Olympic Alpine Skiing 2014: Schedule, TV Info, Team Medal Predictions for Day 7

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Olympic Alpine Skiing 2014: Schedule, TV Info, Team Medal Predictions for Day 7
Alessandro Trovati/Associated Press

If you want to watch the men's Alpine skiing super combined event take place live at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi early Friday morning, you better have a solid Internet connection.

Even though the downhill event starts at 1 a.m. and the slalom starts at 6:30 a.m., you'll have to wait until NBC's prime-time coverage (8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. ET) to watch the fast-moving action on TV because there won't be any live coverage. But NBC Live Extra will be carrying a live online stream for those who can't wait.

A total of 50 riders are slated to take part in this entertaining competition, so here's a look at the schedule of events, TV info and the predicted medalists.

 

Event: Men's super combined

Date: Friday, Feb. 14

Downhill Start Time: 1 a.m. ET

Slalom Start Time: 6:30 a.m. ET

Live TV: None

TV Highlights: NBC Primetime (8 p.m. / 7 p.m. CT)

Live Stream: NBC Live Extra

 

Gold: Alexis Pinturault, France

Christophe Ena/Associated Press

Race officials had to move up the start time of the men's downhill event by an hour to accommodate the warm conditions in Sochi in an aim to give the competitors harder snow.

For downhill specialists like American Bode Miller, the less-than-ideal weather conditions could hurt their chances to win gold, per David Leon Moore of USA Today.

Miller, 36, is the defending Olympic gold medalist in this event, but he hardly trains slalom anymore and says it will be difficult to gain much time in the downhill, by far his better event.

"Right now, the downhill is so easy and so basic, there's nothing challenging about it really," Miller said. "There's no way to put any time on the slalom guys. Everyone just skis normal. Everyone's within a second-and-a-half or so."

Miller isn't happy, but that sounds like great news for France's Alexis Pinturault. While he has elevated himself into the company of Alpine skiing's elite with his versatile skill set, the talented 22-year-old is admittedly better at the technical events like the slalom and could use any help he can get in the downhill.

Joe Battaglia of NBCSports.com discussed why Pinturault is considered the gold-medal favorite heading into the super combined.

In just his third full season on the World Cup circuit, he won the season globe last season and has scored five of his 20 podium finishes in the discipline, none of them lower than second place. Heading into his first Olympics, Pinturault is tied with (Ted) Ligety atop the World Cup standings in the event, having won in Kitzbuehel and finished second in Wengen. He perhaps rates a slight edge over Ligety in being the better slalom skier.

This is really a wide-open race, but Pinturault's recent rise makes him the one to watch.

 

Silver: Ted Ligety, United States

After a disappointing showing at the 2010 Vancouver Games when he didn't record a medal, top American Alpine skier Ted Ligety figures to have a great shot to place in the top three in the super combined.

Ligety entered the Olympics with some momentum, as he won the super combined event at the world championships in Wengen, Switzerland about a month ago. Like Pinturault, Ligety is regarded as a technical specialist who excels in the slalom events.

Still, the 29-year-old recently told John Meyer of the Denver Post that he's feeling confident about his growth in the other discipline of super combined as well.

I want to be able to try to get on the podium or win. I think that's well within my grasp if I ski well. My downhill's gotten better all year long, I've felt more and more comfortable, so hopefully (Friday) I can piece together a good run and then have a good run of slalom as well. Hopefully that equals something metallic around my neck.

Ligety already knows what it feels like to have a gold medal wrapped around his neck, as he won the super combined in Turin 2006. In 2014, he and Pinturault have split the two World Cup events in the super combined, and it seems like they're the top contenders to win again in Sochi.

 

Bronze: Bode Miller, United States

At 36 years young, Miller is still hanging tough with the world's best. And with five Olympic medals in his cabinet, he's still the most decorated Alpine skier in the history of the U.S. program.

With another podium finish on Friday, it would mark the third Winter Games where Miller has earned a medal, as he won his only gold in this event in 2010, along with silver (super-G) and bronze (downhill), eight years after winning two silvers (giant slalom, super combined) in Salt Lake City.

Though Miller and Ligety are both top candidates to reach the podium for America, they aren't one and the same, per Battaglia.

The aggressive Miller didn't look to be in top form during the downhill race earlier this week, as he finished with a disappointing eighth-place time of 2 minutes, 6.75 seconds. He'll have to bounce back from that in a hurry if he wants to finish on the podium Friday.

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