They must now work on generating more offense if they are to defend their Olympic title in an expected rematch against Canada in the gold medal game. Second in Group A, the United States can begin to fine-tune their goal-scoring streak starting with Friday’s quarter-final game against the Czech Republic.
“I’m happy to hit the reset button and focus on another opponent,” said Trainer Joel Johnson called. “And if we see Canada again, great. We hope it’s a chance to win.”
The focus is on the finish, especially after the Americans also struggled to knock out the Russian team on Saturday with five goals on 62 shots.
“We generated a number of offenses, but that offense didn’t create enough quality scoring chances,” Johnson said. “Shots in the net don’t win hockey games, goals do.”
In four games, the United States ranks fourth of 10 teams in goal efficiency, scoring 20 goals from 233 shots, leading the tournament. In comparison, Canada leads the tournament with 33 goals on 194 shots, followed by Japan (13 goals, 140 shots) and the Czechs (10, 111).
South Korea’s Hwang wins Olympic gold in the short distance
Good thing South Korea didn’t pack his skates and go home.
Angered by the disqualification of two of its short track speed skaters at the Beijing Games, the country filed grievances and its citizens flooded social media, urging the team to go home.
They stayed close and Hwang Dae-heon won gold in the men’s 1,500 meters.
He put his skate first in a tight final of the 10-man finals at the Capital Indoor Stadium, giving South Korea the title for the fourth time in six Olympics.
Hwang and teammate Lee June-seo had been disqualified in the semifinals of the 1,000 two days earlier. This prompted the South Korean contingent to complain to the International Skating Union and the International Olympic Committee about the judge’s verdict.
Fans in the short-haul-crazy country inundated the Korean Olympic Committee with phone calls demanding the team leave Beijing.
Hwang downplayed the passionate reaction to himself and Lee’s earlier DQs.
“The judges’ decisions came because I didn’t have a clean game,” he said through a translator. “Today’s race was the cleanest race and that was also our strategy, that’s why we were able to achieve this great result.”
Norwegian Ruud wins Olympic gold a year after his father’s death
Birch Ruud landed at the bottom of Big Air Shougang and unfurled a Norwegian flag with the colorful Nordic cross floating in the wind behind him.
A camera moved closer and he pulled down his sleeve to reveal a gold bracelet – a gift from his father.
“Dad,” he said, patting his heart. “You are with me.”
The 21-year-old Norwegian won a gold medal in the inaugural freestyle skiing Big Air event of the Olympics and has re-emerged as a leader in extreme sports after losing his father to cancer last year.
Like the American-born Chinese big-air gold medalist Eileen GuRuud came to the Beijing Games to win medals in big air, slopestyle and halfpipe – no action athlete has won three medals in the same year.
Ruud has vowed to win Olympic big air gold since middle school, even in a discipline that became a Winter Games event just this year. The final leg on his road to Olympic glory was painful.
His father, ØivindShe woke him up one night in July 2020 with devastating news: a cancer diagnosis. Nine months later he was gone.
Ruud had two Big Air gold medals at the Winter X Games and three World Cup victories before his father fell ill. He’s only had one World Cup win since then, and he’s admitted his father’s illness distracted him from skiing.
His efforts to line up for Beijing were cut short by a knee injury nine weeks ago and he skipped last month’s Winter X Games to play it safe amid the coronavirus.
But the rust came off quickly. He is sure that Øivind would be proud of the result.
“I’m just grateful to be in this position and I’m grateful for all the time I’ve had with my dad,” he said. “I still have my family and a lot of people who support me and I’m very grateful for that.”
Vinzenz Geiger collects, wins Olympic gold in Nordic combined
Vincent Geiger of Germany won Olympic gold in Nordic Combined, recovering from a deficit of 1 minute 26 seconds and crossing the finish line first in a 10 km cross-country race after finishing 11th in ski jumping.
“I didn’t think it was possible to get the gold medal,” he said. “I was thinking about the bronze medal before the start.”
Joerg Graabak of Norway finished eight tenths behind to take silver. Luke Greiderer of Austria took bronze after starting the cross-country phase of the competition in second place.
As Greiderer crossed the finish line, he collapsed and briefly passed out.
“I was so exhausted I couldn’t even be happy,” he said. “I just lay down and everything was black. Then I looked at the goal wall and I saw that I was third and I said, ‘I did it.’”
Germany won gold in all three Nordic combined events in South Korea four years ago, including the team competition with Geiger.