones twice during a match against Germany. They are, however, able to recover and beat the Germans 8-5. Meanwhile, the British women's team sets an Olympic single-game scoring record for the second time in the tournament, beating Japan 12-3 in seven ends. They tie their own record, set earlier when they beat the United States 12-3.
DAY 9: The IOC vetoes plans by Russia's organizing committee to give tomorrow's gold medal winners a piece of the Chelyabinsk asteroid, which exploded one year ago on that day over Russia and sending out a gigantic shock wave. Any giveaway of the asteroid fragments must be done separately and after the Olympics have closed.
DAY 9: After becoming the first figure skater to break the 100-point barrier in the short program the previous day, Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan overcomes a mediocre free skate to take the country's first figure skating gold in a fall-filled men's competition. Patrick Chan of Canada wins silver. Denis Ten of Kazakhstan wins bronze.
DAY 9: Belarus makes its first-ever two-medal win in the same winter event when biathlete Darya Domracheva wins gold and Nadezhda Skardino wins bronze in the women's 15-kilometer individual. Selina Gasparin of Switzerland wins bronze.
DAY 9: Australia loses an appeal filed against the Russian skeleton team in which they charged that Russia had built a practice push track nearby and replicating that of the top of the Olympic course, giving them an unfair advantage. According to regulations, all athletes must have access to all training facilities on Olympic grounds. The appeal is rejected on the basis that the push track had not been ratified for competition and was therefore not part of the field of play. At the close of the day, Alexander Tretiakov leads the men's competition, and Elena Nikitina has won bronze in the women's competition. Elizabeth Yarnold of Great Britain wins gold. Noelle Pikus-Pace of the United States wins silver.

DAY 10: The women's super-G course is alarmingly brutal, causing seven of the first eight skiers to DNF, and 18 skiers overall, compared with 31 who complete the course. Anna Fenninger of Austria survives the course to win gold. Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany wins silver. Nicole Hosp of Austria wins bronze.
DAY 10: The heavy pre-race favorite Norwegians end none of the four legs in medal position in the women's 4x5-milometer cross country relay, finishing 5th. Instead, it's Sweden that win gold, Finland the silver, and Germany the bronze. It is 62 degrees.
DAY 10: The Russian women's hockey team suffers is eliminated in the quarterfinals, losing to Switzerland 2-0. The men go to a shootout against the United States in a group-stage game, tying 2-2, before falling in the 8th round of the shootout.
DAY 10: Short-track speedskater Viktor Ahn, who competed for South Korea in Salt Lake City and Torino but is now competing for Russia, gives the nation their first short-track gold medal, winning the men's 1,000 meters. Earlier in these Games, he had given Russia their first short-track medal of any color, winning bronze in the 1,500 meters. He is also the oldest man to win a short track medal at the tender age of 31. South Korea's representative in the finals, Sin Da-Woon, is disqualified. Vladimir Grigorev of Russia wins silver. Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands wins bronze.
DAY 10: The United States speedskating team gets approval from the International Skating Union to change out of the Under Armour suits they had been previously wearing, which they believe to be at least partially to blame for their failure to medal on the long track so far. They switch to an older design, also by Under Armour. It doesn't work, at least not in the men's 1,500 meters, as Brian Hansen places 7th, Shani Davis 11th, Joey Mantia 22nd, and Jonathan Kuck 37th in a 40-skater field. Zbigniew Brodka of Poland wins gold. Koen Verweij of the Netherlands wins silver, making it 13 medals overall for the Dutch. They have yet to fail to medal through seven events on the long track, with five events to go. Denny Morrison of Canada wins bronze.
DAY 10: Freestyle skier Maria Komissarova of Russia suffers a broken and dislocated spine during practice for women's skicross. She undergoes emergency surgery at a hospital located near the event site.
DAY 10: Ski jumper Kamil Stoch of Poland completes his singles sweep, adding the large hill gold to his normal hill gold from a week earlier. Noriaki Sakai of Japan, at age 41 and in his seventh Olympics, wins silver, his first medal since Lillehammer 1994. Peter Prevc of Slovenia wins bronze.

DAY 11: A second tie on the alpine skiing medal stand occurs in the men's Super G, as Bode Miller of the United States and Jan Hudek of Canada draw even for bronze. Kjetil Jansrud of Norway wins gold. Andrew Weibrecht of the United States wins silver. In a post-run interview, Christin Cooper of NBC catches heat for repeatedly asking Miller about his dead brother, a line of questioning that causes Miller to break down in tears to NBC's complete obliviousness.
DAY 11: With Vladimir Putin in attendance, the Russian cross-country team wins silver in the men's 4x10-kilometer relay. Sweden wins gold. France wins bronze.
DAY 11: India's national flag is raised in the Olympic Village.
DAY 11: The time-trial qualifying round of women's snowboardcross sees Helene Olafsen of Norway blow out her knee and have to be stretchered off the mountain, and Jackie Hernandez of the United States get knocked unconscious on impact with the snow. Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic wins gold. Dominique Maltais of Canada wins silver. Chloe Trespeuch of France wins bronze.
DAY 11: The Dutch continue their long-track domination, taking three more medals in the women's 1,500 meters to make it 16 out of 24. 16 sets a Winter Olympic record for the most medals by a single nation in one discipline. In fact, if there were a fourth-place medal, the Dutch would have won that too. Jorien Ter Mors wins gold, setting an Olympic record time of 1:53.51 in the process. Ireen Wust wins silver. Lotte van Beek wins bronze. Marrit Leenstra beats everyone who isn't Dutch and still fails to medal.
DAY 11: Maria Komissarova is airlifted to Germany for further treatment on her fractured spine. She is in grave but stable condition.
DAY 11: The men's 15-kilometer mass start biathlon is pushed back a day due to fog.
DAY 11: Vladimir Luxuria of Italy, Europe's first openly transgender member of parliament, is arrested in Sochi while displaying a banner reading 'Gay Is OK'. She is later released.
DAY 11: Snowboarder Michael Lambert of Canada makes the following statement to the media: "I am all for the purest form of sport in which all other distractions are shed with no consideration given to anything but your own process. At the same time, to act like there aren’t a lot of other very controversial things at play here, it’s ignorant. It’s not real, it’s not a reality. It’s not my reality. Just because I am a part of [the Olympics] doesn’t mean I ignore it. These things are real and they still exist. We just don’t see them because we are inside the bubble. Which is the goal--and that’s fair. We are here to compete and they want to keep us completely detached from all of that. But that stuff is still real. That controversy is still real. The only people on earth who are probably going to hold perfect [Winter] Games are people from Scandinavia. They are going to be green, sustainable, be under budget and all of the buildings and services are going to be used afterwards. A perfect Games isn’t someone who blows the budget through the roof for no reason, has people suffer, shuts people up. How is that a perfect Games? Spends ungodly amounts of money and then we are all going to watch it rot over the next 10 years.”
DAY 11: Footage from a security camera at the speedskating venue is unearthed from October, four months prior to the Olympics. In the video, a section of the roof collapses under the weight of a single cat.

DAY 12: The men's 15-kilometer mass start biathlon is pushed back again, due to heavy fog. The seeding runs for men's snowboardcross are cancelled outright; when the event gets going, they will go directly to the elimination rounds.
DAY 12: Police in Sochi arrest activist David Khakim for holding a solo protest against the arrest and conviction of Yevegeny Vitishko. Vitishko, meanwhile, goes on a hunger strike.
DAY 12: As expected, the American and Canadian women's hockey teams cruise to the gold medal match, with the United States defeating Sweden 6-1 in the semifinals and Canada defeating Switzerland 3-1.
DAY 12: A biathlon does eventually take place, the women's 12.5-kilometer mass start. Darya Domracheva of Belarus wins her third gold of these Olympics, becoming the first person ever to do so in a single Olympic biathlon meet, and Belarus' first triple gold medal winner in either winter or summer. Gabriela Soukalova of the Czech Republic wins silver. Tiril Eckhoff of Norway wins bronze.
DAY 12: The men's team ski jumping competition comes down to the wire, with Germany barely holding off Austria in a see-saw battle for gold. Japan wins bronze.
DAY 12: Alexey Voevoda and Alexander Zubkov of Russia win gold in the two-man bobsled. Alex Baumann and Beat Hefti of Switzerland win silver. The United States wins its first medal in the event in 62 years as Steven Holcomb and Steven Langton win bronze.
DAY 12: Belarus sweeps the freestyle skiing aerial golds, as Anton Kushnir wins the men's competition. David Morris of Australia wins silver. Zongyang Jia of China wins bronze.
DAY 12: Figure skaters Meryl Davis and Charlie White score a world-record 116.63 in the free dance of the ice dancing competition, one day after setting another world recod of 78.89 in the short program, for a gold-winning total of 195.52. For what it's worth, this result causes the figure skating winners to line up perfectly with L'Equipe's earlier allegations of conspiracy against Canada. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada win silver. Elena Bobrova and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia win bronze.

DAY 13: From a starting field of 89 skiers, 67 complete the women's giant slalom. The on-course attrition rate of 24.7% improbably proves to be the lowest for this event since Sarajevo 1984, which recorded 20.4% attrition. Tina Maze of Slovenia- who was the first skier out of the gate in the first of two runs, thereby getting the "best" conditions- wins gold. Anna Fenninger of Austria wins silver. Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany wins bronze.
DAY 13: The Dutch achieve their fourth medal sweep on the long track by owning the men's 10,000 meters, making it 19 medals out of 27. Jorrit Bergsman sets an Olympic record time of 12:44.45, only three seconds off Sven Kramer's world record, which was set in Salt Lake City. Kramer wins silver. Bob de Jong wins bronze.
DAY 13: The unheralded Slovenian men's hockey team, which has been turning heads so far, rolls to the quarterfinals with a 4-0 defeat of Austria.
DAY 13: After a day's delay, men's snowboardcross gets underway, albeit with fog rolling in several times throughout the competition. Pierre Vaultier of France wins gold. Nikolay Olyunin of Russia wins silver. Alex Deibold of the United States wins bronze.
DAY 13: After two days of delay, the men's 15-kilometer mass start biathlon is finally held amidst an actual honest-to-God snowfall, which actually isn't helping, as visibility from that plus fog proves only barely enough to hold the race. The race for gold ends in a photo finish, with Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway holding off Martin Fourcade of France. Svendsen thought he had it won more comfortably, and raised his arms in victory just as Fourcade got out from behind him and made a desperate lunge for the line. Ondrej Moravec of the Czech Republic wins bronze.
DAY 13: With snow absent everywhere but within the confines of the track, the men's large hill/10-kilometer Nordic combined is won by Joergen Graabak of Norway in a wild race to the line. Magnus Hovdal Moan of Norway wins silver. Fabian Riessle of Germany wins bronze.
DAY 13: Members of Pussy Riot are arrested after recording a music video in Sochi for a song called 'Putin Will Teach You How to Love the Motherland'.
DAY 13: The men's freestyle skiing halfpipe is held in heavy snow, which proves to not be much better than the slush, as either way it scrubs speed and reduces stability. David Wise of the United States wins gold. Mike Riddle of Canada wins silver. Kevin Rolland of France wins bronze.

DAY 14: The attrition rate in the men's giant slalom is 33.9%, as 72 of the original 109 starters complete the course. Ted Ligety of the United States wins gold. Steve Missillier of France wins silver. Alexis Pinturault of France wins bronze.
DAY 14: Biathlete Ole Einar Bjorndahlen of Norway breaks the all-time Winter Olympics medal record with his 13th overall, as Norway takes gold in the mixed relay. He also ties cross-country skier Bjorn Daehlie of Norway's all-time winter gold record with his 8th gold medal. The Czech Republic wins silver. Italy wins bronze.
DAY 14: A late fall that effectively eliminates Germany and slows Russia permits cross-country skiers Sami Jauhojaervi and Iivo Niskanen of Finland to steal the gold in the men's team sprint. Nikita Kriukov and Maxin Vylegzhanin of Russia salvage silver. Emil Joensson and Teodor Peterson of Sweden win bronze.
DAY 14: The Russian men's hockey team, heavily expected by the home crowd to win gold or bust, goes bust by losing 3-1 to Finland in the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Sweden beats Slovenia 5-0, Canada beats Latvia 2-1 and the United States beats the Czech Republic 5-2.
DAY 14: It's now 21 medals for the Dutch speedskating team out of a potential 30, as Ireen Wust wins silver and Carien Kleibeuker wins bronze in the women's 5,000 meters. Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic wins gold.
DAY 14: Vancouver silver medalist figure skater Mao Asada of Japan meets with disaster in the short program of women's singles, slotting into 16th place.
DAY 14: In recognition of political violence erupting in Ukraine, that nation's athletes request to wear black armbands to mourn those killed. As this is deemed a political gesture, the request is denied by the IOC. However, a moment of silence is observed in the Olympic Village under the same line of thought.
DAY 14: Snowboarder Vic Wild of Russia, who formerly competed for the United States but switched in order to marry fellow Russian competitor Alana Zavarzina, wins gold in the men's parallel giant slalom. Nevin Galmarini of Switzerland wins silver. Zan Kosir of Slovenia wins bronze. Meanwhile, Zavarzina wins bronze in the women's competition. Patrizia Kummer of Switzerland wins gold. Tomoka Takeuchi of Japan wins silver.
DAY 14: Six members of Pussy Riot attempt to perform again. Cossack security attacks them with horsewhips.
DAY 14: A correspondent for the Colbert Report travels to the official protest zone outside Sochi, and chants "I want a drink! I want a drink!" while holding a martini glass. He is quickly swarmed by police who order him to stop protesting without a permit.

DAY 15: France takes a turn at sweeping the medals, taking all the prizes in men's ski cross. Jean Frederic Chapuis wins gold. Arnaud Boloventa wins silver. Jonathan Midol wins bronze.
DAY 15: Luger Kate Hansen of the United States claims to find a wolf outside her room in the Olympic Village. It later turns out to be a prank perpetrated by Jimmy Kimmel.
DAY 15: Norway wins gold in the Nordic combined team event by 9.3 seconds over silver medalist Germany. Austria wins bronze.
DAY 15: Alpine skier Bogdana Matsotska of Ukraine withdraws from the women's slalom in favor of heading home early and joining the anti-government protestors in what has become a repidly deteriorating situation. About half of the Ukranian team has already left simply due to their programs being complete; the remaining athletes intend to stay in Sochi as a measure of solidarity. Matsotska placed 27th in the Super G, and 43rd in the giant slalom.
DAY 15: The medals are handed out in women's curling. Canada wins the gold medal game, defeating Sweden 6-3. In the bronze medal game, Great Britain defeats Switzerland 6-5.
DAY 15: The final trip to the notorious Sochi halfpipe sees many athletes dedicating their performances to pioneer freestyle skier Sarah Burke of Canada, who died in 2012 of injuries sustained crashing in a training run. Burke's ashes are spread on the bottom of the halfpipe and in the mountains. Maddie Bowman of the United States take gold. Marie Martinod of France wins silver. Ayana Onozuka of Japan wins bronze. After the event concludes, the slippers- skiers tasked with sliding slowly down the halfpipe to smooth it out- slide down in the shape of a heart to honor Burke.
DAY 15: The Canadian women's hockey team first ties the gold-medal game with the United States by scoring with 54.6 seconds remaining in regulation, and then scores the game-winner in overtime for a 3-2 victory. It's Canada's fourth consecutive gold medal in the event. Switzerland wins bronze, defeating Sweden 4-3.
DAY 15: The effective main event of the Winter Olympics, women's figure skating, having effectively decided the medalists in the short program, is controversially won in the free skate by Adelina Sotnikova of Russia by a suspiciously wide margin. Yuna Kim of South Korea, who ends up winning silver, is the popular choice among fans, and it's thought that scores for the Russian skaters, Sotnikova included, were inflated, noting that four of the 13 judges hailed from Russia, Estonia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan, and that the Ukrainian judge, Yuri Balkov, had been suspended for a year after being caught trying to fix the ice dancing competition in Nagano 1998. Neither Kim, nor bronze medal winner Carolina Kostner of Italy, lodge a complaint.
DAY 15: Biathlete Ole Einar Bjorndahlen of Norway and hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser of Canada are elected to the IOC to eight-year terms by a vote of the athletes. They replace cross-country skier Rebecca Scott of Canada and hockey player Saku Koivu of Finland, who conclude terms began after Torino 2006. Turnout was 80.87%.

DAY 16: Short-track speedskater Viktor Ahn of Russia wins his record fifth gold medal in the discipline, and becomes the first person to win all four individual short-track events, by taking gold in the men's 500 meters. Dajing Wu of China wins silver. Charlie Cournoyer of Canada wins bronze.
DAY 16: The highly-touted American long-track speedskating team completes its Sochi excursion without a single medal of any color, as both the men and women's pursuit teams lose in the first round. The men lose to Canada; the women lose to the Netherlands, who set an Olympic record of 2:58.61 in the process.
DAY 16: The American short-track skaters, however, come through with a silver in the men's 5,000-meter relay. Russia wins gold, setting an Olympic record of 6:42.100, with Viktor Ahn winning his fourth medal in Sochi and eighth overall, tying Apolo Anton Ohno as the most decorated person in the discipline. China wins bronze.
DAY 16: Freestyle skiing closes out with women's ski cross. With the temperature at 37 degrees and a wintry mix coming down, two athletes are carried off on stretchers, Stephanie Joffroy of Chile and Anna Woerner of Germany. Marielle Thompson of Canada wins gold. Kelsey Serwa of Canada wins silver. Anna Holmlund of Sweden wins bronze.
DAY 16: The men's gold medal match in curling isn't much of one, as Canada defeats Great Britain 9-3. Despite Canadian domination of the sport outside of the Olympics, this is the first time they've actually won gold in both the men's and women's competitions. Sweden defeats China 6-4 in the bronze medal match.
DAY 16: Two athletes fail a drug test in separate incidents: bobsledder William Frullani of Italy, and biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle of Germany. Sachenbacher-Stehle had placed fourth in the women's 12.5-kilometer biathlon and fourth on Germany's mixed relay team. Frullani slated to be on the Italian four-man bobsled team; he is replaced by Samulele Romanini. Sachenbacher-Stehle has one gold and one silver from Salt Lake City, one silver from Torino, and one gold and one silver from Vancouver. It is not yet known whether any or all of these medals will be stripped.
DAY 16: Pussy Riot releases the music video of 'Putin Will Teach You How to Love the Motherland'. The music video includes images of their earlier beating at the hands of Russian authorities.
DAY 16: Canada eliminates the United States for the second consecutive day in a hockey tournament, with the Canadian men winning their semifinal match 1-0. Meanwhile, Sweden, taking advantage of Finland missing starting goalkeeper Tuukka Rask, defeats Finland 2-1 in the other semifinal.
DAY 16: An emotionally-charged Ukrainian biathlon squad wins gold in the women's 4x6-kilometer relay. Russia wins silver. Norway wins bronze. At the post-race press conference, the athletes ask the gathered media to observe a moment of silence.

DAY 17: Norway puts up the seventh medal sweep of these Games by owning the women's 30-kilometer in cross-country skiing.  Marit Bjoergen wins the first gold Norway has seen in this event, her third gold in Sochi, and becomes the most decorated female Winter Olympian of all time with six gold, three silver and one bronze. She passes cross-country skier Lyubov Egorova of Russia. Therese Johaug wins silver. Kristin Stoermer Steira wins bronze. The final person to finish is Aimee Watson of Australia, who places 54th, ahead of three DNF's. Meanwhile, Holly Brooks of the United States competes in a tank top. Few join her in rolling up their sleeves this time, with the temperature being 48 degrees, a bit colder than earlier in the Games.
DAY 17: Snowboarder Vic Wild of Russia sweeps the parallel race events, adding gold in the men's parallel slalom to go with his gold in the parallel giant slalom. Zan Kosir of Russia wins silver. Benjamin Karl of Austria wins bronze.
DAY 17: The Dutch speedskating team, to nobody's surprise by now, wins gold in both the men's and women's team pursuit, both setting Olympic records in the process. The men, setting a time of 3:37.71, defeat South Korea in the gold medal race. Poland wins bronze. The women, setting a time of 2:58.05, defeat Poland in the gold medal race. Russia wins bronze. They complete their time in Sochi with 23 long-track medals: 8 gold, 7 silver, 8 bronze, along with one bronze in short-track.
DAY 17: Russia takes gold in the final biathlon event, the men's 4x7.5-kilometer relay, pulling away from Germany in the final straightaway. Austria wins bronze.
DAY 17: South Korea lodges a protest contesting the results of the women's figure skating competition. Regulations require a protest to be filed immediately following the event, not two days later.
DAY 17: With Tuukka Rask back in as goalkeeper, the Finland men's hockey team decimates a dejected American squad 5-0 in the bronze medal match.
DAY 17: The Alpine skiing competition ends with the men's slalom, which knocks out an astonishing 74 of the 117 starters, a 63.2% attrition rate. The event is won by Mario Matt of Austria. Marcel Hirscher of Austria wins silver. Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway wins bronze.

DAY 18: Hockey player Vitalijs Pavlovs of Latvia, and cross-country skiers Marina Lisogor of Ukraine and Johannes Duerr of Austria, are the third, fourth and fifth athletes to fail a drug test and get expelled from the Olympics. The Latvian men's hockey team placed 8th. Duerr was disqualified shortly before the men's 50-kilometers. Lisogor had finished well out of medal contention.
DAY 18: Sans Johannes Duerr, the men's 50-kilometer cross-country race, the winter equivalent of the marathon, is a blisteringly fast affair swept by Russia, making for the eighth and final medal sweep of these Games. This is the most medal sweeps at any Olympics since Moscow 1980, which saw 11.  Alexander Legkov wins gold, with a time of 1:46:55.2. Maxim Vylegzhanin wins silver. Ilia Chernousov wins bronze. They all finish within one second of each other. The final athlete to finish, ahead of 4 DNF's and one DNS, is Wenlong Xu of China, finishing in 2:08:02.0... a time that would have qualified for a silver medal in Lillehammer 1994.
DAY 18: The four-man bobsled is won by Russia, completing that nation's medal collection. They end with the most medals, with 33, and the most golds, with 13, along with 11 silvers and 9 bronzes. Latvia wins silver. The United States wins bronze.
DAY 18: The final event in Sochi is the men's hockey final, won emphatically by Canada 3-0 over Sweden.
DAY 18: The official Sochi memorabilia suction site goes online. One of the early items, a game-used puck that was used in a goal by Jaromir Jagr of the Czech Republic against Sweden in an early-round game (won 4-2 by Sweden), is bought with a single bid for the equivalent of $38.
DAY 18: The cauldron is extinguished at the Closing Ceremony. The Olympic Flag is passed from Sochi mayor Anatoly Pakhomov to Lee Seok-Rai, mayor of Pyeongchang, South Korea. NBC opts to skip the part where the flag is lowered from its flagpole, as well as the Greek national anthem.

See you in Rio, two years hence. And see you back in Sochi four years hence, when Russia hosts the 2018 World Cup. Or in October, when Sochi hosts the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix. Or in a few weeks, when Sochi hosts the Paralympics, after which construction will begin on the Formula 1 track.

God help us all.

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