Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Follow All The Winter Olympics Action Feb. 6-24 on NBC

Sochi Day 1: "Holy Crail" Brings First U.S. Gold at Winter Olympics

Key events from the first full day of competition at the Winter Games in Sochi

By Jon Schuppe
|  Saturday, Feb 8, 2014  |  Updated 4:20 PM EDT
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Best of the Sochi Olympics: Day 1

ASSOCIATED PRESS

American snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg won the first gold of the Winter Olympics in Sochi on Saturday.

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Saturday marked the first official day of competition at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. That included the awarding of the Games' first medals and some looming showdowns on ice and snow.

Here's what you need to know.

Sochi’s first gold goes to America

America can thank something called the “Holy Crail” for the first gold medal of the Sochi Olympics.

That’s what snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg named the trick he pulled for the first time Saturday, propelling him to a first-run score that no one could top.

Kotsenburg said he had no advance plans for the move, which he executed in his first big jump, rotating four-and-a-half times in a helicopter position while grabbing the back of his board and pulling his legs back. He landed cleanly. The crowd gasped. The judges gave him a 93.5. A little while later, he was on top of the podium, his first win in a big competition, on the grandest of stages. Kotsenburg, 20, is from Idaho and has a surfer-dude persona which was on full display afterward. "I kind of do random stuff all the time, never make a plan up," he said. "I had no idea I was even going to do a 1620 in my run until three minutes before I dropped. It's kind of what I'm all about."

Russia is still waiting for theirs

At the end of competition Saturday, Norway led the medal race, with four total, including a pair of golds. Canada and the Netherlands each had three medals, including one gold. America won two:  Kotensburg’s gold, and a bronze won by moguls skier Hannah Kearney, the defending champion who'd been widely expected to take gold.

And where was Russia, the host?

Shut out.

Biathlete Anton Shipulin was close to earning Russia’s first medal, gold at that. But he missed a target in the final shooting round, and ended up in fourth place. He said later, “I hate myself.”

The drought won't last long. Russia should begin picking up medals on Sunday.

Bode is back on top

The final training run in the men’s downhill established American Bode Miller as a leading contender for gold when official medal races begin on Sunday.

For the second time in three days, Miller — a five-time medalist — ended with the fastest time.

That sets up a showdown with Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal in what could be one of the most exciting events of the Sochi Games.

Miller has clearly been more aggressive in his training runs, while Svindal has admitted being more reserved.

Asked what his objectives were Saturday, Miller said with a smile: "Um, not kill myself was primary."
Svindal said of Miller: "He's skiing really well. That's his biggest advantage right now. Especially the top part, it's impressive.”

Also on Saturday, the downhill event suffered a bit of a snag during the bib draw for Sunday’s race.
The starting positions were drawn from a pot, but when two racers were put into the same spot, the Americans called for, and were granted, a redraw.

The redraw didn’t drastically affect the lineup among the top racers. Steven Nyman of the U.S. drew the No. 1 spot after Jan Hudec of Canada initially had it, the Associated Press reported.

Thank you, Meryl and Charlie

Figure skating pair Meryl Davis and Charlie White bailed out the Americans in the figure skating team competition, winning the ice dancing short program.

The first-place performance righted the Americans’ momentum after a lackluster Thursday. Teammates Ashley Wagner, who finished fourth in the ladies’ short program, and Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, who finished fourth in the pairs free skate, did well enough to keep the team in medal contention. They ended Saturday in third place overall.

Gold, however, is out of the question. The Russians pretty much have that wrapped up when competition concludes on Sunday. Canada is in second place.

Here’s Johnny!

Bobsledder Johnny Quinn pulled his own version of the scary scene from “The Shining” after getting stuck in the bathroom of his Olympic Village hotel room.

A former professional football player, Quinn had just finished showering when he found that the door had jammed. He didn’t have his phone, so he ripped a hole and climbed through.

Then his took a picture of it and posted it on Twitter with the hashtag "SochiJailBreak."

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