Nightly News   |  February 11, 2014

Why Americans Have Reason to Celebrate in Sochi

U.S. Olympians celebrated a historical moment for luge and women’s ski jumping.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> williams: and now to these games. and while you will see some of this in prime-time coverage tonight, this next result was blasted around the world as urgent news earlier today. snowboarder shaun white will go home from his third olympic games without a medal this time in the men´s half-pipe. in fact, it´s a team u.s.a. shutout in a sport invented in the u.s. just part of the news from here. anne thompson is up at the mountain top ski venue for us tonight. anne, good evening.

>> thompson: good evening, brian. you know, today, the winter olympics felt like the spring games, forcing officials to cancel the practice runs for the women´s downhill and creating a backdrop for one of the biggest upsets at these games so far. [ crowd shouting indistinctly ] at the mountain olympic venues today, the weather was the toughest competitor. the cross-country free sprint at times looked more like a demolition derby than a race. skiers stumbling on snow turned so mushy by 40-degree temperatures it was described as mashed potatoes. snow conditions and design complaints plagued the men´s snowboard half-pipe. but one fan struck gold when after making the finals, shaun white climbed over the barrier to greet 10-year-old ben hughes. [ crowd cheering ] make-a-wish sent the cancer survivor to the olympics with his family. can you stay up until the very end?

>> hughes: yes.

>> thompson: and now hughes wants to grow up to be an engineer or a snowboarder. what are you gonna tell your friends about this experience when you go back to st. louis?

>> hughes: i got to meet shaun white and hopefully see him win a gold medal .

>> thompson: that didn´t happen. white left empty-handed. but the u.s. did have a reason to celebrate today -- erin hamlin earned america´s first medal ever in singles luge, a bronze. women´s ski jumping made its olympics debut, and the first skier to jump, park city´s sarah hendrickson.

>> hendrickson: standing at the top, we all knew that this was a historical moment, and just to be a part of it is something to be proud of.

>> man: and he goes for it. whoa!

>> thompson: and olympic moments don´t get any more golden than this -- canadian skier alex bilodeau pulling his brother, frederick, over the barrier after winning his second consecutive gold medal in moguls.

>> man: another wonderful moment for the brothers bilodeau.

>> thompson: frederick, who has cerebral palsy , is alex´s inspiration.

>> alex: i want him as close as possible to me when it´s a big moment like that in my career and live that moment with him.

>> thompson: and as for tomorrow, it looks like the weather will continue to be a big story . temperatures could climb as high as 50 degrees on the mountain. brian?

>> williams: anne thompson up at the mountaintop venues with all things winter games . anne, thanks.