Dobroye utro! The first day of the 22nd Olympic Winter Games kicks off in Sochi with a full slate of very cold activities including a combination of qualifiers and medaling events. Throughout the day, we'll be running a live blog of the happenings, starting with the schedule of events, a breakdown of the results, and more in-depth stories from The Wire's ongoing Olympics coverage.
7:04 p.m.: Here's the updated medal count:
6:51 p.m.: A French newspaper is alleging that the Russians and the Americans (of all possible duos) are in cohoots to rig the figure skating competition.
"The French newspaper L'Equipe published a story Saturday quoting an unnamed Russian coach saying there was a deal between the U.S. and Russia to help each other win gold. This deal allegedly would help Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White beat Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir for the gold medal in ice dancing while Russia would win both the team and pairs competition."
The U.S. contingent has issued a denial. While this wouldn't be the first time the world of Olympic figure skating world had endured such a scandal, it certainly would be the weirdest circumstances.
6:38 p.m.: Last week, countless barrels of ink were spilled upon the altar of public remembrance for Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake's infamous snafu at the 2004 Super Bowl. AFP asks: Et tu, Sochi?
4:47 p.m.: What the finish line looked like at the end of the men's 10 km biathlon, which was won by 40-year-old Ole Einar Bjøerndalen from Norway. Check out our recap of the event here.
4:02 p.m.: A hypnotic GIF of 15-year-old Russian skating prodigy Yulia Lipnitskaya doing work in the Ladies' Short Program. Elle Reeve profiled her as "the very flexible teenager" in The Wire's "Beginner's Guide to Watching Olympic Figure Skating Like a Super Fan."
3:07 p.m.: RESULT: The gold and silver medals for the Freestyle Skiing Ladies' Moguls event were won by Justine and Chloé Dufour-Lapointe, a pair of Canadian sisters. Their eldest sister Maxime failed to qualify for the finals and finished 12th.
1:14 p.m.: Norwegian speed skater Håvard Bøkko thought to use the Sochi Olympic flame to remind his Instagram followers that he is not fazed by the cold weather.
11:44 a.m.: RESULT: Norwegian "Iron Lady" Marit Bjoergen won her fourth gold medal in the women's skiathlon, bringing Norway into the lead with four medals (two gold). Historically speaking, Norway is a juggernaut when it comes to the Winter Games. Not only do they have more gold medals than total medals won by all but nine world countries, they also have an unreal medal-per-capita rate.
Norway is a nation of 5 million people, about the same as the population of Alabama. Per capita, the nation has won one Winter Olympic medal for every 16,556 residents. The United States, on the other hand, has one medal for every 1,237,154 residents.
9:30 a.m.: RESULTS: An early medal count shows that the countries where it's generally pretty cold are off to a good start. Netherlands is making a surprise early surge, the country didn't place in the top ten in Vancouver in 2010. Earlier today, Dutchman Sven Kramer set an Olympic record in the 5,000 meter speed skating competition, crushing the pack with a time of 6 minutes, 27 seconds.
The United States scored its first gold medal in the Olympic debut of Slopestyle, an obstacle-ridden snowboarding run, where an athlete performs difficult and creative feats involving twists, flips, corks, and other delights on a path filled with quarterpipes, rails, and jumps.
Utah's own Sage Kotsenburg won the gold, which was his first victory in a snowboarding competition since he was 11 years old!
Kotsenburg, a throwback in both style and vocabulary — rarely does a sentence go by without a “rad,” a “stoked” or a “sick,” and sometimes there is more than one — performed no such feats of conformity.
Here are some dizzying examples of each:
Whoa how random is this I made finals at the Olympics!!!— sage kotsenburg (@sagekotsenburg) February 8, 2014
WOW!! I just won the Olympics!! Bringing back the first Gold here to the USA! Love seeing all the support from everyone YOU RULE!!— sage kotsenburg (@sagekotsenburg) February 8, 2014
And here is the 20-year-old Kotsenburg's winning move, which he calls "The Holy Crail," a huge jump in which he helicoptered more than four rotations in the air.
Meanwhile, as Sara Morrison pointed out, the United States has never won a medal in the Biathlon. Tim Burke, who inspired some hope, finished 19th in the Biathlon Men's Sprint earlier today. The gold was captured instead by Norway's Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, his record-equalling 12th Olympic medal, who completed the sprint in 24:33.5.
The United States Women's Hockey team beat Finland 3-1, scoring just a minute into the game. If they beat the Swiss on Monday, they will advance to the semi-finals.
In case you missed it, the Sochi Games started in style last night with an opening ceremony filled with whimsy and heavy on metaphor. For an explainer on all that you missed—and there was a lot of to talk about—enjoy this rundown of an Olympic commencement that involved flying horses, a tender ballet performance, a floating little girl with a red balloon, some interesting national fashion decisions, and Vladimir Putin's rumored girlfriend as torch-bearer.
Saturday's Scheduled Events (All listed times are Eastern):
Biathlon Men’s 10 km Sprint: 9:30 a.m. Enjoy this guide to the only event where the United States has never medaled.
Cross-Country Ladies’ Skiathlon 7.5 km Classic + 7.5 km Free: 5:00 a.m.
Figure Skating Team Ice Dance Short Dance: 9:30 a.m.
Figure Skating Team Ladies Short Program: 11:10 a.m.
Figure Skating Team Pairs Free Skating: 1:05 p.m.
Freestyle Skiing Ladies’ Moguls Qualification 2: 9:00 a.m.
Freestyle Skiing Ladies’ Moguls Final 1: 1:00 p.m.
Freestyle Skiing Ladies’ Moguls Final 2: 1:35 p.m.
Ice Hockey Women’s Preliminary Group A, USA vs. FIN: 3:00 a.m.
Ice Hockey Women’s Preliminary Group A, CAN vs. SUI: 8:00 a.m.
Luge Men’s Singles Run 1: 9:30 a.m.
Luge Men’s Singles Run 2: 11:40 a.m.
Ski Jumping Men’s Normal Hill Individual Qualification: 11:30 a.m.
Snowboard Men’s Slopestyle Semifinals: 12:30 a.m.
Snowboard Men’s Slopestyle Finals: 3:45 a.m.
Speed Skating Men’s 5000 m: 6:30 a.m.