The final freestyle skiing event at the 2014 Winter Olympics is upon us as the ladies compete in ski cross.
Many competitions in Sochi feature time trials where each athlete goes after another and the best time wins. This is the standard for everything from bobsled to speedskating to downhill skiing. However, ski cross provides more excitement because it has multiple competitors racing at once.
Bleacher Report UK provided a look at what happened in one of the races during the men's competition:
The ladies event is certain to be just as entertaining with a number of top athletes looking to bring home a gold medal. Here is a look at what to expect on Day 14 of the Olympics.
When: Friday, Feb. 21
Where: Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
TV: NBC Sports Network
Live Stream: NBC Live Stream
|Ladies Ski Cross Schedule - Feb. 21|
|Round||Time (local)||Time (ET)|
|Seeding||11:45 a.m.||2:45 a.m.|
|1/8 Finals||1:30 p.m.||4:30 a.m.|
|Quarterfinals||2:05 p.m.||5:05 a.m.|
|Semifinals||2:25 p.m.||5:25 a.m.|
|Finals||2:41 p.m.||5:41 a.m.|
Bronze: Kelsey Serwa, Canada
After Canada's Ashleigh McIvor dominated the sport for multiple years, Kelsey Serwa was the one to keep it going for her country with a win at the 2011 World Championships while also taking home gold in the X Games.
The former Alpine skier explained in an interview that she switched to ski cross while looking for more excitement:
On the other hand, this excitement could lead to heartbreak with one fall during the early stages. With previous injuries on her mind, this might end up being a problem during the competition.
However, Serwa has the talent to beat anyone on the course, and this alone should keep her in contention all the way until the last race.
Silver: Marielle Thompson, Canada
Canada has a deep roster of talented skiers competing in ski cross, and all three in the competition have a chance to medal. However, the best chance goes to Marielle Thompson, who has been the best athlete in her sport all year.
The 21-year-old skier leads the FIS Standings thanks to a number of World Cup wins and few losses along the way. This type of consistency is what it takes to succeed in this sport as the eventual winner will have to win four races.
Eric MacKenzie of Pique Newsmagazine describes what makes Thompson so good:
Thompson has yet to finish outside the top five in a World Cup race this season. ... In a sport like ski cross, where crashes are common and can derail a skier's race through no fault of their own, that's a remarkable record.
But perhaps it should also not be surprising, considering the way she's raced every event — free of traffic. Thompson has been masterful at getting the hole shot in her heats this year and nearly impossible to pass when she gets out front.
This skill is certain to give Thompson a chance to reach the podium. However, she still might not be good enough to take home the gold.
Gold: Fanny Smith, Switzerland
The 2013 world champion was almost unable to compete at the Olympics due to a devastating knee injury. However, she has come back and is ready to contend for a gold medal.
Fanny Smith told CNN's Matthew Knight and Christina Macfarlane, "Everybody says, after an injury you become more strong. It's completely true. After my injury was the best season of my life."
Smith later added her thoughts about the upcoming competition saying, "I think the big pressure is from the media and your country and after for me. I'm just trying to, you know, be myself, enjoy the present moment of being in the Olympic Games and do my best."
The Swiss skier had one of the top qualifying times at the 2010 Games and came incredibly close to medaling. Since then, she has continued to improve and has become one of the most consistent skiers in the world.
With her speed and recent confidence, she should be able to come away with a gold medal.
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