Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

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Sochi Day 11: Gold, Slush and Orange Crush

By Torey Van Oot
|  Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014  |  Updated 4:51 PM EDT
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Sochi Day 11: Gold, Slush and Orange Crush

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Gold medalist David Wise of the United States celebrates after the Freestyle Skiing Men's Ski Halfpipe Finals on day eleven of the Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on February 18, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

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Rain, sleet and slush on the mountain didn't douse all of Team USA's medal hopes, as strong performances on the slopes kept the U.S. tied for first place in the overall medal count as day 11 of competition came to a close.

Attention now turns to the final runs in the ladies' bobsled, which could give the U.S. another gold, and a brewing battle between the world's top figure skating stars.

Here's a look at those highlights and more from Day 11 of the Sochi Games:

Mixed Conditions, and Results for Team USA on the Slopes

Skier David Wise weathered sleet and snow to win the gold in the first-ever ski halfpipe, while Alex Deibold medaled with a bronze finish in the men’s snowboardcross.

France's Pierre Vaultier outpaced Russian Nikolay Olyunin to win gold in the snowboardcross, a race marred by bad conditions that caused several athletes to crash.

Rounding out the halfpipe competition were Canadian Mike Riddle with a silver medal and Kevin Rolland of France in bronze.

Not everyone on Team USA did so well. American Skier Mikaela Shiffrin failed to make the podium in her Olympic debut. The teen competitor came in fifth in the giant slalom, missing by .23 seconds.

Julia Mancuso had another disappointing run, failing to make it through the women's giant slalom race Tuesday. Mancuso, who started the Games strong with a bronze in the super-combined before dropping to eighth-place finishes in the downhill and super-G, cited poor visibility for her performance, saying she "couldn't see much" after a puddle splashed her goggles. Despite chatter that the Sochi Games would likely be her last, the four-time medalist signaled she might be game for another Olympic bid in 2018.

"At the beginning of the season, I felt like there was no way I would come back," Mancuso said Tuesday. "But after coming here and kind of having that magical day (with a super combined medal), it makes me want to keep going."

Dutch Domination of Speedskating Continues

Team Netherlands enjoyed yet another sweep in speedskating Tuesday, led by Jorrit Bergsma’s record-setting finish in the 10,000m race.

The 1-2-3 finish by Dutch skaters gave the country its fourth podium sweep of the Sochi Games, boosting its total record haul in speedskating to 19.

Bergsma shattered the previous Olympic record in the race with a 12 minute, 44.45 second time, edging out favorite Sven Kramer for the gold. Teammate Bob de Jong won the bronze.

The bright orange-clad Dutch also dominated the competition with men sweeping the 500m and 5,000m races and women winning all three top spots in the 1,500m.

U.S. Leads Women’s Bobsledding, But Lolo Lags Behind

Team USA’s women’s bobsledders are in position to win medals and make history with the competition halfway over.

Lauryn Williams, an Olympic medalist sprinter who first sat in a bobsled six months ago, and teammate Elana Meyers ended the first two runs of the women’s bobsled in first place, leading a Canadian duo by .23 seconds. If that lead holds after the final two runs tomorrow, Willliams would be the second athlete ever to win gold medals in both the Winter and Summer Olympics.

Americans Aja Evans, a relative newcomer to the sport who made a splash with her 2012 debut, and Jamie Greubel, an eight-year veteran of the sled, are currently in third place.

Track star Lolo Jones hasn’t experienced as much success in her transition to an icier track. The hurdler-turned-bobsledder and teammate Jazmine Fenlator remained in 11th after Tuesday’s runs. Jones, who has yet to medal in a summer or winter Olympics, said the duo knew “we would have to fight. We knew it would be four tough runs."

"I'm just going to take it day by day, for sure," she told the Associated Press.

Figure Skating Heats Up

With Monday’s ice dance showdown in the books, some of the world’s top figure skaters are preparing for their time in the spotlight.

The ladies’ short program, which starts at 10 a.m.  ET on Wednesday, is with stacked with some of the sport's hottest stars.

The fiercely competitive field includes defending gold medalist Yuna Kim of South Korea, two-time world champion Mao Asada of Japan, world silver medalist Carolina Kostner of Italy, American nationals champion Gracie Gold and Russia’s Julia Lipnitskaia, a fairly new face on the celebrity skating scene who is facing her first solo test since helping propel the home-ice team to victory in the team event.

Wednesday’s performances will determine who is poised for a medal heading into Thursday’s free skate.

Of course, fans will also be watching to see how U.S. skater Ashley Wagner reacts to her scores this time around.

 -- The Associated Press contributed to this report.
 

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