From the Shibutani siblings to national champs Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue back on the ice, the debut of snowboarding big air as an Olympic event and nail-biting semifinals in women's ice hockey, there was no shortage of must-see action on Day 9 of the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
Without further ado, here are our four to Watch on Day 9 (covering the action Sunday night through early Monday on the East Coast):
1. Top Three U.S. Ice Dance Teams Advance
All three American teams are in position to contend for a medal in ice dance following the short dance portion of the competition Monday at Gangneung Ice Arena. The favorites entering the competition also asserted themselves, with Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir posting a world record-score for short dance.
The reigning United States champions, Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, are in third place with a score of 77.75, two-hundredths of a point ahead of the brother-sister pair of Maia and Alex Shibutani. Madison Chock and Evan Bates are seventh, after receiving a season-high score of 75.45.
Virtue and Moir, who lead the field with 83.67 points, were Team Canada’s flag bearers at the opening ceremony and have a chance to become the most decorated figure skaters in Olympic history. A trip to the podium in Pyeongchang would net them their fifth medal between ice dance and the team figure skating event. The short dance will be followed by the free dance Tuesday (Monday night in the United States).
2. Connecticut's Julia Marino Advances in Women's Big Air
Team USA members Jamie Anderson, Julia Marino and Jessika Jenson all survived the women’s big air qualification round Monday (Sunday night in the U.S.). Anderson rebounded with a strong second run and stumbling during her first attempt. Marino, 20, made her Pyeongchang debut during the women’s slopestyle, finishing 11th.
They’ll be strong medal contenders in the big air, but they’ll have to catch Austrian Anna Gasser, who’s known for pulling off tricky technical moves and who finished first in the qualifying round.
The women’s qualifying round was the debut of big air in the Olympics. It’s as much a spectacle as it is a sport — competitors perform complex moves down a hill after launching off large jumps, aiming for height, distance, style and a clean landing. The scores are out of 100 and the top scorers will go for gold Friday (Thursday night in the U.S.).
3. US Women’s Hockey Team Tops Finland, Advances to Gold Medal Game
The United States women’s hockey team advanced to the gold medal game for a third straight Olympics after beating Finland 5-0 in the semifinal.
Gigi Marvin opened the scoring just 2:25 into the opening period. Dani Cameranesi extended the USA’s advantage with two goals and an assist. Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Hilary Knight had a goal apiece as they turned a 5-on-3 into two goals 34 seconds apart in the second.
Maddie Rooney made 14 saves for the shutout.
The Americans will play Canada in the finals.
4. Bascue and USA Teammates Out of Contention for Bobsled Gold
Team USA's two-man bobsledders struggled on their first run and quickly found themselves out of medal contention.
Codie Bascue, 23, of Whitehall, New York, was making his Olympics debut in Pyeongchang.
Bascue, driving with Steve Holcomb’s name on his sled (Holcomb, who was meant to pilot a team in PyeongChang, passed away in 2017), hit a rough line at the top of the hill and was never able to recover in Run 1. He and Sam McGuffie were 0.91 off of medal pace after their first run. They weren't able to improve much on the second run.
Bascue, who now lives in Lake Placid, began sliding when he was only 8; he loved bobsled because of the extremes of a "crazy" start line to being "more focused than you have ever been in your life," once in the sled, according to NBCOlympics.com.