The 2014 Winter Olympics will come to a close in Sochi this weekend, but not before the United States, Russia and Canada battle it out to decide a winner in the medal count.
Team USA leads host nation Russia by one medal coming into Day 15, while Canada is three back with two days of competition remaining. Keep in mind that the Canadians are guaranteed to add a medal on the final day of competition on Sunday after earning a berth in the men's hockey gold-medal game.
With two days left in the Winter Olympics, the United States remains in first place in the medal count. pic.twitter.com/UbVWagQ8Mt— ESPN (@espn) February 21, 2014
But on Saturday, Americans will have their eyes on two-time Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety and the U.S. men's hockey team. Ligety will take aim at a podium spot in the men's alpine skiing slalom, while the U.S. men will try to lock up another medal with a win over Finland in the bronze-medal game.
With Day 15 already upon us, let's take a look at the updated medal count and what storylines you should be following on Saturday.
|Discipline||Event||Start Time||TV (U.S.)||TV (U.K.)|
|Alpine Skiing||Men's Slalom||4:45 p.m. MSK, 7:45 a.m. ET, 12:45 p.m. GMT||NBCSN||BBC Two|
|Biathlon||Men's 4x7.5km Relay||6:30 p.m. MSK, 9:30 a.m. ET, 2:30 p.m. GMT||NBCSN, NBC||BBC Two|
|Cross Country||Ladies' 30km Mass Start||1:30 p.m. MSK, 4:30 a.m. 9:30 a.m. GMT||NBCSN, NBC||BBC Two|
|Ice Hockey||Men's Bronze Medal Game||7 p.m. MSK, 10 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. GMT||NBCSN||BBC Two|
|Snowboarding||Ladies' Parallel Slalom||9:15 a.m. MSK, 12:15 a.m. ET, 5:15 a.m. GMT||NBCSN, NBC||BBC Two|
|Snowboarding||Men's Parallel Slalom||9:42 a.m. MSK, 12:42 a.m. ET, 5:42 a.m. GMT||NBCSN||BBC Two|
|Speedskating||Men's Team Pursuit||5:51 p.m. MSK, 8:51 a.m. ET, 1:51 p.m. GMT||NBCSN||BBC Two|
|Speedskating||Ladies' Team Pursuit||6:14 p.m. MSK, 9:14 a.m. ET, 2:14 p.m. GMT||NBCSN||BBC Two|
Ted Ligety Takes to the Slopes
Team USA superstar Ted Ligety achieved legend status on Wednesday by becoming just the second American alpine skier to win two Olympic gold medals, posting the fastest time in the men's giant slalom.
On Saturday, the 29-year-old will look to win a second medal in Sochi when he competes in the men's slalom. Run No. 1 is scheduled for 4:45 local time (7:45 a.m. ET) and will feature 117 skiers. If Ligety is able to post a strong time, American viewers won't want to miss run No. 2, which is scheduled to begin around 8:15 p.m. local time (11:15 a.m. ET).
Ligety will certainly have his work cut out for him on Saturday, but with a gold already under his belt, he can ski without pressure, per interview with Matt Lauer on TODAY via Scott Stump:
It was pretty nerve-wracking, though, especially (because) my first two events here didn’t go all that great. I was hoping to try to medal in those as well. The giant slalom I always knew was my bread and butter, so to get that one is a really, really big relief.
Ligety's two Olympic golds have come in men's combined (2006) and giant slalom (2014). Therefore, an Olympic medal in slalom on Saturday would be his first and provide a mighty boost to his resume.
Regardless of his performance in slalom, Ligety will surely be heading home with his head held high.
Bronze or Bust for U.S. Men
Following another gut-wrenching one-goal loss to Canada in the Olympics, the U.S. men's hockey team is in danger of leaving Sochi empty-handed.
Team USA, who fell 1-0 to Canada in Friday's semifinals, will face off against reigning Olympic bronze medalist Finland inside the Bolshoy Ice Dome at 7 p.m. local time (10 a.m. ET).
Although Finland is unlikely to present the same type of resistance the Canadians managed on Friday, the U.S. desperately needs to jump-start its offense. While the Americans missed plenty of solid chances in the semis, they were unable to go where they wanted with the puck.
What a game by Team Canada. Almost perfect defensive effort. 2010 gold medal winners faces 2006 gold medal winners on Sunday.— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) February 21, 2014
With Finland playing with tons of belief coming in, the Americans won't have any time to feel sorry for themselves if they hope to close out the Games on a high note.
A win would mark Team USA's first Olympic men's hockey bronze since 1936. On the other hand, a loss would signal the second time in three Olympics that the Americans fail to land on the podium.
The U.S. has claimed just two Olympic hockey medals since winning gold in Lake Placid in 1980. Both of those medals were silver.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.