Sochi Olympics: 5 favorite moments from Tuesday's games

An American wins the first men's halfpipe ski gold medal, a snowboarder enjoys his second Olympics experience much more than the first and a biathlete almost gives away the race at the finish line. Here are our favorite moments from Tuesday in Sochi:

She's a 'Go, Daddy!' girl

David Wise looked down from the top of the halfpipe and saw his 2-year-old daughter's face cheering him on.

It wasn't his daughter's actual face; it was a big sign his wife had made and held up on a stick.

"To see that looking up at me from the bottom of the halfpipe was really cool," he said after winning the first gold medal ever awarded in men's halfpipe skiing (the medal ceremony will actually be Wednesday).

Wise did have some anxious moments. He scored 92 points on his first run of two in the final but botched the second one and had to wait as others tried to top his best mark.

Wise credited being a father for helping him be a successful skier. It gives him a balance he didn't have before, he said.

Now when he gets home to Nevada, he'll have a really cool memento to show little Nayeli.

The bear wakes up

After 20 minutes at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, the Russian hockey fans were feeling a little uneasy.

Granted Norway hadn't scored and only had six shots in the first period of its game against the widely favored Russians, but the Big Red Machine wasn't living up to its nickname again.

No one expected them to go more than 100 minutes during opening-round games without scoring.

The Russians came out of their slumber to win 4-0 as goalie Sergei Bobrovsky had 22 saves.

Maybe things turned a corner for the host nation when Alexander Radulov dumped a shot at the Norwegian goalie early in the second period for a goal that could have been prevented. After that Russia cruised into the semifinals.

"After any win you get better emotions, better motivation, more confidence. It's a big plus for us," forward Viktor Tikhonov said.

They'll need more of that when they face perennial medalists Finland on Wednesday.

Look at him now

Alex Deibold didn't make the Olympic team for the Vancouver Games, but went anyway, working on the boards for his teammates.

He's been a bit of an afterthought, riding for USA Snowboarding's B team for almost a decade.

We think he earned a promotion, after winning a surprising bronze in snowboard cross, a sport known for its surprises.

Pierre Vaultier of France and Nikolai Olyunin of Russia won gold and silver as most of the favorites stumbled and tumbled out in the qualifying heats.

Deibold, who steadily raced through the preliminaries into the final, said he was actually happy that the races had been delayed because of Monday's fog. He had tweaked his back on Saturday and the extra rest helped him ride better.

"The name of the game ... was to stay on your feet," he said. That proved difficult for others as a steady drizzle hampered the conditions. One competitor broke an ankle. Another was taken off the course on a stretcher after a crash. Another raced on in the consolation final after cutting up his nose in a semifinal wreck.

After Deibold crossed the finish line, the emotion of the trying day burst open, and some of his teammates tackled him in the snow.

"We're kind of like family, and you definitely bump heads, but in that moment, when they came out ... they know how hard I've worked."

Missed it by that |-------------------------------------------------------| much

They started together, and 15 kilometers later, they finished together.

After more than 9 miles and 42 ½ minutes, only a few inches -- just centimeters -- separated them as they hit the finish line.

Emil Hegle Svendsen, the Norwegian who has won 11 world championships in various biathlon disciplines, almost gave away the race, letting up a few meters from the finish line as Martin Fourcade tried a last-gasp pass.

No sweat, said Svendsen.

"It might have looked like I could lose gold, but I had good control over him," he said. You might want to look at the photo finish then, champ.

The Frenchman was conciliatory.

"We both fought. Emil is stronger on the last loop and I am a better shooter," Fourcade, who had won two gold medals already at these Games. "It was a really hard race, and in the end, Emil won."

Turns out, Svendsen was the better shooter Tuesday; he hit every target.

Fourcade's one miss cost him one penalty loop -- 150 meters.

One and only

This time there was plenty of room atop the medal podium.

Tina Maze, co-gold medalist in the women's downhill, was the clear winner of the giant slalom despite conditions that often were not clear at all.

As it snowed at the top of the course, heavy rain at the bottom delayed the second run of the event.

Maze, of Slovenia, didn't mind the wait.

"I was watching hockey between the runs. The guys (Slovenia's surprising team) were playing so well. They just gave me a will to show so much more," she said after her win.

Maze finished with a two-run total time of 2:36.87, just ahead of Anna Fenninger of Austria.

Maze said she didn't care if it was rainy, or sunny like when she raced earlier in the Games.

"The weather is playing games with us, but I love it when it works out fine," she said.

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