Let's be honest, there is a lot more than a shot at an Olympic medal riding on the outcome of an event at the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Don't believe that? Read on.
Beer, bragging rights and Justin Bieber
Yeah, we all know a gold medal is nice. But the Canada-U.S. men's hockey matchup was about bragging rights, with the nation that won claiming hockey supremacy.
For the record: Canada , the defending Olympic gold medalist, defeated the United States with a 1-0 victory in Friday's semifinal match. Canada will face Sweden in the gold-medal round, while the U.S. will take on Finland for the bronze.
So much was made about the U.S. men's team as it went into the Winter Games, where it would face Russia. It came 34 years after the "Miracle on Ice" in Lake Placid, New York, when an amateur American team -- made up of college kids -- defeated the world's most dominant team, the Soviet Union.
This time around, Team USA defeated Russia in a nail-biting shootout, and Russia was later eliminated from medal contention after a loss to Finland.
It was all great for dramatics. But it was always the matchup between the United States and Canada, the team that claims ice hockey as its birthright.
With Friday's win, Team Canada holds onto those rights for the next four years.
And along with those rights, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be collecting another case of beer from U.S. President Barack Obama. (The American president already owes a case after the U.S. women's hockey team lost to the Canadian women earlier this week.)
And it's clear Harper intends to collect.
In a post on Twitter immediately after the game, Harper tweeted: "Like I said, #teamusa is good but #wearewinter. @BarackObama, I look forward to my two cases of beer. #CANvsUSA #Sochi2014"
The response from Obama, at least in the hours immediately following the loss? Nothing.
For those also keeping score over the Chicago billboard that touted: "Loser keeps Justin Bieber," that means the Canadian-born pop star will continue making his home in the United States.
OK, not that it was every really a serious bet. But the billboard offer, posted by the freight company Command Transportation, was funny -- unless you are Bieber, or a Bieber fan.
Moment of silence
It was a moment for celebration, a country winning its first gold medal in years at the Winter Games.
But it wasn't a celebratory time. Not really.
"Because of the events that happened in Ukraine, I would ask you for a minute of silence in honor of the people who died there during the last few days," said Ukrainian Olena Pidhrushna, who shared a gold medal victory Friday with three teammates in the women's 4X6K biathlon relay.
Ukraine's victory in the women's biathalon relay came against a backdrop of violence and uncertainty in the capital city of Kiev, where days of clashes between anti-government protesters and government forces have left dozens dead and hundreds wounded.
Ukraine's Pidhrushna, Juliya Dzhyma and sisters Vita and Valj Semerenko finished 26 seconds ahead of the Russian team, which took the silver. Norway took the bronze.
The Ukraine victory came amid news that President Viktor Yanukovich and the leaders of the opposition had signed a peace agreement, with the aim of ending the violence and paving the way for an early election.
Pidhrushna was asked about her husband Alexie Kayda, who is a member of the opposition in the Ukrainian parliament.
"He talked to me and he said he didn't know how to support me and improve my mood. Before a race, he tells me that he loves me and that he believes in me," she said.
"I can only thank for him for trying to protect me from everything that is happening at home. We only know the minimum of what is happening there and that is a good thing."
'It scared me'
American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin skied into the record books, becoming the youngest skier to win the women's slalom at the Winter Olympics.
And the 18-year-old from Vail, Colorado, did it in dramatic fashion.
Halfway through the second of two runs on the Rosa Khotur alpine course, she careened on a right turn.
For a moment, just a moment, it looked like Shiffrin's golden run might be over, when her left ski popped up off the snow. She was in the turn, in the air, when she corrected herself.
"It was a crazy moment. I was going very fast and I thought I was not going to make it, it scared me," Shiffrin said.
And the rest, as they say, is Olympic history.
Shiffrin finished with a combined time of 1 minute, 44.54 seconds.
Austria's Marlies Schild finished second to take the silver medal, and her Austrian teammate Kathrin Zettel took the bronze.
Russia's Viktor Ahn finished on top of the podium in the 500m short track final, a victory that saw him win medals in all four individual short track events in Sochi.
The mostly Russian crowd at the skating center went wild as Ahn won the 500m, narrowly beating 19-year-old Dajing Wu of China. Charle Cournoyer of Canada took the bronze.
Ahn also lead Russia to a gold medal in
the 5,000m relay, just beating J.R. Celski and the American team.
The relay was the final short track event of these Games. Russia roused an expectant crowd with an Olympic record in the men's 5,000m relay winning time of six minutes 42.100 seconds as Ahn claimed a sixth career Olympic gold.
As Russia celebrates the short track victories, the U.S. skating team faces troubling questions about its disappointing showing in Sochi. The team's only medal came in the relay.
Canada's girl power
It was a 1-2 finish for Canada's Marielle Thompson and Kelsey Serwa, who swept the top two spots on the podium in the women's freestyle ski cross finals at the Rosa Khotur Extreme Park. Sweden's Anna Holmlund took the bronze medal.
"It's crazy. I don't think it's even sunk in yet. I just had a big wave of emotion. I'm so so happy, especially to be up there with my teammate," Thompson said shortly after her win.
We're all about girl power from the start. We're just having fun all day. I know Kelsey and we tried to help each other all the way down the course."