On the second full day of competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics, the United States earned its first medal. As expected, that medal came in women’s snowboard slopestyle, but in a bit of a surprise, it was won by someone other than Jamie Anderson. Elsewhere, the figure skating team event continued into its second day, the U.S. women’s hockey team played its third game, and Americans competed in the women’s moguls final. Here’s a look at what you may have missed overnight…
In women’s snowboard slopestyle, Team USA won its first medal of the 2022 Winter Games, and New Zealand won its first Winter Olympic gold medal ever.
It all came down to the final run of the contest as Zoi Sadowski-Synnott stomped a huge, clean run — which featured a switch backside 900, frontside double cork 1080 and backside 1080 on the jumps — to move up from second to first and take the win. It gave the New Zealander her second career Olympic medal and her country’s first-ever gold following the bronze medal she won in big air at the 2018 Games.
Sadowski-Synnott, 20, entered as the slight favorite but was expected to battle with American Jamie Anderson, the event’s two-time defending gold medalist, for the win. However, Anderson fell on two of her three runs and made a mistake on her third, leaving her outside of medal contention. Instead it was Anderson’s teammate, Connecticut native Julia Marino, stepping up to challenge Sadowski-Synnott for the victory.
Despite being pegged as a gold medal contender four years ago in PyeongChang, Marino was somewhat off the radar entering these Olympics. But her second run, which included a cab double underflip 900 and a frontside double cork 1080, was arguably the best of her career, and it vaulted her to the top of the leaderboard until Sadowski-Synnott’s final run. After all the scores had come in, Marino’s run was more than enough for a silver medal, giving the U.S. its first hardware of this year’s Games.
Sadowski-Synnott, Marino, Anderson and the rest of the slopestyle athletes still have one more chance to compete with big air coming up in eight days.
Results: Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle
🥇 Zoi Sadowski-Synnott (NZL)
🥈 Julia Marino (USA)
🥉 Tess Coady (AUS)
Later in the day, qualifying was held on the men’s side with the top 12 riders advancing into the next day’s final. Su Yiming, a 17-year-old from China, surprised the field by putting down a creative and technical run for the day’s top score. Canadian stars Mark McMorris, Max Parrot and Sebastien Toutant all advanced out of the qualifying round too, as did a trio of American contenders: Sean Fitzsimons, Red Gerard and Chris Corning. Notable riders to miss the final included Norway’s Marcus Kleveland and the United States’ Dusty Henricksen.
In her second Olympic appearance, U.S. freestyle skier Jaelin Kauf (Alta, Wyoming) captured Olympic silver in women’s moguls at the 2022 Winter Olympics behind Australia’s Jakara Anthony. Anthony is the first Australian woman to win a medal in moguls. It’s the second medal of the Winter Games for the U.S. and second silver after Julia Marino’s (Westport, CT) second-place finish in snowboard slopestyle.
Daughter of two professional moguls skiers, Kauf finished 7th at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. U.S. skiers Olivia Giaccio ended in 6th, while Hannah Soar and Kai Owens didn’t advance to the final, finishing in 7th and 10th overall respectively.
Results: Women’s Moguls
🥇 Jakara Anthony (AUS)
🥈 Jaelin Kauf (USA)
🥉 Anastasia Smirnova (ROC)
The United States entered Day 2 of the figure skating team event with a two-point lead on the competition. After two additional events — the women’s short program and the men’s free skate — the U.S. ended the day looking up, three points behind ROC.
In the women’s short program, ROC’s 15-year-old phenom Kamila Valieva was perfection on ice; she became the fourth woman ever to land a triple axel in the Olympics. For the United States, Karen Chen stumbled and placed fifth.
Three legs of the team event remain to decide the medal winners: The pairs’ free skate (Sunday, Jan. 6 at 8:15 p.m. ET), free dance (Sunday, Jan. 6 at 9:30 p.m. ET), and women’s free skate (Sunday, Jan. 6 at 10:35 p.m. ET).
The U.S. women remained undefeated after three preliminary games following a dominant 8-0 shutout of Switzerland, just one day after shutting out ROC, 5-0.
Goaltender Alex Cavallini stepped up for 12 saves in her first career Olympic start, while Kelly Pannek led the team with two goals and an assist. Jesse Compher and veteran Hilary Knight also found the net twice, while Amanda Kessel and Dani Cameranesi scored a goal a piece.
The U.S. will have a day off before renewing its most intense rivalry with a preliminary game against Canada on Monday, Feb. 8 at 11 p.m. ET.
Earlier at Wukesong Sports Centre, China and Japan took things to shootout, with the host nation grabbing its first hockey win of the 2022 Games.
Johannes Ludwig, 35, became the oldest gold medalist in men’s singles luge, delivering Germany its third gold medal in the event out of the last four Olympics with a four-run total time of 3:48.735.
Austria’s Wolfgang Kindl settled for silver (0.160 second back) and Italy’s Dominik Fischnaller, who missed a medal at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics by 0.002 seconds, earned the bronze. Felix Loch, a three-time gold medalist from Germany, was considered a gold-medal contender entering the event but finished in fourth.
Americans Chris Mazdzer finished 8th for the first U.S. top-10 this year, Tucker West followed in 13th (his best-ever Olympic finish in his third appearance), and Jonathan Gustafson rounded out the U.S. crew in 19th at his first Games.
Results: Men’s Singles
🥇 Johannes Ludwig (GER)
🥈 Wolfgang Kindl (AUT)
🥉 Dominik Fischnaller (ITA)
Skating in the final pairing, van der Poel’s split time had him in fourth place with three laps to go, but he finished strong and eventually overtook the Netherland’s Patrick Roest for the top spot with a time of 6:08.84. Roest, the 1500m silver medalist from four years ago, had previously set an Olympic record earlier in the event.
Results: Men’s 5000m
🥇 Nils van der Poel (SWE)
🥈 Patrick Roest (NED)
🥉 Hallgeir Engebraaten (NOR)
Cross Country Skiing
The men’s 30km skiathlon provided a surprise cross-country skiing outcome: No Norwegians reached the podium.
Finland’s Iivo Niskanen held on for the bronze ahead of Norway’s Hans Christer Holund and Paal Golberg. Norwegian cross-country powerhouse Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo was not a factor, finishing nine minutes off the pace setter in 40th.
Results: Men’s Skiathlon
🥇 Alexander Bolshunov (ROC)
🥈 Denis Spitzsov (ROC)
🥉 Iivo Niskanen (FIN)
Ryoyu Kobayashi delivered Japan’s first gold medal in men’s individual normal hill since 1972, when the country swept the podium in the event in front of a home crowd at the Sapporo Olympics. It’s Japan’s first medal of any color in the discipline since 1998 in Nagano and Kubacki’s second Olympic medal overall in his third Olympic Games, having won bronze in the Men’s Team event during the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. Kobayashi had a 1st-round score of 125.4 with a jump distance of 104.5m, followed by a final round score of 129.6 and a jump distance of 99.5m for a total of 275.0.
Results: Men’s Normal Hill
🥇 Ryoyu Kobayashi (JPN)
🥈 Manuel Fettner (AUT)
🥉 Dawid Kubacki (POL)
The U.S. mixed doubles entry of Vicky Persinger and Chris Plys now sits at 3-5 after losing to the Czech Republic and Switzerland. They have one game left to play but are eliminated from playoff contention. Team USA will finish round robin play and their Olympics on Sunday at 8:05 p.m. ET against Great Britain.
Elsewhere, the Australian team had a rollercoaster day. The mixed doubles pairing of Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt entered the day with an 0-7 record in round-robin play, and it appeared they would be forced to forfeit their remaining two games after Gill tested positive for COVID-19. Before arriving at the Olympics, Gill had tested positive and then alternated between negative and positive in subsequent tests, but she was allowed to compete under close contact arrangements after consecutive negative tests, according to the Australian Olympic Committee.
Gill and Hewitt were prepared to head home and forfeit their final games, but not long after, they were allowed back in the tournament after being cleared by a medical expert panel. With a second chance at getting a first win, the Australians took full advantage by earning a 9-6 victory over Switzerland in their penultimate game — a significant development for a team that was considered a long shot to even make it to the Olympics.