2014 Olympic Alpine Skiing: Preview and Predictions for Men's Super Combined

Brendan O'Meara@@BrendanOMearaFeatured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2014

2014 Olympic Alpine Skiing: Preview and Predictions for Men's Super Combined

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    The super combined, puts together two disciplines into one event: the downhill (sometimes the super-G) and the slalom. Add up the two times, to the fastest goes the gold.

    The defending gold medalist in the super combined is Bode Miller and, as great a story as that was four years ago, a repeat effort would seize all the talk in Sochi and abroad. In a downhill sport he'll have an uphill battle against this field.

    One man, Matthias Mayer of Austria, already notched a gold medal in the downhill. This is a deep field and the winner could come from anywhere on the big board. Read on to catch up with men's super combined.


Schedule, T.V. and Live Stream Info

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    The men hit the slopes on Feb. 14 at 2 a.m. EST for the downhill and follow that up at 6:30 a.m. EST for the slalom.

    Check out www.nbcolympics.com/tv-listings for the TV broadcast schedule or visit NBCOlympics.com for live streaming.

Top Storylines

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    Can Bode Miller turn back the clock?

    At 36, Bode Miller is one of the oldest in the field, but he brings with that age years of experience and a gold medal in this very event. He won gold in the 2010 Vancouver Games, but hasn't quite been as strong since. He finished ninth at Wengen World Cup on Jan. 17 so he has that to build on.

    Will gold bolster Mayer?

    Mattias Mayer won the gold medal in the downhill Sunday and the confidence of that kind of a win can elevate an athlete's capacity to perform. Mayer finished 14th in the super combined in Kitzbuehel World Cup and eighth at the one in Wengen. He was overshadowed by Bode Miller in the downhill. If recent history has showed us anything, it's that you shouldn't count out this Austrian.

    Can the World Champion hold form?

    Ted Ligety of the United States was the 2013 World Champion in the super combined. He's riding high off a win in Wengen. If he can ski to that form, he could stand tallest on the podium.

Athletes to Watch

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    Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway

    The Norweigan has won this event in the past, just not in the Olympics. He's a two-time World Champion, once in 2009 and again in 2011. He had a big, fat DNF in the 2010 Olympics and he'll be looking to avenge that as the World's No. 2 skier.

    Alexis Pinturault, France

    The World's No. 3-ranked skier finished first in the super combined at the Kitzbuehel World Cup on Jan. 26th. His track record has been consistent. He finished second at Wengen behind Ted Ligety. 

    Ted Ligety, United States

    Based on his strength between the gates, Ted Ligety is a heavy favorite to win gold in the super combined. He's the defending World Champion and he won a little less than a month ago at Wengen. Ligety won his last race (the slalom) before coming to Sochi, and that confidence may be all he needs to make a huge statement on the mountain. 

    He told ESPN.com, "It's nice to get in another good race and I hope I can carry that confidence over the next two weeks." 


Who Are the Sleepers?

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    Bode Miller, United States

    Please pardon the Bode Miller overkill, but he creates buzz wherever he is. He's one of the most purely talented skiers out there and while he is older than most of the field, Miller has to be respected as the defending gold medalist.

    Matthias Mayer, Austria

    He just won the gold medal in the downhill and if he can carry over the confidence that comes with being the best in the world at something, he is an unsung threat to put together two great runs.

    Felix Neureuther, Germany

    He's one of the world's best at slalom and when a skier has that technical ability down, he can make up major seconds on the field. For the same reason, pay attention to Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway.

Medal Predictions

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    The guys at the top in super combined have been consistently good in this discipline for the better part of a year. Ted Ligety won the World Championships a year ago and won a World Cup on Jan. 17. Clustered around Ligety are the same names and there's no reason to think that they won't show up on Valentine's Day.

    Gold: Ted Ligety, United States

    Silver: Alexis Pinturault, France

    Bronze: Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway