Olympic speedskating is always a must-watch event. Whether it's the grace of long-track or the frenetic, unpredictable pace of short-track, speedskating always seems to capture the attention of Americans. While it's usually not a popular sport, especially in non-Olympic years, when it's on, it does well. Skaters like Apolo Anton Ohno have made it into the mainstream.
This year should be no different. There are a number of skaters from multiple countries that have a chance to medal. And with that, a chance at becoming a true breakout star.
Below, we'll give you a full TV listing. Below that, we'll take a look at some of the breakout stars to watch.
|2014 Olympic Speedskating TV Schedule|
|Date||Event||NBC Sports Air Time (ET)||NBC Air Time (ET)|
|Feb. 10||Men's 500 meter||7:30-11:15 a.m. (Live)||3 p.m.|
|Feb. 11||Ladies' 500 meter||1:30-3 p.m.||12-1:30 a.m.|
|Feb. 12||Men's 1,000 meter||N/A||8-11:30 p.m.|
|Feb. 13||Ladies' 1,000 meter||N/A||8-11:30 p.m.|
|Feb. 15||Men's 1,500 meter||N/A||8-11:30 p.m.|
|Feb. 16||Ladies' 1,500 meter||N/A||7-11 p.m.|
|Feb. 18||Men's 10,000 meter||10 a.m. - 12 p.m.||3-5 p.m.|
|Feb. 19||Ladies' 5,000 meter||N/A||3-5 p.m.|
|Feb. 21||Men's/Ladies' Team Pursuit||11:45 a.m.-3 p.m.||12:30-1:30 a.m.|
|Feb. 22||Men's/Ladies' Team Pursuit: Finals||N/A||8-11:15 p.m|
2014 Winter Olympics Info
Where: Sochi, Russia
When: Saturday, February 10 - Saturday, February 22
Live Stream: NBCOlympics.com
Complete Viewing Information
Shim Suk-Hee, South Korea
Seventeen-year-old South Korean Shim Suk-Hee has taken the speedskating world by storm and should leave these Games as a household name all over the world.
Shim is the favorite in the 1,000- and 1,500-meter events and is also a member of the 3,000-meter relay team that is a contender for gold.
She comes into this tournament as the two-time defending World Cup-overall champion. In 2014, she finished first in the 1,000-and 1,500-meter events, as well as the relay.
Here, Shim dominated the competition in a race in Torino:
Shim is poised to take home a number of medals and leave Sochi as a star.
Mitchell Whitmore, USA
After a brutal showing in 2010, Mitchell Whitmore is back and is one of the American favorites in the 500-meter race.
In 2010, Whitmore finished 37th in the 500-meter. That finish promoted a renewed focus on long-track, after dabbling in both long and short-track.
That was a good decision for Whitmore. He finished 12th-overall in the 2013 World Sprint Championships and won the U.S. Olympic trials.
Granted, it may be an uphill battle for Whitmore, who will have to deal with favorite such as the Mulder twins.
But coming off a fantastic performance at the trials, it would not be a surprise to see Whitmore medal. And given how Americans love to watch speedskating every four years, a medal will vault Whitmore into the national consciousness.
Heather Richardson, USA
Heather Richardson is one of the favorites in the long-track 1,000-meter race, and a win would make the 24-year-old quite famous.
After failing to medal in 2010, a competition where she didn't finish higher than ninth, Richardson has rebounded quite well. She finished first overall in the World Cup at the 1,000-meter distance and also took home the World Sprint Championship in the 2012-13 season.
At the U.S. trials, Richardson won the 500-meter, the 1,000-meter and the 1,500-meter events. She is a contender in all events at Sochi.
Her best event, however, is the 500-meter, where Brian Cazeneuve of Sports Illustrated predicted her to win a bronze.
Should Richardson medal, look for her to be featured in advertising campaigns after the Olympics. Of the three listed here, she could become the biggest star.