Sochi Olympics gold medal count: US back in the hunt (+video)

Team USA sweeps the freestyle ski slopestyle in only the third US sweep in Winter Olympic history, and Germany pulls ahead in the gold medal count. 

By , Staff writer

The US swung back to the upper ranks of the medal standings today after a spectacular sweep of the first-ever men’s Olympic freestyle ski slopestyle.

The US is now tied with the Netherlands for the second-highest total medal haul (12) and is in a four-way tie for the second-most gold medals (four each, with Canada, Norway, and the Netherlands). But no one holds a candle to Germany’s gold medal haul; it leads the pack with seven. 

The surprise ski slopestyle sweep was a welcome boost to Team USA, which was beset by discouraging losses by medal favorites earlier in the week. In an event that the Monitor’s Sochi correspondent called “thrilling,” Joss Christiansen, Gus Kenworthy, and Nicholas Goepper flipped and triple corked their way into history, turning in the first US Winter Olympic medal sweep since the men’s snowboard halfpipe in 2002. 

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“The best thing about the event from an American perspective, clearly, is that the medal sweep means everyone will watch Joss Christensen win gold, Gus Kenworthy silver, and Nick Goepper bronze,” wrote the Monitor’s Mark Sappenfield from Sochi.

The best thing about it from a spectator's perspective was that it was a riot no matter who was coming down the hill. 

The world has already caught a glimpse of slopestyle with the snowboard competition. But don't be fooled. This was like another universe.

In other events, the Germans boosted their gold medal count by continuing their complete dominance of sliding on sleds on high-speed ice tracks: The Germans took the gold medal in the team luge today, meaning it has now grabbed the gold medal in all four luge events of these Games. German Erik Lesser also added a silver medal to the Germany tally in the men’s biathlon.

China – which had been concerned going into the Games that its star speed skater was out with a broken angle – ­grabbed a pair of gold medals with victories in the women’s 500-meter short track and 1,000-meter speed skating events.

Russia saw a boost in the standings with a silver in the team luge and bronze in the men’s biathlon. It also kicked off men’s ice hockey with a 5 - 2 victory over Slovenia in the first round of play. The Russian hockey team, which hasn’t won an Olympic gold medal since 1992, is under enormous pressure to win on home ice, explains Sappenfield:

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