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Fourth-Place Medal

Sochi, Day 1: U.S. has some work to do to medal in team figure skating

Graham Watson
Fourth-Place Medal

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1. The United States is tied for fifth (technically in seventh after tiebreakers) following a mediocre day on the ice during the inaugural team figure skating competition. U.S. champions Jeremy Abbott and the pairs team of Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir both had botched jumps and falls that put the Americans in a precarious position with the women and ice dancing short programs remaining. Only the top five teams will move on to the free skates. But not to fear, even though things look bleak for the U.S., the ice dancing team of Meryl Davis and Charlie White is the reigning world champ and should – should – help the U.S. into the next round.

[ Video: Meryl Davis, Charlie White look to cement legacy ]

2. Jamie Anderson’s road to gold has some serious competition. America’s best female snowboarder posted a 93.50 in her first run in the inaugural slopestyle event – good enough to give her a direct pass to the finals – but it wasn’t enough to beat Austria’s Anna Gasser, who posted a 95.50. Anderson didn’t go on a second run and she and teammate Karly Shorr will get to watch the semifinals on Sunday while gearing up for the final rounds. No American men automatically qualified for the finals, but will have one final chance in the semifinals on Saturday.

3. American mogul skier Hannah Kearney started her gold medal defense with a top score of 76.83 percent to clinch her spot in Saturday’s finals. Kearney has endured multiple major injuries during her career, including breaking two ribs and bruising her liver during a training crash in October 2012. Kearney, who can be spotted on the course by trademark pigtails hanging out of the back of her helmet, is trying to become the first freestyle skier to win multiple gold medals. She’s off to a pretty good start.

4. United States downhill skier Bode Miller might not have been the man to beat coming into the Sochi Games, but after posting the fastest time in training on Thursday, he definitely opened up some eyes. Miller zoomed down the course in 2 minutes, 7.75 seconds. This was the same course where Miller injured a knee a couple years ago and was forced to miss all of last year because of surgery. Miller, who was once known for his Olympic partying, is in his fifth Games and told media he’s less nervous and less excited than previous Games. But, he said, that just makes him more focused on winning.

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Remember when planking was like the cool thing to do in 2011? Well, Australian aerial skier David Morris is singlehandedly trying to bring it back in extreme fashion.

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As far as we know, Morris is the first Olympic athlete to use the coveted Olympic rings as his own personal jungle gym.

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"It's a challenging course. A lot of impact for everyone. Little 15-year-olds are, like, 'I'm not even old and my back is still sore every day. Not even from crashing, just from riding.'"

- American snowboarder Jamie Anderson on the conditions of the slopestyle course following Thursday’s qualification.

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• Opening Ceremony, 11 a.m. ET LIVE (online only), 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC

Watch the parade of athletes and the official start to the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. NBC is not broadcasting this live on its website, so if you want to watch as it happens, you’ll have to do some searching for an online feed.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter!

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