Olympic Speedskating 2014: Schedule, TV Info, Team Medal Predictions for Day 15

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Olympic Speedskating 2014: Schedule, TV Info, Team Medal Predictions for Day 15
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The men's and women's speedskating team pursuit events at the 2014 Winter Olympics will be decided on Saturday in Sochi.

While the podium winners are yet to be determined, one thing is for sure—the United States won't be bringing home any hardware. So far the Netherlands has completely dominated speedskating and they look like they'll be tough to catch on Saturday as well.

After both the men's and women's teams were knocked out of their respective competitions on Friday, the medal drought for U.S. speedskating was made official. It's a massive disappointment for a group that featured stars like Shani Davis, Heather Richardson and Brittany Bowe.

But that hasn't stopped Team USA from jumping to the top of the total medal count with 27 through 14 days of action.

Here's a look at the remaining fields and schedules for both competitions with viewing information and predictions. While the events won't be broadcast live on American TV, you can still watch live online at NBC Live Extra and see coverage on NBC Prime time (8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT) on Saturday night. For complete information visit Sochi 2014.com

 

Men's Team Pursuit

Finals
Heat Country Time
A Netherlands 3:40.79
A Korea 3:42.32
B Canada 3:45.28
B Poland 3:52.08
C Norway 3:43.19
C Russia 3:44.22
D United States 3:46.82
D France 3:53.17

Sochi2014.com

Finals: 8:51 a.m. ET

Live Stream: NBC Live Extra

TV Coverage: NBC Prime time (8 p.m. / 7 p.m. CT)

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

The Dutch have been a dominant force in Sochi on the long-track, claiming 12 of a possible 15 medals, including four first-place finishes.

The trio of Jan Blokhuijsen, Sven Kramer and Koen Verweij have been building up to this moment in the Olympic team pursuit event for quite a while now, as detailed by Raf Casert of the Associated Press.

The Dutch meanwhile, have been dedicated to the team pursuit since the summer, with lots of practice. It showed. They twice routed opposition, first France, then Poland, to get to their first final in the event since it was introduced in 2006.

Sven Kramer, Jan Blokhuijsen and Koen Verweij coasted past France by 8.70 seconds in the quarterfinals, then went even faster in the semifinals. Nearly catching Poland and just missing an Olympic record, the Dutch won by a staggering 11.30 after eight loops around the oval.

They will face South Korea in Saturday's final. Unless the Dutch make a silly mistake — which has happened before — it seems no one can deny them gold.

The Netherlands entered this event as the overwhelming favorite and hasn't disappointed. The gold for the trio is a formality at this point but after posting a time of 3 minutes, 40.79 seconds in the semifinals, it will be interesting to see if they can approach their own world record of 3:35.60 set in November at a World Cup event.

"We have nothing yet," Kramer told Casert after reaching the final.

According to Google translate, Verweij tweeted, "Focus is high! We are ready. Tomorrow's final against Korea" in his native language following Friday's races.

That leaves Korea as the expected silver medalist, which is no bad accomplishment in this event, while Canada finished nearly seven seconds ahead of Poland in the semifinals and should coast to the bronze.

Gold: Netherlands

Silver: Korea

Bronze: Canada

 

Women's Team Pursuit

Remaining Events
Heat Country Time
Semifinals 1 Russia 3:01.53
Semifinals 1 Poland 3:02.12
Semifinals 2 Netherlands 2:58.61
Semifinals 2 Japan 3:03.99
Final C Canada 3:02.05
Final C United States 3:02.21
Final D Norway 3:05.13
Final D Korea 3:05.28

Sochi2014.com

Semifinals: 8:30 a.m. ET

Finals: 9:14 a.m. ET

Live Stream: NBC Live Extra

TV Coverage: NBC Prime time (8 p.m. / 7 p.m. CT)

 

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Likewise, the Dutch women enter Saturday as the runaway favorites to win a gold medal. In five women's singles competitions, the Netherlands claimed nine medals, including two golds.

While those numbers aren't as dominant as their male counterparts, the Dutch women have still been very impressive around the oval since the start of the Winter Games.

Casert noted that another gold would be a nice exclamation mark for Ireen Wust, who is having an extraordinary Olympics for the Netherlands so far.

Wust could become the undisputed star of the Adler Arena if she wins her fifth medal of the games and her second gold to go with three silvers. She has been in the top two of every race but the 500 meters. "We are confident," she said. So she should be. She teams up with 1,500 champion Jorien ter Mors and Lotte van Beek who won bronze in the 1,500.

In the quarterfinals, the trio of Wust, ter Mors and van Beek set an Olympic record with a time of 2:58.61. They are set to face Japan in the semifinals, but the Japanese don't stand to have much of a chance and should be headed to the bronze-medal race.

As for the other semifinal matchup, Russia and Poland enter as close competitors but I think the host country will skate fast under pressure and join the Dutch in the finals, where the Russians should end up with a silver.

That leaves Japan and Poland to duke it out for the bronze. Judging by its near two-second advantage over Japan in the quarterfinals, Poland looks poised to cap off the speedskating competition with a third-place finish on the podium.

Gold: Netherlands

Silver: Russia

Bronze: Poland

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