The 2014 Winter Olympics have been sensational thus far, but Day 3 of the competition will bring speedskating to the forefront of the Olympics stage.
While the days of Apolo Anton Ohno setting the ice on fire are over, there is still plenty of intrigue out of the American camp when it comes to both the short-track and long-track events.
One of the most successful long-track skaters in American history will once again take the stage as Shani Davis looks to add a third gold medal to his collection.
Then there's J.R. Celski, who's on the opposite end of the spectrum from Davis. The 23-year-old competed in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but is looking to enjoy much more success at this Olympics and earn his first gold.
Before the third day of competition officially begins, here is a look at the speedskating schedule for Monday and a preview of the events.
|Event||Time (ET)||TV/Live Stream Info|
|Men's Short Track 1,500-meter Heats||4:45 a.m.||nbcolympics.com|
|Women's Short Track 500-meter Heats||5:30 a.m.||nbcolympics.com|
|Men's Short Track 1,500-meter Semifinals||6:15 a.m.||nbcolympics.com|
|Women's Short Track 3,000-meter Relay Semifinals||6:45 a.m.||nbcolympics.com|
|Men's Short Track 1,500-meter Finals||7:15 a.m.||nbcolympics.com|
|Men's 500-meter Final (1 of 2)||8 a.m.||NBCSN/nbcolympics.com|
|Men's 500-meter Final (2 of 2)||10 a.m.||NBCSN/nbcolympics.com|
|NBC Primetime||8 p.m.||NBC|
When it comes to decorated stars for Team USA, Davis is one of the best coming into the 2014 Winter Olympics. The 31-year-old already has four medals in his career at the Olympics, but has never won a gold medal in the 500-meter event.
After becoming the first-ever black athlete to win an individual gold medal in the Winter Olympics back in 2006, Davis is now a full-blown star for the USA in search of his third gold; he could win that in either the 500-, 1,000- or 1,500-meter events.
Though he wasn't one of the biggest names coming into the last two Winter Olympics, Davis said he is embracing the notoriety in his third crack, per Nancy Armour of USA Today:
It's not like I ever didn't want to be the face of the Olympics. There were other athletes who had a higher profile. [...] I was a goodie in a vending machine behind eight other awesome snacks. Now people are enjoying me for who I am.
The now-prominent snack will get his first chance at a third gold medal when he competes in the 500 meters, but will likely have to wait until the 1,000- or 1,500-meter events.
With silver medals in the 1,500 meters and gold in the 1,000 meters in both 2006 and 2010, it will be no surprise to see Davis atop the leaderboard when those races are final.
Short-Track 1,500 Meters
Celski is young, but he certainly has plenty of experience on the world's biggest stage for short-track speedskating.
After winning two bronze medals in the 2010 Winter Olympics, Celski is in search of turning those bronzes into golds in 2014.
"I don’t set goals for a specific time or medal," Celski said. "I set a goal to be the best I can be. I know the potential I have, and when I get there, I will be really satisfied."
The potential that Celski talks about makes him one of the favorites to win and sets him apart from the rest of the field. With just the qualifying for the 1,500-meter event taking place on Monday, expect Celski to torch the field en route to the finals.
Following his individual events, Celski will look to help the men's 5,000-meter relay team earn a gold medal as well. The team finished with the bronze back in 2010 and could medal again with Celski at the forefront.
While the likes of previous stars like Ohno won't be gracing the short-track stage, Celski is certainly ready to carry the torch for Team USA.