Perhaps more than anyone else, Esmee Visser proved just how good the Dutch really are at speedskating.
A near nonfactor at national level who was elbowed out of the team by an array of stars until Christmas, the Olympic rookie skated away with a gold medal only two months later.
Visser won the 5,000 meters to give the Dutch a sixth gold medal in seven events at the Olympic Oval in Gangneung, South Korea. She beat two-time champion Martina Sablikova by more than a second. Russian Natalia Voronina took bronze.
Further back, in eighth place, was three-time 5,000-meter Olympic champion Claudia Pechstein, the German who is almost 46.
Vizzer said a dream interrupted her sleep. She was on the medal stand.
"My dream didn't make out whether it was just for a medal, or for gold," Visser said.
It's gold now, and it's no dream.
Belarusian wins aerials
Like every other country and discipline, the aerials team from Belarus puts together a strategy in preparation for the Olympics. What is it? Hanna Huskova says that's none of your business.
"I am not going to go into it right now," Huskova said.
Whatever it is, it's working.
Huskova survived unpredictable and windy Phoenix Snow Park to give Belarus its second straight gold medal in women's aerials, edging Zhang Xin of China in an event that turned into a mere battle of survival after four of the six skiers in the final round of elimination either sat down on their landings or wiped out completely.
Huskova's winning jump, a double-twisting back layout, earned her a score of 96.14, just ahead of Zhang's 95.52. Kong Fanyu of China took bronze. Huskova's 38-year-old teammate, Alla Tsuper, finished fourth.
In Speedy's honor
If the conditions are right, American freestyle skier Mac Bohonnon will pay tribute to one of his sport's most fascinating and beloved characters. And if that goes well, he might find himself with an Olympic medal hanging around his neck, too.
Bohonnon has been working on the "Hurricane" — the trick the late Jeret "Speedy" Peterson landed eight years ago to win his silver medal in aerials. To this day, Peterson is the only person to put down the jump in competition. If Bohonnon makes it to the medal round Sunday, he hopes to become the second.
"Obviously, it's got a little something extra to it," Bohonnon said. "It's a scary trick. And Speedy came out and did this all the time, like it was nothing."
The Hurricane involves five twists and a flip.
Only Peterson has been willing to try it. He took his own life 17 months after that victory.
• NBC had its roughest night of the Olympics on Thursday. The 19.3 million people who watched the Games on NBC, NBCSN or streaming services in prime time was down 16 percent from NBC's 22.9 million viewers in Sochi four years ago.
• Jacqueline Loelling, a German and the overall World Cup champion this season, is the leader after two runs of the women's skeleton. American four-time Olympian Katie Uhlaender stood 12th, and U.S. rookie Kendall Wesenberg was 17th.
• The norovirus outbreak isn't going away. Seventeen new cases were diagnosed Friday, according to the Korean Centers for Disease Control. That brings the Games-long total to 261 staff and volunteers who have contracted the highly contagious illness. Two freestyle skiers from Switzerland have come down with the illness, the first athletes at the Games known to have been diagnosed.