The past and future of American skiing faced off for the only time at the Pyeongchang Olympics, and maybe any Olympics. It's the matchup alpine ski fans have been waiting for since Vonn recovered from the years of injuries that kept her out of the Sochi Games, where Shiffrin made her Olympic debut and won gold. The Alpine combined gave the two greats a chance to play to their strengths as they duked it out down the hill.
Beyond that pair of stellar skiers, there are a handful of medals that the U.S. could grab, including at least a silver in the women's hockey finale — the latest installment in one of hockey's deepest rivalries.
1. Finally: Shiffrin vs. Vonn
Michelle Gisin of Switzerland has won the women's Alpine combined with an aggressive slalom run to edge American Mikaela Shiffrin at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Lindsey Vonn, the leader after the downhill portion, made a mistake early in the slalom Thursday and didn't finish in what's likely her final Winter Games.
Vonn took care of business in her specialty and has 1.98-second lead over Shiffrin after the downhill portion of Thursday's Alpine combined. Shiffrin adds the silver medal to the gold she won earlier in the games in the giant slalom.
Gisin was nearly flawless in finishing in a combined time of 2 minutes, 20.90 seconds to hold off silver medalist Shiffrin by 0.97 seconds. Wendy Holdener of Switzerland earned the bronze.
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Shiffrin adds the silver medal to the gold she won earlier in the games in the giant slalom.
It was very likely the first and only Olympic race between U.S. teammates Vonn and Shiffrin.
2. U.S.-Canada Hockey Grudge Match
The American women who suit up for USA Hockey beat their rival, Canada, after 20 years of being stuck in a dry spell.
The tense game went into overtime and eventually into a shootout that ended in a 3-2 victory.
The bitter rivalry between the U.S. and Canada has all but defined Olympic women’s hockey. They’re so much stronger than other countries that the two teams they play in the round-robin games automatically go through to the playoffs. Not that it’s much help, since Canada and the U.S. are about to face off in the gold medal match for the sixth time in seven Games.
Look at the Olympics head-to-head and Canada has the clear advantage over the U.S. They've won four gold medals to Team USA’s one, and beat the U.S. in pool play last week, 2-1.
But the Americans believe they should have won gold in 2014, when Canada rallied from two goals down with less than four minutes to play and won in overtime.
"This is the game we've been dreaming of and to have another opportunity to get back here, it's huge," star Hilary Knight said after the team punched its ticket to yet another final.
3. Gasser Wins Gold in Big Air's Big Finish
Anna Gasser edged two-time gold medalist Jamie Anderson to win gold in the Olympic debut of women's Big Air snowboarding.
Gasser, the reigning world champion, stomped the last of her three jumps, a double cork 1080 that saw the Austrian flip twice while spinning three times. Her score of 96 was the highest of the day and gave her a total of 185.00.
Anderson, who last week captured her second Olympic gold in women's slopestyle, led going into the final round but sat down while trying to land her last jump. Gasser took full advantage. The 26-year-old raised her arms in triumph and embraced Anderson after the score flashed.
4. Wise Defends Gold in Halfipe
Freestyle skier David Wise successfully defended his gold medal Thursday, breaking through on his final run to give the U.S. its third gold medal in the halfpipe at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Wise wiped out on his first two runs before sneaking past countryman Alex Ferreira on his third with a score of 97.20. Wise landed double corks in all four directions — front left, front right, switch (backward) left and switch right — a goal he set for himself entering these games.
The Americans had eyed a podium sweep in the halfpipe, with Torin Yater-Wallace and Aaron Blunck also among the favorites. Yater-Wallace failed to complete a clean run, including a gnarly crash midway through his third try, and finished ninth. Blunck's best effort was an 84.80 on his final run, good for seventh.