What You Missed in Pyeongchang Last Night: Ester Ledecka Pulls Off Huge Upset

Ledecka is a two-sport athlete, better known as a snowboarder. "How did that happen?" she said after winning a gold medal

Primetime spotlight

The Czech Republic's Ester Ledecka pulled off an historic upset. She started as the 26th racer in the women's super-G but ultimately finished first. She finished the course in a time of 1 minute, 21.11 seconds.

Austria’s Anna Veith, the reigning gold medalist, earned the silver, finishing .01 seconds back.

Ledecka is a two-sport athlete, better known as a snowboarder. She was the 26th to ski and beat Veith’s time by one one-hundredth of a second. It was the first gold medal for the Czech Republic in an Alpine event.

Lindsey Vonn made a critical mistake near the bottom of her super-G run that cost her a spot on the podium. She finished tied for sixth.

Women’s aerials kicked off primetime coverage. Belarusian Alla Tsuper was the defending champion in the event. It was countrywoman Hanna Huskova who captured gold in Pyeongchang.

Chinese teammates Zhang Xin and Kong Fanyu captured the silver and bronze, respectively.

American Madison Olsen surprised everyone, making it to the final and ultimately placing sixth overall. It was a great result for the up-and-comer. She even tried a jump for the first time ever in the last round of the final.

One of the featured events of primetime was the men’s free skate. Nathan Chen was looking to end on a high note after two disastrous programs in his debut. He did exactly that. He landed five quads cleanly, attempted six, and earned the highest technical score in a free skate ever in the Olympics. In fact, he had the highest free skate score of the day by almost nine points.

Teammates Vincent Zhou and Adam Rippon faired just as well. Zhou completed multiple quads and was rewarded with a personal best of 192.16 points. Rippon turned in his third strong skate of the Olympics and finished 10th overall.

Nathan Chen finds redemption in free skate

Yuzuru Hanyu is the first man to win back-to-back Olympic golds in figure skating since American Dick Button in the 1948 and 1952 Games. Pyeongchang is the third consecutive Olympics where a Japanese male figure skater earned a medal.

Countryman Shoma Uno earned silver in his Olympic debut.

Javier Fernandez earned Spain’s first Olympic medal in figure skating, taking home bronze. It’s only the fourth all-time Winter Olympic medal for Spain.

All three Americans finished in the top 10.

Nathan Chen redeemed himself in a big way. He is the first skater to cleanly execute five quads in a free skate. He executed six quads in the routine. He skated extremely well, scoring a personal best of 215.08 in his free skate. Chen won the free skate by 8.91 points over gold medalist Hanyu. Overall, he went from 17th after the short program to fifth.

17-year-old Vincent Zhou continued his strong Olympic showing. He completed multiple quads in his program, helping earn a personal best free skate score of 192.16. His overall score of 276.69 was also a personal best. He finished sixth overall.

Adam Rippon, making his Olympic debut at 28, had to have a clean skate to stay near the top of the standings. A clean skate is even more crucial for him since he does not attempt any quads in his program. Rippon delivered, performing his third great performance of the Games. He tallied a score of 171.41 points in the free skate, ending with 259.36 – good for tenth place overall.

Shocking upset in women’s super-G

Austria’s Anna Veith had thought she had successfully defended her Olympic super-G gold medal. That is until, Czech Republic’s Ester Ledecka skied after the top 20 had already finished their runs.

Ledecka is a two-sport athlete, better known as a snowboarder. She was the 26th to ski and beat Veith’s time by one one-hundredth of a second. It was the first gold medal for the Czech Republic in an Alpine event.

"How did that happen?" she could be heard saying after her win. 

NPR reported that Ledecka wore her ski goggles at a post-event press conference. 

"Because I wasn't prepared to be at the ceremony and I don't have makeup on," she said.

Veith was attempting to become the first women’s Alpine skier to win two gold medals in the super-G. Instead, she will now add a silver to her gold in the super-G from 2014, and silver from 2014 giant slalom.

Lichetenstein’s Tina Weirather claimed the bronze. Weirather’s medal was the tenth Winter Olympic medal for Lichtenstein, and seven of them have been won by Weirather’s family.

Lindsey Vonn finished tied for sixth in her first Olympic race since 2010. Vonn had a costly bobble at the bottom of her run. She finished with a time of 1:21.49.

Vonn will attempt to earn her second Olympic title in the downhill on Tuesday. Vonn won the gold in 2010.

Americans Breezy Johnson, Laurenne Ross and Alice McKennis finished 14th, 15th, and 16th respectively.

Swiss freeskiers Hoefflin, Gremaud finish 1-2 in women’s slopestyle

Sarah Hoefflin took the gold medal with a score of 91.20 on her third and final run. She had put herself into medal contention on her first run, taking some of the pressure off of the competition.

Her teammate, 18-year-old Mathilde Gremaud, had one of the best runs of the first round. She pulled off a switch double cork 1080. Her score of 88.00 points held for a silver medal.

Isabel Atkin, who was born in Boston but competes for Great Britain, won Great Britain’s second medal ever in a snow sport. Her score of 84.60 knocked American Maggie Voisin off the podium.

Voisin was in the final with teammate Devin Logan, who was celebrating her 25th birthday. Logan ended up finishing in 10th place with a score of 56.80. The 25 year old will compete in halfpipe qualifying in just two days. She’s the only freeskier competing in both slopestyle and halfpipe for the Americans.

Hockey upsets galore

In the first women’s quarterfinal game, OAR faced Switzerland. OAR hadn’t won a game in preliminary play and had only scored one goal all tournament. But, because of their ranking pre-Olympics, OAR advanced to the quarterfinals. Team OAR will face Canada in the semifinals.  

Team OAR found itself, having an offensive outburst of six goals. They seized momentum when they killed a 5-on-3 power play, scoring a short-handed goal in the first period. In the second, the two teams scored five goals between them. Then in the third, OAR scored two goals midway through the period to seal the deal. They would later add an empty-netter.

Coming into the game, Alina Muller of Switzerland led the tournament with the most points. She had six goals in three games. She added another goal against OAR. She is now only two behind the all-time goal record in a single tournament. She will have a chance to match the record in Switzerland’s final game against the unified Korean team.

On the men’s side, Canada took on the Czech Republic. The game went to the first shootout of the Games. The Czech Republic came out victorious, winning 3-2. It was Canada’s first loss in eight year in an Olympic tournament.

Lopsided hockey

Finland defeated Sweden 7-2 in the second women’s quarterfinals game. Finland advances to the semifinals where they will face the U.S. on Feb. 18 at 10:10 p.m ET. With the win, Finnish goalie Noora Raty ties the record for most wins by a goalkeeper in Olympic history, with nine wins.

A palindromic moment for Finland, when its youngest and oldest player scored goals. 18-year-old forward Petra Nieminen, who is considered the country’s “next star,” opened scoring in the first period. 44-year-old forward Riika Valila, who made her Olympic debut before Nieminen was born, also scored two goals in the game.

Sweden’s loss means they will not finish in the top four of the Olympic women’s hockey tournament for the first time since the 1998 Games. Sweden will play Japan tomorrow in the first round of classification games.

The men’s side saw another lopsided defeat. Switzerland earned its first win of the Games by defeating South Korea 8-0. Switzerland is the second men’s team to score eight goals in a single game this tournament. Group A preliminary play wars up tomorrow.  

Another race, another record

Marit Bjorgen led Norway to gold in the women’s 4x5km relay. Bjorgen moves into a tie as the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time. She already became the most decorated female Winter Olympian last Saturday.

It was an exciting race down the stretch. The veteran Bjorgen had just enough in her tank to outlast Sweden on the final leg. At one point, the two skiers were less than .6 seconds apart. Ultimately, Bjorgen finished in a time of 51:42.3 and Sweden came in two seconds behind.

By winning gold, Bjorgen cements a few more records for the history books. She takes sole possession as the most decorated cross-country skier ever in the Olympics. The fact that the medal was gold means she has the most by an Olympic cross-country skier.

OAR took home the bronze medal.

It was the Americans’ best hope for a medal in cross-country. They fell short, finishing in fifth place. The U.S.’ 42-year medal drought in the sport continues.

Extra curling clinches crucial win for the U.S.

The U.S. and Team OAR battled through four lead changes and two ties in 10 ends. The sweeping of Becca Hamilton, Aileen Geving and Tabitha Peterson helped the U.S. win 7-6. The Americans improve to 2-3 overall, though because they lost their next game against Canada. Canada is 1-3 in the tournament, despite being the defending gold medalist.

Sweden, China and Great Britain also picked up wins last night.

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