Olympic Speedskating 2014: TV Schedule and Top Stars to Watch in Sochi

Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistFebruary 7, 2014

NAGANO, JAPAN - JANUARY 19:  Shani Davis USA competes in men 1000m during Essent ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships 2014 at M Wave on January 19, 2014 in Nagano, Japan.  (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

Don't blink, or you'll miss the fast-paced excitement offered up by Olympic speedskating in Sochi.

A relatively new Olympic event that was introduced in 1992, the short-track speedskating games have since grown to include five different distances. The wide platitude of events gives us several battles to watch.

Some past winners, most notably 2010 gold-medal winners Charles Hamelin and Shani Davis, will return to the grand stage in hopes of obtaining glory once again. In their way will stand plenty of fresh faces looking to swerve past them.

Here is a look at the full speedskating TV schedule, all of which will air on NBC and/or NBC Sports, along with some of the biggest names on tap. 

2014 Olympic Speedskating Schedule
DateEventNBC Sports Air Time (ET)NBC Air Time (ET)
Feb. 10Men's 500 meter7:30-11:15 a.m. (Live)3 p.m.
Feb. 11Ladies' 500 meter1:30-3 p.m.12-1:30 a.m.
Feb. 12Men's 1,000 meter8-11:30 p.m.
Feb. 13Ladies' 1,000 meter8-11:30 p.m.
Feb. 15Men's 1,500 meter8-11:30 p.m.
Feb. 16Ladies' 1,500 meter7-11 p.m.
Feb. 18Men's 10,000 meter10 a.m. - 12 p.m.3-5 p.m.
Feb. 19Ladies' 5,000 meter3-5 p.m.
Feb. 21Men's/Ladies' Team Pursuit11:45 a.m.-3 p.m.12:30-1:30 a.m.
Feb. 22Men's/Ladies' Team Pursuit: Finals8-11:15 p.m.
NBCOlympics.com

 

Top Stars to Watch

Charles Hamelin, Canada

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 02:  Short Track speed skater Charles Hamelin of Canada takes part in a training session ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 2, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Ima
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Hamelin enters Sochi as the favorite to capture his fourth Olympic medal for Canada, and possibly more.

In 2010, Hamelin won gold in the 500 meter as well as the 5,000-meter relay. After dominating during the four years between, he'll have a large target on his back in the 2014 Olympics.

He won six World Cup races this year, cementing him as a top contender to take home gold in Sochi. The victory also helped him earned Air Canada Athlete of the Year.

At age 29, Hamelin told The Canadian Press' Marc Delbes that he feels "at his peak" right now. That's a scary thought for the competition, which includes Russia's Viktor Ahn and the United States' J.R. Celski. If he was just warming up in 2010, we could see something special from the Canadian short-track star this time around. 

 

Shim Suk-Hee, South Korea

Igor Yakunin/Associated Press

Teenager Shim Suk-Hee is predicted to steal the show in her first taste of Olympic action.

The 17-year-old South Korean has taken two overall World Cup titles in both her years in action, making her a prime breakout candidate for the Sochi Games.

Shim is tabbed to win both the 1,000- and 1,500-meter events, and she'll also join a South Korean team that can push for gold in the 3,000-meter relay. That's a tall pile of pressure to exert on such a young athlete, but her dominance since lacing up her skates at age seven is too great to ignore.

 

Shani Davis, United States

NAGANO, JAPAN - JANUARY 19:  Shani Davis of USA competes in men 500m during Essent ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships 2014 at M Wave on January 19, 2014 in Nagano, Japan.  (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

With eight-time Olympic medal winner Apolo Ohno retired, Shani Davis has become the natural successor as the face of U.S. speedskating.

Even if Ohno took to Sochi to spread the word about $5 subs, the big story would still be Davis' quest to become the first American to win three straight gold medals in the same event. The 31-year-old can accomplish that feat by claiming first again in the 100 meter.

Davis is certainly taking a unique path to stardom. He is training by himself in preparation for his fourth Olympic event, a rarity in his sport. While he has become a focal point for the Sochi Games, the poorly funded speedskating team is hardly a normal road to take.

Via USA Today's Nancy Armour, he discussed the oddity of a Chicago native taking up speedskating.

Where I grew up, no one had even heard of speed skating. Chicago had Michael Jordan, Walter Payton, the Super Bowl Shuffle with the Bears, the Blackhawks. You can see why lot of kids in that area wanted to do basketball and football and things like that. But I walked to a different beat of a drum. I loved skating from the first day I put the blades on.

He has a chance to make the sport more prominent than ever by taking home the gold again.