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By the Numbers: A Curling Conquest, Big Air Stunner

The team of “rejects” made curling history for the United States, a surprise win in big air’s Olympic debut, and a squirrel flirted with death on the slopes. Here are the Pyeongchang Games by the numbers:5 The American men’s curling team, once known as “The Rejects,” celebrated its first gold medal after defeating Sweden, the top ranked team in the world. The captain, or skip, John Shuster scored an exceedingly rare five points in a period with his final rock in the eighth end — making the score 10-5 and assuring an almost certain win. Shuster had come back from such a dreadful performance at the Sochi Games that he was cut from the U.S.’s national high-performance program. The four-time Olympian returned to the Olympics with a new team — Tyler George, Matt Hamilton, John Landsteiner and alternate Joe Polo — and after they squeaked through the early games, defeated Sweden 10-7 in the fifth straight win over the best curlers in the world.Shuster was a member of the only other U.S. curling team to win a medal, a bronze in Turin in 2006. Before the match, Mr. T made a good luck call and Diddy posted a good luck message online. President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, was in the audience along with the king of Sweden.10 — A Canadian won the men’s big air in the event’s Olympic debut, just not the one everyone was expecting. Sebastien Toutant took the first-ever gold while teammates, Max Parrot and Mark McMorris, the event’s favorites, failed to medal after several falls. Toutant was ranked 10th at the end of the last World Cup season and had had back problems in the months before the Winter Games. He won with a combined score of 174.25 from his two best runs. “A couple of months ago I couldn’t even snowboard so it definitely feels great that I‘m able to ride at my best and to put the tricks down,” he told Reuters.American Kyle Mack took the silver medal, a stunning comeback after a 10th-place finish in the qualifying. “The whole reason I wanted to do snowboarding is to bring style into snowboarding,” Mack said. “It’s the main thing I’ve always worked at.” Great Britain’s Billy Morgan won the bronze. The U.S.’s Chris Corning finished fourth, and Red Gerard, the gold medal winner in the earlier slopestyle event, was right in fifth. Norway’s Marcus Kleveland had already been eliminated in the qualifying round.2 Ester Ledecka pulled off a rare Olympic double on Saturday, becoming the first woman to win gold in two sports at the same Winter Olympics. Ledecka returned to her best known sport, snowboarding, and won the parallel giant slalom to go with her shocking skiing victory in the Alpine super-G earlier in the Winter Games.The Czech star, top-ranked on the snowboarding circuit but never a threat until now in skiing, outraced Selina Joerg of Germany to the line in the final and won by 0.46 seconds. Compare that to 0.01-second edge in the super-G race that left her and the rest of the field in shock.She is the third athlete to win gold in two winter sports at the same Games, according to Gracenote Olympic, a company providing Olympic sports statistics. The last time was in 1928 in St. Moritz, when Norway’s Johan Groettumsbraaten won gold in both cross-country skiing and the Nordic combined. Four years earlier Thorleif Haug accomplished the same.15 Japan’s Nana Takagi blasted past her opposition to win the first women’s mass start speedskating gold medal, ahead of Kim Bo-reum of South Korea. This is Takagi’s second gold medal of the Pyeongchang Olympics.Irene Schouten of the Netherlands won bronze after skating too wide on the final corner and had to settle for bronze Saturday.In the men’s event, top favorite Lee Seung-hoon skated unleashed a final sprint that no one could match to take gold for South Korea. He has now won five Olympic medals from 2010 through 2018.This was South Korea’s first speedskating gold of the Pyeongchang Games, and its 15th medal overall, a new record. It won 14 medals in Vancouver in 2010, according to Gracenote Olympic.Belgian inline skater Bart Swings took silver ahead of Koen Verweij of the Netherlands on Saturday.5-3 Japan’s women’s curling team captured the country’s first Olympic medal in the sport, a bronze. The match at Gangneung Curling Centre pit Japan against 2014 bronze medalist Great Britain. Japan won 5-3 in a tight game. No Japanese team, men, women or mixed doubles, had until now won an Olympic medal in curling. Great Britain’s women’s team took gold at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. Going for the gold are South Korea’s “Garlic Girls,” named for the garlic grown in their hometown. They’ve become a global sensation with their success though they likely don’t know it. They’ve turned off their phones to keep distractions away. They will play Sweden tonight at 7:05 p.m. Watch live on NBCSN at 7:05 p.m. ET or on digital platforms.2-1 Switzerland beat the top-seeded Austria in the Alpine team skiing event in its Olympic debut. With the Swiss leading 2-1, they locked up the win when Austrian Marco Schwarz skied out along the side-by-side parallel slalom course.6-4 Canada took the bronze medal in hockey Saturday, beating the Czech Republic 6-4 for what would be an accomplishment for many players. But for the country said to have originated the modern-day sport and which already has nine hockey golds, it was a sore disappointment. Its defeat to the Russian team was described in the national media as a crushing loss and a dark day for Canadian hockey.The gold medal match up between the Russian team and Germany will be played tonight at 11 p.m. ET. Because of a doping scandal that affected the country’s entire Olympic program, the Russian national team has been banned from these Olympics — and the competitors are called the Olympic Athletes from Russia name. Watch live on NBCSN beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET Saturday or on digital platforms.7 Snowboarder Austria’s Daniela Ulbing just managed to dodge a grey squirrel that darted onto the slope during the heats for the women’s parallel giant slalom. Ulbing won her heat, and went on to finish 7th in the race. The squirrel ran free of the course. “When you think you’ve seen everything at the Olympic Winter Games…,” the announcer said. 38 Norway leads the medals table with 13 gold, 14 silver and 11 bronze. That breaks the record set at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics by the Americans, who won 37 medals.Photo Credit: Natacha Pisarenko/AP This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.
Source: NBC San Diego

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