Olympics Day 2: Figure skating and Alpine — what to watch from Pyeongchang
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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — The unified Korean women’s hockey team took the spotlight on Day 1 — despite its 8-0 loss to Switzerland. Day 2 features the figure skating team event and the men’s downhill.
Here are some key things to watch. All times Central:
Prime time for TV in North America means early starts for the figure skaters at the Gangneung Ice Arena, where Patrick Chan and Nathan Chen and Co. are competing for Olympic medals at a time when they’re more accustomed to practice.
Chan and Chen took tumbles during the short program of the team competition but their teams were still first and second heading into the second day of the competition. That starts at 10 a.m. local time, which is 7 p.m. Central.
Chan’s Canadians lead with 17 points, three clear of Chen’s Americans. Japan is third with 13 points, marginally ahead of the Russian team after the men’s short program and the pairs short program.
“In my case I was so thankful I had the support of my teammates on and off the ice,” said Chan, who fell on his opening quad toe loop and again on a triple axel to place third in the short program.
The team event continues with the ice dance short program, the women’s short program and pairs free skate.
The men’s Olympic downhill course seems to suit the pre-race favorites, though the weather could seriously complicate things.
Three days of practice runs on the rarely-raced Jeongseon hill showed three top contenders in good form: world champion Beat Feuz of Switzerland and past Olympic downhill medalists Aksel Lund Svindal and Kjetil Jansrud — both from Norway.
Svindal says he’s ready while Feuz has had a near-perfect preparation with two wins and a second-place finish in the three World Cup downhill classics last month.
But upsets are always on the cards at the Olympics: five of the past 10 men’s downhill champions were without a win in World Cup races, including Matthias Mayer of Austria at the 2014 Sochi Games.
Whether they even get to start the race on Sunday is uncertain. Gusts of up to 50 mph (72 kph) are forecast around the scheduled 11 a.m. local time (8 p.m. Central) start — strong enough to close the only gondola lift carrying racers and officials up the mountain.
Slopestyle snowboarding made its debut just four years ago at Sochi. A combination of rail riding, jumps and tricks, it offers a nice sampling of what snowboarding can be.
Judging is highly subjective, with nine judges watching for different elements including “impression.” Keep an eye out for Norway’s Marcus Kleveland. Only 18, he was the first to complete a quad cork 1800 in competition at the Winter X Games in 2017. Qualifying heats started at 7 p.m. The final will begin at 8:04 p.m.
AROUND THE GAMES
After all the focus on the combined team from South and North Korea at the start of the tournament, the favorites in the women’s hockey get underway later Sunday with the U.S. against Finland and Canada up against the “Olympic Athletes from Russia.” Canada beat the U.S. women 3-2 in overtime in the final four years ago in Sochi to win the Olympic gold.
There are also medals at stake in women’s moguls, the men’s cross-country skiathlon, men’s luge and for the speedskaters in the men’s 5,000 meters.