Not even 24 hours after snowboarding legend Shaun White failed to reach the podium while attempting to achieve a highly anticipated three-peat in halfpipe, two more high-profile American athletes fell short of their own gold medal expectations when the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi continued Feb. 12.
Alpine skiier Julia Mancuso and her German rival Maria Hoefl-Riesch, who took bronze and gold in the Feb. 10 super combined final, entered the women's downhill event expected to battle it out for gold. Although Mancuso looked clean at the top of the run, she lost time as she traveled down the mountain, crossing the line in fourth place before eventually finishing eighth. Hoefl-Riesch fared no better, placing just 13th in the event that saw the awarding of alpine skiing's first ever Olympic double gold medals, as Slovenian Tina Maze and Dominique Gisin turned in identical top times of 1:41.57. Gisin's countrwoman Lara Gut took the bronze.
Although disappointed with the outcome, Mancuso vowed to "hit the reset button" as she prepares for the super-g.
Hours later, long track speedskater Shani Davis, who entered the Sochi Games heavily favored to defend his Torino and Vancouver titles in the 1,000 meter event, finished a jaw-dropping, virtually unimaginable eighth, well off the medal podium. The Dutch claimed their seventh and eighth Sochi Olympic medals in men's speedskating --out of nine available-- with a surprise gold for Stefan Groothuis and bronze for Michel Mulder. Canadian Denny Morrison claimed the silver.
Team USA's last real chance to medal on day five of the 2013 Winter Olympics rests with the three athletes --Kelly Clark, Hannah Teter, and Kaitlyn Farrington-- who will compete in the ladies' halfpipe final, which is scheduled to begin at 9:30 AM Pacific time on Feb. 12.