Many of the big Winter Olympics events happen after dark in Sochi, Russia — morning or early afternoon stateside. But plenty happens during the day in Sochi, too. So by the time Americans get out of bed, they’re already hours behind on Olympics news. But fear not, dear reader: We’re here to catch you up on the stories you may have missed overnight, so you can get a gold meal in sports talk around the watercooler on Friday morning.
The Early Results Are In
In Friday’s earliest medal action, Marielle Thompson of Canada took gold in the women’s ski cross — which, unfortunately, did not feature a hilarious photo finish like the men’s event Thursday. Sweden topped China for the curling bronze in a precursor to Friday’s gold-medal match between Canada and Great Britain. On the American side, Mikaela Shiffrin is gunning for gold in women’s slalom — something a woman from Team USA hasn’t medaled in for 42 years.
Pussy Riot Is Out
Multiple police detainments, one horsewhip assault and millions of Internet eyeballs later, Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot says its three-day visit to the Winter Olympics is over. The band — vociferous opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin — became a major side story over the past week in an Olympics that was hyped to be a target for protesters but has so far been tame and orderly.
The band’s final press event in Sochi, like most of its events, caused quite a scene. Some protesters wielding frozen chickens mocked the band, while plain-clothes police officers infiltrated the crowd of spectators. The full New York Times report is well worth your time.
Still reeling from Team USA’s stunning overtime loss to Canada in women’s hockey for the gold medal on Thursday? You’re not alone, if streaming numbers for the match are any indication:
— Lou Dubois (@dubois) February 21, 2014
In other women’s hockey detritus, goalie Julie Chu has been granted the honor of acting as Team USA’s flag bearer for the games’ closing ceremony on Sunday.
Figure Skating Controversy
Was Adelina Sotnikova’s figure skating gold medal for host country Russia on Thursday rigged? That is the suspicion of many, centered primarily around the fact that Yuna Kim was a surprising snub for the top honor. More than 1.6 million people have signed this petition demanding an investigation of the result.
The Medal Count (Not That Anyone’s Counting, Right?)
Ah, the Olympics: Communion with fellow athletes, understanding and compassion across cultural barriers, and winning more medals than every other country, dammit. No one’s going to tell you how much they want to top the list of Olympic medals, but it’s a competition everyone follows.
With two-and-a-half days of competitions left, the U.S. leads the overall medal standings with 25. Following closely behind is Russia with 23; Canada and the Netherlands are tied with 22 apiece. Norway has the most golds (10) and has won 21 medals overall. You can see the full standings, updated live, right here. Here’s the current count:
What to watch for Friday: The day’s marquee event, at least for the entire North American continent, will be Team USA and Canada facing off in the men’s hockey semifinals at 12 p.m. ET for the right to face Sweden in the final. It’s probably all anyone will be talking about on Twitter for the following three hours, so consider yourself forewarned.
The men’s curling gold medal match started at 8:30 a.m. ET, so if you hurry, you might still be able to catch the end. Biathlon aired at 9:30 a.m. ET, and short track speed skating relays are on at 11:30 a.m. ET. As always, you can find the day’s full event schedule and links to live streams right here.