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Sport on Saturdays: The medal, the almost medal and a really, really cute puppy.

We’re now well into the 2014 Winter Olympics. And while there’s still a few days of competition to go, there’s already been plenty of news out of what have been a highly controversial and incredibly expensive Olympic games.

In case you haven’t been keeping up with the news, or if you need something to talk about around the dinner table tonight – here’s our round-up of what’s been happening over the last nine days. The good, the not-so-good, the bizarre and the epic…

Just as an FYI, you should know that this week’s Sport on Saturdays is sponsored by Female For Life. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.

1. THE MEDAL

This week, Australian snowboarder Torah Bright won a silver medal while competing in the final of the women’s halfpipe. It was an incredible achievement for 27-year-old Bright, who also won a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. When competing in the final, each snowboarder gets two runs in the halfpipe, and ends up with a score out of 100 for each.

Their best score goes towards a potential medal. It was a close competition, with incredibly high standards; in the end, Bright was just 0.25 points behind American gold medal winner Kaitlyn Farrington, who scored 91.75 with her second run. If you’re not quite familiar with the halfpipe event, check out a video of the run that qualified Bright for the final:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQfbXUyz4yc

Halfpipe isn’t Bright’s only event – a few days earlier, she had come seventh in the Slopestyle (a course with jumps and rails). And later this week, she’ll race Snowboard Cross (an course with jumps where several snowboarders race each other down).

2. THE ALMOST-MEDAL

27-year-old Australian skier, Anna Segal, came astonishingly close to nabbing another medal for Australia. Segal, who competes in the ski slopestyle event, finished fourth in the final after scoring 77 for her run. Segal was actually in the bronze medal position after her first run, and stayed there until the very end of the competition – only to be bumped out of third by Canadian skier Kim Lamarre.

There’s a few things that are especially remarkable about this story. Firstly, it’s the first time that slopestyle has ever been in the Olympics – meaning that Segal did exceptionally well to get Australia up there in the standings. And the other thing? Segal has been struggling for so long with a knee injury that she was even tempted to go home for surgery rather than compete in the Olympics. If you’d like to read our interview with the lovely Anna Segal, go here.

3. THE PUPPY-LOVER

Friends, hold onto your ovaries. Meet Gus Kenworthy, US skier and silver medalist. Kenworthy found a litter of puppies and a mummy dog outside the Gorki Media Center in Sochi, and is planning on adopting them and taking them home – which he should be able to do after getting them vaccinated on Monday. He posted some pictures of him with the puppies, which are quickly going viral…

4. THE MOST EPIC RECOVERY IN THE HISTORY OF EVER

Watch this. Just watch.

Indian luger Shiva Keshavan wiped out at high speed (think about 100km/h) during a race, and then recovered. Just like that. What a champion – especially considering that the guy had to train on highways in the Himalayas to compete in luging (because, you know, India does not have a lot of luge tracks on which to practise the Olympic sport).

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5. THE ATHLETE WHO WORSHIPS QUEEN B

This is US luge athlete, Kate Hansen. She warms up for her events by breaking it down to Beyonce tracks. And dayum, can she dance. Check it:

Hansen told NBC Sports: “My girl, B – she just gets me fierce and I get stoked and I have to… I have good mojo going on, so it’s just how I roll.” That’s our kind of girl.

6. THE SISTERS EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Day One at the Sochi Olympics saw something truly remarkable happen – two sisters take out a gold and a silver medal in the SAME EVENT, the women’s moguls. Justine Dufour-Lapointe scored 22.44 for the gold, and her older sister Chloé Dufour-Lapointe scored a 21.66 to nab the silver. But get this – oldest sister Maxine was also competing in the same event, finishing in 12th. The girls are all Canadian athletes, and it’s the first time that Canada has ever seen sisters on the same podium at the Winter Games. What a family.

7. THE SHAUN WHITE HATERS

Everyone’s been talking about Shaun White, the professional American snowboarder and skateboarder who already has two casual Olympic gold medals to his name. While he’s an incredible athlete, with more sponsorships and more money than just about every other snowboarder combined (he built a secret halfpipe in Perisher over the winter to practise on, all by himself), he hasn’t made a whole lot of friends over the years.

Mostly because he doesn’t share the same chilled-out, everyone’s-friends spirit that most snowboarders have. When White pulled out of one of his events – the snowboarding slopestyle – fearing injury and also wanting to focus on his halfpipe event, the reaction from fellow snowboarders was surprising.

“Shaun knows he won’t be able to win the slopes, that’s why he pulled out. He’s scared!” one Canadian snowboarder, Max Parrot tweeted. “Mr. White… Its easy to find excuses to pull out of a contest when you think you can’t win…” added another Canadian snowboarder, Sebastien Toutant.

The biting hasn’t stopped there – after White placed fourth in the halfpipe event, failing to win a medal, there wasn’t much of a sense of sadness amongst his teammates. “Well, fourth was a gift, first of all,” said US teammate Danny Davis. “You know it’s good for snowboarding, man. The world knows now that there are other snowboarders besides Shaun. It’s great, man, because there are a bunch of good riders in our sport and they deserve some credit, too.” Ouch.

8. THE UNLUCKIEST ATHLETE AT THE OLYMPICS

Olympic bobsledder Johnny Quinn is having a seriously bad run of luck in Sochi. First, he got stuck in a toilet and had to break his way out…

 

And then? He got stuck in an elevator. Unlucky. He reckons that on race day, he’ll shower with the door open and take the stairs…

COMING UP… Alpine skiing, ski jumping, speed skating, curling, snowboarding and figure skating are just some of the sports that will be happening over the next few days. Keep an eye on your television screen and cheer on those Aussies as they work towards another medal.

Have you been watching the Winter Olympics? What are you loving?

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