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While you were sleeping: ups and downs for U.S., history for Norway

The more things change at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, the more they stay the same. Norway remains handily atop the medal heap, now with a whopping 33 total top-three finishes, including 13 golds, in South Korea. The United States did its part to keep pace, matching the Norwegians’ four medals on Wednesday with four of its own.

But with just a few days left in these Games, even Germany (24 total medals, 12 gold) and Canada (21 total, nine gold) will be hard-pressed to catch the winter’s all-time leaders before Sunday’s Closing Ceremony.

Here’s a quick look back at the most important takeaways you (probably) missed while counting sheep in your sleep.

Lindsey Vonn goes out toward the top: If Wednesday’s downhill ski race is, in fact, the final Olympic event in which Lindsey Vonn medals, it won’t go down as a fairytale ending. She crossed the finish line behind Italy’s Sofia Goggia, the eventual gold medalist, and was subsequently surpassed by Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel for silver. But Vonn’s bronze, while bittersweet in some respects, gave the 33-year-old plenty to celebrate after a series of devastating injuries on the slopes. “I wish I could keep skiing.”

Lindsey Vonn celebrates her bronze medal for ladies’ downhill Alpine skiing at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. (AP)

Americans not so great on skates: The ice wasn’t nice to Team USA overnight. The U.S. women took bronze in team speed skating after (potentially) conceding a shot at gold out of pure “strategery.” Bradie Tennell, Mirai Nagasu and Karen Chen each fell during their short programs, all but assuring the Americans’ dry spell in ladies’ figure skating will continue until 2022. Meanwhile, the men’s hockey team had every opportunity to advance to the semifinals, only to suffer an untimely dry spell in a shootout defeat to the Czech Republic. Something else to blame on NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

U.S. sprints into skiing history: America did get some unequivocally good news out of PyeongChang. For the first time in Olympic history, the U.S. can claim a medal in a ski sprint event. And not just any medal, but a solid gold, thanks to a photo finish from 26-year-old Jessica Diggins and 35-year-old Kikkan Randall in the team ski sprint final. Those two now account for just the second medal for ‘Murica in any cross-country skiing event. For Randall, the fifth time proved to be a charm.

Norway or the highway: Leave it to the Norwegians to upstage America’s one shining moment in South Korea. While Diggins and Randall were celebrating their golden success, Norway’s Marit Bjoergen rewrote the record books with her bronze in the same ski sprint. That medal was Bjoergen’s 14th in five Games, breaking a tie with fellow Norwegian Ole Einar Bjoerndalen to become the most decorated Winter Olympian ever. And she might not be done yet.

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