Winter Olympics Day 4 guide: What to watch from Pyeongchang
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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Looking for some Olympics sizzle with your tacos on Tuesday? We’ve got just the thing. Here are some highlights to look for from Pyeongchang. All times Eastern.
Prime time in North America means marquee events and Tuesday is no exception. The pairs skating short program starts at 8 p.m. Fittingly, it will be Valentine’s Day in Korea when the pairs take the ice: Americans Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim are married in “real life.”
The short program lasts 2 minutes, 50 seconds. For the uninitiated, scoring is complicated, but basically skaters get two sets of scores for their two routines: a technical score and one that is more about presentation. The short program acts as a qualifier, eliminating the lowest performers from competition. Watch for the elements that are unique to pairs skating, including lifts, throw jumps and the leap of faith called a death spiral.
Men’s halfpipe runs start at 7:30 p.m., with the final set for 8:30 p.m. U.S. star Shaun White is set to stun after scoring 100 points at the World Cup in January. He is a two-time Olympic champion and is definitely the one to beat, but Japan’s Ayumu Hirano and Australia’s Scotty James are in the hunt. Watch for back-to-back 1260-degree jumps — that’s 3.5 revolutions off the 22-foot-high halfpipe wall. Judging is subjective, based on height, technique and degree of difficulty.
Short track speed skating
Heats will run for much of the 4 a.m. hour, with the women’s 500-meter final set to start at 6:07 a.m. Instead of the staid elegance of long track skating, short track more resembles roller derby . The helmets and pads are dead giveaways that crashes come with the territory. South Korea dominates in the sport, so watch for home fans to fill the stands with raucous cheers. Also, watch for the way racers jockey for position while trying to stay upright and not get disqualified for blocking.
Maame Biney has made history as the first black woman to make a U.S. short track Olympic team. Only 17, she came to the U.S. from Ghana at age 6. She is known for her electric smile and explosive speed off the starting line.
U.S. star Mikaela Shiffrin, the reigning overall World Cup champion, will finally make her Pyeongchang debut with the slalom at 7:15 p.m. She famously said in Sochi that she wanted to leave Korea with gold medals in all five alpine events, but she has yet to confirm if she will compete for all of them.
In alpine , there are no tricks to watch — the clock is the only judge. Look for the skiers to make tight turns around poles, which is different than giant slalom with fewer and wider turns. The medal race is set for 10:45 p.m.
The men will also ski Tuesday, finishing the slalom portion of the combined race at midnight.
Women’s preliminary games continue. The U.S., which rallied to beat Finland 3-1 on Monday, will face the Russians at 6:10 a.m. before taking on their biggest rival Canada later in the week. The dominant Canadians have won the last four Olympic golds.
Sprint classic will run much of the day, with the women’s qualifying run at 2:30 a.m. and the men’s at 3:05 a.m. Quarterfinals start at 6 a.m. and the finals are set to start at 6:25 a.m. and 6:34 a.m. Racers go all out in these short distances.
The first gold medal game in mixed doubles curling will be played at 5:05 a.m. between Canada and Switzerland. Watch for the way the players shout instructions at each other as they try to place their stones closest to the center while blocking their opponents. Traditional single-sex play will get underway with the men’s round-robin session one at 6:05 p.m.
The men’s 1,500-meter medal race starts at 5 a.m. The Dutch are dominant in this event and it shows in the stands. Their enthusiastic fans sport signature orange coats, hats … even pants! A brass band comes too, decked in traditional clogs. Watch for the clap skates, which separate from the heel, keeping the blade in contact with the ice longer.