SOCHI, Russia - Sometimes you fall, you get up and you win. And sometimes you fall on purpose, slide as fast as you can, and you win.
All of this -- and more -- was in another extraordinary day's work for some extraordinary athletes Friday at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
1. Knocked down, but he got up again
It wasn't the prettiest of long programs for Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu.
But it was enough.
The 19-year-old stumbled twice, but still managed to narrowly outpace Canada's Patrick Chan. While not perfect, Hanyu's long program score still bested everyone else in the field -- evidence plenty of competitors had a relatively tough go of it Friday night.
"I've never been this nervous for a competition in my entire life," Hanyu admitted afterward. "I'm upset with the performance I had, but I left everything I had out there."
However it happened, Hanyu goes down in the history books: Giving Japan its first gold of the Sochi Olympics and its first gold, ever, in men's figure skating, not to mention being the youngest man to win this event in 66 years.
Speaking of folks who wouldn't stay down: America's Jeremy Abbott -- who had a nasty fall in the short program, which kept him down for a while though he did soldier through to finish -- rebounded impressively to notch the event's 8th top score Friday.
Still, he finished well out of contention, as did teammate Jason Brown (who came in ninth).
2. Lizzy does it
When you think of British sports, you might think of footballers David Beckham or Wayne Rooney. Or perhaps you can't shake the scenes from "Chariots of Fire" from your head. Or perhaps Lennox Lewis, Sebastian Coe or Andy Murray jump to mind first.
A woman flying down a steep, icy hill, face down on a slim piece of metal?
Chances are that wasn't your first thought -- until maybe now, thanks to Lizzy Yarnold.
As she tweeted Friday night, "I WON THE OLYMPICS!!!!!!"
The 25-year-old fielded congratulations from British Prime Minister David Cameron and many more after finishing first Friday in the skeleton.
American Noelle Pikus-Pace placed second -- a gutsy showing considering she competed with three herniated discs in her back -- followed by Russia's Elena Nikitina.
Not bad for a woman from a country without much snow, much less skiable mountains, much less a spate of people with the lifelong dream/death-wish of sliding downward at a 90 mph clip. Yarnold entered the Olympic competition with some World Cup wins, but had never finished higher than third in the world championships.
As she said after her win, "I don't think it's going to sink in for a long time."
3. Super Dario
It's official: Dario Cologna is the man.
You get that kind of respect when you not only excel in your first two Olympic events, but you win them.
The 27-year-old Cologna scored his second gold of the Sochi Games on Friday in the men's 15-kilometer classic cross-country skiing race. Two Swedes -- Johan Olsson and Daniel Richardsson -- came in second and third, respectively, about 30 seconds behind.
The Swiss national has been there, done that. Last Sunday, he won the men's 15 km classic + 15 km free cross-country event.
Showing it's not just a figment of our imagination, Cologna posted a picture of his two golds on Twitter, with the caption, "Yeesss I did it again!!! :-)"
At least this way, the gold he earned four years ago in the Vancouver Olympics 15-kilometer classic event won't be lonely any more.
4. Hockey favorites keep it up
O Canada. The Olympians from your home and native land have had a great Games so far. But what happens, eh, if you lose out in your national sport of hockey?
Luckily, Canucks don't have to worry about that quite yet.
One day after sweating out a 3-1 preliminary round win over Norway, the Canadian men -- many prognosticators' pick to repeat as Olympic champs -- cruised to a 6-0 victory over Austria. The Los Angeles Kings' Jeff Carter led the way, notching a "hat trick" with three goals.
Such winning seems endemic for Canadian hockey players this Olympics: The highly touted women's team is perfect so far in early round play, including a 3-2 win over their rival U.S. squad.
In other men's games Friday, the Czech Republic team topped Latvia 4-2, Finland demolished Norway by a 6-1 score and another favorite, Sweden, eked out a 1-0 win over Switzerland.
5. Putin (hearts) America
If you are Russian President Vladimir Putin, where do you go to find a special someone on Valentine's Day?
To the home of the American Olympic team in Sochi, perhaps.
There's no indication Cupid accompanied him or that romance was anywhere on the agenda. What's undeniable is that Russia's most powerful man spent part of his Valentine's Day at the USA House, the American Olympic team's official gathering spot for the Sochi Games.
After months marked by high-profile
spats with Americans, Putin wined and dined the Americans.
Literally. Putin sat down with Russian and U.S. Olympic officials and sipped wine -- and tried to resist nibbling on some yummy deserts -- all while American athletes, journalists and security looked on.
He then moved north, in a sense, to the Canadian team's home-away-from home in Sochi.
But there was no photographic evidence that he enjoyed a brew there. Molson has installed a beer machine in Canada's Olympic home -- but you need a Canadian passport to partake.