Some of the biggest names in men's Alpine skiing will hit the slopes on Day 9 of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi for the super-G event.
The giant slalom and downhill events are essentially combined in the super-G event, and the men will look to conquer the course and earn their places on the podium. Of course, the field is about as unpredictable as it can get.
Early Alpine skiing events haven't been easily predicted. Multiple athletes have stepped up to win gold, though it appears safe to expect a few of the usual suspects to find themselves near the top of the standings.
Here are a few athletes you need to be looking out for in the men's super-G event, along with predictions for each of the three medals.
Event: Men's Super-G
Date: Sunday, Feb. 16
Live TV: None
TV Highlights: NBC Primetime (8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT)
Live Stream: NBC Live Extra
Athletes to Watch
Matthias Mayer, Austria
Austrian skier Matthias Mayer might already have a slight upper hand in super-G. The 23-year-old took home his first Olympic gold medal in the downhill competition. And, somewhat surprisingly, downhill isn't even his best event.
Howard Fendrich of The Associated Press (via Yahoo! Sports) has an interesting fact regarding Mayer's experience in the downhill event:
And to think: In 65 previous World Cup or world championship races, the 23-year-old Mayer never had finished first. He'd never fared better than fifth in a downhill.
Mayer carved up the Rosa Khutor course with a time of 2:06.23 after not even being considered one of the major threats of the race. Well, the win has certainly put him on the map.
Super-G is his best event, and that makes him a serious contender for another gold medal.
Bode Miller, USA
Disappointment has been a trend for the United States in a select few sports, and men's Alpine skiing is one of them. Bode Miller was counted on to medal in the downhill event, but he finished in eighth place after dominating the training runs.
United States coach Sasha Rearick fully expects Miller to get back to top form in the super-G, via David Leon Moore of USA Today: "He got the nerves out of the way," Rearick said. "He's going to take his aggression to the next courses. That I'm confident of, very confident of."
Tough day for the American skiers as Bode Miller and Ted Ligety each fail to medal in men's super combined. pic.twitter.com/CaN8ByOyqK— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 15, 2014
While gold will be on Miller's mind, we should remember that he took home the silver medal in this same event back at the Vancouver Games in 2010. This is an entirely different course, but the fact remains that he has had success in this event.
Look for him to make his best efforts to silence his critics and bring a medal to the States.
Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway
The reigning gold medalist in this event, Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal, will be looking to maintain his title as the best super-G skier.
Svindal finished fourth in the downhill event last weekend. The disappointing finish there shouldn't carry over into super-G, as he frequently dominates this event on the World Cup circuit. He's won six of the past nine super-G events on the circuit.
The 31-year-old is masterful in speed events, and Rosa Khutor shouldn't prove to be too much of a challenge for one of the best athletes this event has ever seen.
This event really could end so many different ways. While there are obvious favorites, all three of the aforementioned athletes are perfectly capable of putting together a fast run and taking home the gold medal.
Who wins the gold?
The disappointment surrounding Miller will be his downfall, in my opinion. After trying to do too much in the downhill event and underperforming in the super combined, Miller will likely press in this event. He was expected to bring home at least one medal, but that medal won't be a gold.
Mayer may have a surprise gold already in Sochi, but his relative inexperience on the slopes will hurt his chances. Yes, super-G is his best event. But Svindal pretty much owns the event, and that's why he has the upper hand.
Svindal should absolutely dominate the event. I wouldn't be surprised if he puts together a run up to three or four seconds fast than the next finisher. He'll be wearing a gold medal around his neck after the race.
Gold: Aksel Lund Svindal
Silver: Matthias Mayer
Bronze: Bode Miller
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