POSTED: Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 12:45pm
UPDATED: Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 12:50pm
(CNN) — We interrupt life in the United States, where many people are enduring snow and ice and freezing temps, to bring you highlights from Sochi, where it reached 60 degrees on Wednesday.
1. The clock works orange
We went into the day thinking surely Shani Davis would interrupt the Dutch medal parade at long-track speed skating with a gold in the men's 1,000 meters.
And even if he doesn't win he'll be there on the podium.
No dice. The Dutch rolled on, winning gold and bronze, thanks to Stefan Grotthuis and Michel Mulder.
Davis was eighth, three-quarters of a second behind. Denny Morrison of Canada was the non-orange wearing silver medalist.
"I am not in shock, I am very in tune with reality. I am a bit disappointed but it's sports. You win some, you lose some," Davis said.
Or in the case of the Dutch, you win some, you win some more. They have four gold medals in Sochi and 10 medals overall. It's just short of their record haul in Nagano (five golds, 11 medals).
2. Back on top
For a second there, we were worried about American snowboarding. Only a second. No full-on panic.
We thought Kelly Clark and Hannah Teter would do well in the women's halfpipe (and they did).
But yeah, we totally missed on Kaitlyn Farrington, who gave America a good surprise one day after a bad surprise (let's just forget what happened) in the men's competition. Farrington edged Australia's Torah Bright and Clark to capture the gold.
It was the first time Farrington ever won a major competition.
"I couldn't be more happy. I have no idea how I did it," she said, after changing her run before the final.
We really like Farrington's style, on course and off. She loves to dance to psyche herself up.
"I try to keep it fun, because when I'm having fun I'll snowboard at my best," she said.
And you have to love someone who answers the question of how are you going to celebrate with: "It's going to be epic."
3. No taking it easy
You're already qualified for the semifinals. You'd be tempted to hold something back. Oh, no. Not when your opponent is your fierce rival.
The Canada-U.S. women's hockey match lived up to its billing with a frantic encounter won by the reigning Olympic champs 3-2 (that's Canadian, if you didn't know).
The game was chippy from the outset as both teams were pushing and shoving after whistles as they battled for the top seed in the knockout round, Bleacher Report said.
It is an interesting move, making the two queens of the sport and the other two best teams play in the group stage. But when the other option is a bunch of blowouts, it kind of makes sense. And the teams seem to like taking a swipe at each other before the knockout games.
At least the games between the two top dogs and the lesser teams have been more competitive. Finland and Switzerland have really made improvements.
Just in case you're not following the tournament, Finland and Switzerland made it into the quarterfinals as the bottom two teams of Group A. They will play the top two teams in Group B. And the winners of each of those two games will play Canada and the United States in the semis.
And then (we're making a safe assumption), Canada and the United States will battle in round 2 for the gold medal.
4. One gold for you, and one gold for you
Alpine skiing is timed to the hundredth of a second. For either Tina Maze of Slovenia or Dominique Gisin of Switzerland, it's a good thing they don't reveal the time to the one-thousandth.
The two downhillers tied for gold Wednesday with equal times of 1:41.57, something that has never happened at the Olympics before.
Strangely enough, there have been ties for other medals, but two skiers have never shared the top spot on the podium.
"Hundredths is always luck, but luck always comes back to you in life. One time you're on one side, one time you're on the other side," Gisin said.
You have to hand it to Gisin, who hasn't given up the sport after crashing out at Vancouver, crashing at the world championships last year and having NINE knee surgeries in her career.
And as rare as ties are, both have been a part of them before. Both were in their first World Cup victories.
So maybe we should have expected their first gold medals this way.
Because of the tie, no silver medal was awarded. Lara Gut of Switzerland won the bronze.
5. Lone voice of dissent
Protesting during the Sochi Games is much easier said than done, reports CNN's Ivan Watson. He traveled to the official area set aside for protests.
There was one person in little park beneath a newly constructed highway. The woman was protesting the interference of other countries in Russian affairs.
Each day at 6 p.m., she packs up her orange and black flag, her leaflets and sign board and heads home. Can't break the law, she says.
Other groups say they have applied for permits, but have been denied.
So for now, one woman, one cause, one nearly empty park.