Readers ask us
Since Canada and the USA were both undefeated and most likely the two best teams in the men's hockey tournament, why did they play each other in the semifinal rather than be allowed to try to meet in the final game and play for the gold?
Canada and the United States ended up meeting in the semifinals because of where they were seeded for the tournament's elimination round under the tournament format set by the International Ice Hockey Federation.
At the end of the preliminary round, in which each of the 12 teams played three games, all 12 were seeded for the elimination round. Sweden was the top seed because it won all its games in regulation. The United States and Canada both had two regulation wins and a win not in regulation (overtime-shootout); the U.S. was seeded second based on the goal-differential tiebreaker and Canada third. Finland (two regulation wins and a nonregulation loss) was the fourth seed. As the 2-3 seeds, the U.S. and Canada were in the same side of the final-eight bracket and on track to meet in the semis.
The streak is over
A medal-less Saturday means the United States won't become the fourth country to medal on every day of a Winter Games. But with 27 medals, the U.S. team already has its most in a Games not in North America (37 in Vancouver in 2010, 34 in Salt Lake City in 2002), and it should finish no lower than third in total medals in these Games.
Still, the drop in medals from 2010 despite the addition of 12 events for these Games was a topic at a U.S. Olympic Committee news conference Saturday. "It's not as though we're doing worse," said Alan Ashby, the USOC's chief of sports performance. "The whole level of competition and the diversity is growing. It's great for the Olympic movement. … Things don't always shake out the way you wanted them to."
Quote of the day
"The president of the Austrian ski federation said to me, 'If you win the Olympics, I will pay for you to go on holiday to Hawaii.' I didn't make it, but maybe he will give me a trip to Egypt."
Austria's Benjamin Karl, who got bronze in snowboard's men's parallel giant slalom Saturday
Russians celebrating Russia
They come in Red Army hats, silly hats, even cowboy hats. They have painted faces and wigs in the national colors. A few wear bear costumes, tongue-in-cheek displays as much for the TV cameras as for the tourists.
Every day of the Games a constant stream of fans has flowed from the railway station into the Olympic Park in Sochi, and most of them are Russian, and they want you to know it.
Though many of them are from Sochi or nearby, some have traveled from far-flung corners of Russia. Their flags proudly carry the name of their towns or cities and give a sense of how these Games have come to represent a collective Russian celebration, not only for winning medals, but also for simply being here.
Compiled from Times staff, wires