Four of the best halfpipe skiers in the world will battle for the same prize at the Olympics, but there's little that's cutthroat about the days and hours leading to their competition.
In fact, Aaron Blunck is sharing a room with Torin Yater-Wallace. Separated by just a wall, David Wise is sharing a room with Alex Ferreira. The four eat together, ski together, kill time together. On the eve of the freestyle skiing halfpipe competition, the free-spirited, highflying bunch watched "That 70s Show" together.
"We're just having fun," Ferreria said. "Just doing our thing and enjoying every second of it."
It can be hard to separate the group, as the rest of the men's halfpipe field could find at the finals Wednesday night. Out of the 102 events being contested at these Winter Games, the men's halfpipe represents the United States' best chance at a sweep of the podium.
"If I'm with my boys, are you kidding? It's gonna go off." Ferreria said.
Only three of them, of course, can fit on the podium, but all four have positioned themselves to challenge for a spot. At Tuesday's qualifying, the Americans posted the three highest scores. Blunck led the way with a mark of 94.40, followed by Ferreira's 92.60 and Yater-Wallace's 89.60. Wise, who won the inaugural Olympic halfpipe event four years ago, is probably the gold medal favorite and he finished eighth Tuesday with a score of 79.60.
"We don't talk about it," Wise said of the possibility of an all-American podium. "Would it be amazing? Absolutely. We'd be so stoked. I'm just excited to be out here skiing with the guys who push me to higher levels."
At last month's Winter X Games, Wise, Ferreira and Yater-Wallace finished 1-2-3 in the Superpipe event.
"We push each other a lot. The U.S. pipe team is definitely one of the deepest — if not the deepest — team of halfpipe skiers in the world," Yater-Wallace said. "Let alone just making it here, which was the hardest part."
Fourcade wins for team
Nobody in French history has won more Olympic gold medals than Martin Fourcade, and now nobody has won more gold medals at the Pyeongchang Games than him.
Yet Fourcade refused to make the night about himself when he anchored France to a come-from-behind victory in the biathlon mixed relay. It was his third gold medal in Pyeongchang, and the fifth in his decorated career.
"Tonight it is a big win for the team and all of the crew," Fourcade said. "There is nothing that means more than when you can share [the gold] with your teammates. That is something that is incredible."
The 29-year-old Fourcade's fifth Olympic title moved him past fencers Christian D'Oriola and Lucien Gaudin for the most in French history in either the Summer or Winter Games.
"He's just incredible," teammate Simon Desthieux said.
Fourcade had enough of a lead at the end to wave the French flag as he crossed the finish line for his team in 1 hour, 8 minutes, 34.3 seconds, more than 20 seconds ahead of second-place Norway. Italy took the bronze.
Skater shows range
Dutch speedskater Jorien ter Mors became the first woman to win Olympic medals in different sports at the same Winter Games.
Ter Mors added bronze in the short-track 3,000-meter relay to the gold she won in long-track speedskating's 1,000 last week.
Ester Ledecka of the Czech Republic has a chance to match ter Mors' feat. After winning the super-G in skiing, Ledecka can add a medal in the snowboard parallel giant slalom Saturday.
Russia seeks answers
The Russians suspect somebody is out to get them, and they suspect it's the United States. Russian officials said Tuesday they want to open a criminal investigation to find out who sabotaged curler Alexander Krushelnitsky, leading to a positive drug test.
Andrei Sozin, the Russian Curling Federation's senior vice president, told the Associated Press he believed U.S. security services had "put something" into Krushelnitsky's water or tampered with his drug-test sample. He didn't speculate on how that could have happened.
Krushelnitsky tested positive for the heart drug meldonium. Both Sozin and an official statement from the delegation claimed meldonium would not help a curler.
The Russians are competing as neutral athletes and under the Olympic flag because of a vast doping scheme at the 2014 Sochi Games,
A Slovenian hockey player, Ziga Jeglic, tested positive Tuesday and said he took an asthma drug under doctor's orders.
Germans sweep combined
Johannes Rydzek led a German sweep of the podium in Nordic combined, finishing ahead of teammates Fabien Riessle and normal hill champion Eric Frenzel.
Rydzek was in fifth place after the ski jump portion, but he erased a 31-second deficit in the 10km cross-country race.
"It was in incredible moment that last couple of meters," Rydzek said. "I knew I was accompanied by two very strong racers who would push me to the last, and it was a great day for German athletes."