Sunday Olympic Digest: Americans Get Some Silver; Alex and Maia Shibutani Are Back on the Ice

The Shib Sibs and U.S. women's hockey team are back in action on Sunday night in PyeongChang.
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After winning zero medals on Saturday, the Americans stepped it up a little on Sunday in PyeongChang. Team USA added a couple silvers to the count while Norway continues to rake in the gold, proving their supremacy in all things winter.

In his second Olympic appearance Saturday, 23-year-old Nick Goepper snagged the silver in men’s freeski slopestyle, becoming the first U.S. male to win two medals in freestyle skiing in Winter Games history.

A small-town kid from in southeastern Indiana farming town, Goepper was just 19 when he was part of the American team that swept the podium in Sochi in the same event. But after the Olympics, Goepper came down hard. He recently opened up about the depression, alcohol abuse and suicidal thoughts that followed his trip around the media circuit with gold-medalist Joss Christensen and silver winner Gus Kenworthy. “It was real messed up,” Goepper said in a video interview with the X Games last month.

Kenworthy, the gold-medal favorite, didn’t make the podium but still considered the trip to Korea a win. Sochi champ Joss Christensen tore his ACL last year and wasn’t able to make the team.

In the men’s giant slalom, Team USA’s two-time medalist Ted Ligety wasn’t able to bag it up in PyeongChang. Ligety landed at a disappointing 15th place, but his kid didn’t care.

Instead, Austrian Marcel Hirscher took the giant slalom gold. He did that on Monday, too, in the alpine combined, and is the favorite to win the slalom on Wednesday. The guy can’t get enough.

Japan’s Nao Kodaira won gold in the women’s 500m speed skating event with a new Olympic record of 36.94 seconds. Lee Sang-Hwa of Korea came in second for silver, and Czech skater Karoline Erbanova took the bronze.

The Norwegians scooped up an 11th cross-country skiing medal in the men’s 4×10km relay, coming in ahead of the Olympic Athletes from Russia who have yet to grab a gold in PyeongChang sans their doping countrymen. France took the bronze, and the U.S. brought up the rear, sliding across the finish line over nine minutes after Norway.

French biathlete Martin Fourcade, 29, crashed into his second gold after two missed targets and a stumble, finishing barely ahead of Germany’s Simon Schempp in the men’s 15km mass start. We almost called it? Norway took bronze.

Back on the ski slopes, the men’s aerials finals left 21-year-old American Jon Lillis at eighth place after capturing the highest score in the qualifying round. The skier from Rochester, N.Y. was competing for his family—his brother Chris, 19, who was an Olympic contender until a December ACL tear, and their youngest brother Mikey who unexpectedly passed away in his sleep in October at 17. Ukrainian skier Oleksandr Abramenko won gold, China’s Jia Zongyang took silver and Ilia Burov came in third for the OAR.

Must-Watch Events

Ice Dance: Short Dance 8:00 p.m. ET

The Shib Sibs—Maia and Alex Shibutani—will be back on the ice Monday for the short dance, which will air live at 8:00p.m. ET. Team USA has two more pairs in the competition: Madison Chock and Evan Bates, and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue. Hubbell and Donohue share coaches with the competition at their Montreal-based training facility: Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and the French duo Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron all have a chance to share the podium. After the free dance on Tuesday, SI’s Brian Cazeneuve expects the Canadians will take gold, the French pair silver and the Shibutanis bronze.

Women’s Ski Halfpipe Qualifications 8:43 p.m. ET

At the event’s Sochi debut, Maddie Bowman took home the gold. The 24-year-old Californian hopes to maintain her dominance in PyeongChang. Qualifications air tonight and the medal event Monday night here on the east coast.

Women's Hockey Semifinals: USA vs. Finland, 11:10 p.m. ET

The U.S. women suffered a chippy loss to rival Canada in the pool play finale. For a shot at redemption—and the gold medal that's eluded them since 2002—the Americans will have to get through up-and-coming Finland, a team they beat in their PyeongChang opener. 

Tweet of the Day

Gus Kenworthy got some very welcome encouragement on Saturday:

Daily Reading and Videos

Athlete to Root For

Seventeen-year-old snowboarder Hailey Langland is competing in the qualifying round for big air. She’s coming off a gold medal at the 2017 X Games in the event. SI’s Cazeneuve hasn’t predicted a medal for her, but she's ready to prove us all wrong. American Julia Marino is also competing in big air, and is likely to podium.