Sochi Day 3: Mancuso Skis to Bronze, Russia Rakes in Medal Bonanza

American Skier Julia Mancuso won a medal at her third consecutive Olympics on Day 3 at the Sochi Winter Games

Things got hot in Sochi Monday — well, a lot warmer, at least. And that created soft, potentially dangerous conditions in the competitions on the slopes — not to mention on the highly criticized snowboard halfpipe.

But the softening snow actually may have helped American Julia Mancuso. And the Canadian athletes didn't seem to mind, either.

Those were among the biggest developments of Day 3 of the Winter Olympics.

Mancuso happy with bronze

Alpine skier Julia Mancuso won a gold medal in Torino, two silvers in Vancouver. And on Monday, she became the first American Alpine athlete to win medals in three consecutive Olympics — this time with bronze.

Mancuso, 29, finished third in the women’s super combined — a mix of downhill and slalom — and wasted no time celebrating. She laughed and hugged her rivals at the slalom finish line, looking as if she had won.

This was indeed a triumph for Mancuso, who had struggled of late. She was fastest in the downhill leg of the competition, and held her own in the slalom depsite it being her first time competing in the event all season.

Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch won gold in the super combined, and Austrian Nicole Hosp took silver.

Russia’s medal surge

After getting shut out on the first day of the Olympics, the host Russians have stormed back in the medal standings.

Their four medals on Sunday topped the field, and on Monday they won two more. When competition ended Monday, Russia stood in sixth place, with a total of six medals.

Canada, which had a big day in the moguls ski competition, overtook Norway for first place, closing out the day with seven total medals, including three golds.

The Netherlands, which swept the men's 500m speedskating competition, moved into second place, with seven medals, and overtook Norway for first place, with three golds and three silvers. Norway fell to third, with seven total medals, including two golds.

In fourth is Team USA, with five total medals, including two golds.

Feeling like spring

Remember, Sochi is a seaside resort.

The weather there Monday crested at 61 degrees, making for springlike conditions that caused problems with the snow sports and served as a reminder that the seaside city, when not hosting the Olympics, is a popular sub-tropical resort.

Some skiers were seen putting snow in their suits to cool off. Ski jumpers landed in slush. Sunscreen, instead of hats and mittens, became a necessity.

Many jumps at the RusSki Gorki Jumping Center were postponed because of the abundance of soft snow in the landing area, the Associated Press reported.

Temperatures are expected to drop in the mountains of Sochi on Tuesday, then climb again Wednesday, perhaps to 63 degrees.

Fortunately, Olympic organizers have planned for such a circumstance. For months, they've been storing stockpiles of snow.

The Vancouver Games in 2010 suffered from a problems with warm temperatures and rain wreaking havoc on competitions.

Hockey romp for Team USA

Fifty-five seconds.

That’s how much time the U.S. women’s hockey team took to score three goals against Switzerland on Monday.

They didn’t look back, finishing with a 9-0 victory that puts them one step closer to the gold medal they’re expected to face off with Canada to win.

The opening sequence was the quickest three-goal sequence in Olympic history, according to the AP.

The Americans, with a 2-0 record, is headed next to the medal round. Their closest rivals, Canada, will be their next opponent in the opening round-robin.

Snowboarders on halfpipe: Not stoked

Sochi's snowboarders have some harsh words for the Olympic halfpipe, where competition begins Tuesday.

One called it "garbage." Another, "brutal." A third, "lame."

In other words: the course isn't in proper shape.

The complaints began Saturday, after the first round of training runs, and focused on the 22-foot walls' steepness. Designers from Development Snowparks of New Zealand made fixes but apparently created new problems. After Sunday, riders said the bottom of the halfpipe was too bumpy.

Organizers moved the third training run from Monday morning to Monday evening and said they'd talk to athletes for guidance in making sure the course will be ready for competition Tuesday.

American snowboarding star Shaun White said he had faith it would.

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