Alpine skiing will conclude on Saturday with the men's slalom. This sport has been one of the most action-packed in all of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi and should provide a dramatic conclusion on Day 15. Featuring a plethora of talented athletes from around the world, it should be a very tight race for the podium.
Saturday's action will have two different runs on the slalom with the athlete who posts the lowest-combined score taking home the coveted gold medal.
Intensity will be at an all-time high, as countries continue to race for the overall medal lead:
This is an event that should not be missed. That being said, let's take a look at the event's schedule and viewing information followed by a prediction of which athletes will find Olympic glory on the podium.
|Alpine Skiing: Men's Slalom Run 1||Saturday, Feb. 22||7:45 a.m. ET||NBC|
|Alpine Skiing: Men's Slalom Run 2||Saturday, Feb. 22||11:15 a.m. ET||NBC|
This event can also be live streamed on NBCOlympics.com and viewed on NBC's prime-time coverage at 8 p.m. ET.
Marcel Hirscher of Austria is the name to watch here. He is ranked at the top of the World Cup rankings in this event and figures to be the early favorite.
Despite barely missing out on a medal in the early goings of the Olympics—he finished fourth in the men's giant slalom—Hirscher has the talent to right the ship and come away with the gold medal here.
Marcel Hirscher's been 4th, 5th & 4th in Olympic career. The 2-time World Cup champ has last chance in men's slalom: http://t.co/haznyLwAhf— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) February 22, 2014
Don't sleep on United States skier Ted Ligety. Even though he is ranked 31st in the world in this event, he is riding an extreme high right now after taking home a surprise gold medal in the men's giant slalom.
Scott Stump of Today wrote about Ligety's relief after finally earning an Olympic gold medal:
It was definitely worth the wait. 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.
There is a strong possibility that Ligety's hot streak and new-found confidence could help him pave the way to another trip to the podium.
Ivica Kostelic of Croatia currently has his lowest slalom World Cup ranking in years at 15th overall. However, he has previously spent three consecutive years ranked within the top three. Kostelic has also found success in Sochi, earning a silver medal in the men's super combined.
At the age of 34, Kostelic is one of the veterans of this event. If he can maintain his form, he could very well earn his second medal of the 2014 Olympic Games.
It's also hard to discount Felix Neureuther of Germany in this event. He got off to a slow start in Sochi, finishing eighth in the men's giant slalom. However, he is ranked second in the slalom in the World Cup standings.
He could flourish on Saturday being that he will finally be skiing in his best event.
This field of athletes is so deep and full of talent that it can be speculated that a dark horse will emerge from the pack and surprise the world. However, it will be rather difficult for anyone attempting that feat to surpass the veterans and current Alpine skiing champions.
Expect Hirscher to finish strong here—he will not want to leave Sochi empty-handed. Kostelic and Ligety look to be strong contenders as well due to their hot streaks. We should be in for an intense event and a dramatic conclusion on Day 15 of the Olympics.
Gold Medal: Marcel Hirscher, Austria
Silver Medal: Ivica Kostelic, Croatia
Bronze Medal: Ted Ligety, United States