The United States took home just one medal on Day 9 of the Sochi Games, but it couldn’t have gone to a more deserving athlete. In her final Olympics, Noelle Pikus-Pace was in tears after winning the silver medal in the women’s skeleton. Pikus-Pace’s leg was shattered by a bobsled in an accident in 2005 that cost her a shot in the 2006 Turin Games. She then finished fourth in 2010 at the Vancouver Games, missing a medal by a tenth of a second. She decided to retire after Vancouver to spend more time with family, but after a tragic miscarriage two years ago, she decided to give it one more go in Sochi. “It was worth the wait,” Pikus-Pace said. “It was worth every minute of it."
The Americans failed to medal in Alpine skiing for the second straight event, coming up empty in the super-combined downhill event on Friday. Vancouver gold medalist Bode Miller finished sixth, while 2013 super-combined world champion Ted Ligety finished a disappointing 12th. Other Americans Jared Goldberg finished 11th and Andrew Weibrecht crashed in the middle of his slalom run and did not finish. Sandro Viletta of Switzerland won gold with a combined time of 2:45.20. Croatia's Ivica Kostelic won silver and Italy's Christof Innerhofer took home the bronze.
Despite two falls, 19-year-old Yuzuru Hanyu – who was boosted by his record-setting short program on Thursday – took home gold for Japan in the men's figure skating event. Canada's Patrick Chan won the silver and Denis Ten of Kazakhstan won the bronze. American Jason Brown had a chance to medal with a clean run, but small errors dropped him to ninth place. Fellow American Jeremy Abbott redeemed himself after a Thursday fall (that led to people calling him a "choker") with a personal best score of 160.12 to finish in 12th place.
[Photos: 5 epic outfits of Evgeni Plushenko]
Jeff Carter of Team Canada notched a natural hat trick in the second period of Canada's 6-0 win over Austria in men's hockey. Carter was given the game puck for his efforts, but he opted to give the puck to goalie Roberto Luongo for registering a shutout. Luongo, though, gave the puck back to Carter. "He got the hat trick. I got plenty of pucks back home. I told him to keep that one," Luongo said.
Elsewhere in hockey, Team USA will start Jonathan Quick in net against Russia on Saturday and Swedish captain Henrik Zetterberg will miss the remainder of the Olympics with a herniated disc – a tough blow for Team Sweden.
Russian President Vladimir Putin made a surprise appearance at the USA House on Friday. Of course, the building was checked for several hours by security before his arrival, but everything was pleasant from both sides as Putin met with American committee members and athletes and was given food, drinks and several gift bags. Presidential life in Russia doesn't sound too bad.
"I would just hold my middle finger in the air and say a big 'F you' to everyone who has ever said that to me because they have never stood in my shoes. They've never had to do what I had to do. Nobody has had to stand center ice before a million people and put an entire career on the line for eight minutes of their life when they've been doing it for 20-some years. And if you don't think that's not hard, you're a damn idiot."
– Jeremy Abbott to those who labeled him a "choker"
— Make-A-Wish America (@MakeAWish) February 14, 2014
Alpine skiing women's super-G (2 a.m. ET) – Without Lindsey Vonn competing, can Julia Mancuso or another American get USA back onto the Alpine podium?
Men's ice hockey: USA vs. Russia (7:30 a.m. ET) – It's not exactly the "Miracle on Ice" situation of 1980, but these are still two of the top teams in the field. Can Alex Ovechkin and the home country hold off the offensive firepower of the Americans?
Men's large hill ski jumping (1:35 p.m. ET) – Kamil Stoch of Poland dominated the normal hill event. In fact, the 11th-place finisher's score was closer to the silver medalist's score than the silver medalist's score was to Stoch's. That's domination. Can he do it again?
More Winter Olympics coverage on Yahoo Sports: