Pyeongchang Winter Olympics 2018: Previewing What to Watch For on Day 4

Beau Dure@duresportFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2018

Pyeongchang Winter Olympics 2018: Previewing What to Watch For on Day 4

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    Christophe Ena/Associated Press

    The wind. Can we please stop with the wind?

    The weather in Pyeongchang, South Korea, has been wreaking havoc with the scheduled events in the mountains, particularly Alpine skiing. On Day 4 of the 2018 Winter Olympics, they'll try again to get the first Alpine race of these Games underway.

    We're hoping to see some prime-time halfpipe action Monday night, spanning generations from Shaun White and Kelly Clark to Chloe Kim and Jake Pates.

    Speaking of legends of the sport, Shani Davis also will be on the ice.


    To watch live Olympics coverage in real time, including the highlighted events detailed below, you can visit NBC's Olympics site anytime. Reminder: South Korea is 14 hours ahead of Eastern time, so an event that takes place Tuesday morning in Pyeongchang will be on Monday night in the U.S.

What Else Can Chloe Kim Do in the Halfpipe?

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    Kin Cheung/Associated Press

    What else do you need to know about Chloe Kim?

    Too young to compete in Sochi in 2014, she contented herself with a bucketful of X Games gold. She's an American teen with family in South Korea. 

    How about this: She crushed it in qualifying, posting the two top scores of the day.

    She's one of four Americans in the final (8 p.m. ET). Maddie Mastro qualified with ease, while three-time Olympic medalist Kelly Clark and Arielle Gold barely got into the top 12. 

    Yes, a U.S. sweep is possible.

    After the women's final, the men start halfpipe qualifying (11 p.m. ET). 

Who Can Adapt and Win First Alpine Skiing Medal?

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    Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

    High winds have taken a toll on the Alpine skiing schedule, forcing postponements and canceling training runs.

    The first event on the reconfigured calendar is the men's combined, which is already an unpredictable race that rewards a great downhill skier who can push his way through a slalom. Or vice versa. It's rarely run on the World Cup circuit, so we don't know.

    Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal has a pair of world titles in this event. France's Alexis Pinturault has the resume to contend. 

    The USA's four entries include one familiar name—Ted Ligety, the longtime giant slalom king and 2014 gold medalist in that event. He also won gold in this event...12 years ago. Time for a comeback?

    Weather permitting, they'll start with the downhill (9:30 p.m. ET), with the slalom following (1 a.m. ET). Maybe.

Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall Aim to End U.S. Women's Nordic Drought

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    Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

    It's bound to happen one of these days. The U.S. women will win a cross-country skiing medal.

    Given how strong the U.S. team has been recently, it's hard to believe it hasn't happened yet. But Kikkan Randall faltered in the sprint in Sochi even while she was on her way to her third straight World Cup title in the event, and no one else has managed to spring a mild Olympic upset.

    Randall took time off to start a family but has come back strong, taking third place in the World Championships in this event last year. Finishing just ahead of her was teammate Jessie Diggins, who has several chances to medal in these Olympics.

    They'll have a long day of competition, from the first qualifying rounds (3:30 a.m. ET) to the final (7:25 a.m. ET). Imagine your worst day of interval workouts, but with the incentive (or the pressure) of Olympic gold.

Can Erin Hamlin Medal Again in Luge?

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    MARK RALSTON/Getty Images

    The bad news for the U.S. sliders in the first two runs of women's luge was a wayward first run by medal favorite Summer Britcher. She bumped a few walls and gave up a half-second in a sport judged by thousandths of seconds. 

    The good news: Erin Hamlin showed once again that she can rise to the occasion. The 2014 bronze medalist and 2009 world champion laid down two consistent runs and sits fifth overall, 0.236 seconds out of first and only 0.045 seconds behind third-place Alex Gough of Canada.

    Perhaps we shouldn't count out Britcher, either. She bounced back from her first run to set a track record in the second run. Coming back from ninth will be difficult, but she isn't giving up yet.

    They'll get two more runs (5:30 a.m. ET) to sort things out. 

Will Controversy Fuel Shani Davis to Another Speedskating Medal?

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    Shani Davis is famous for several things: 

    1. Winning Olympic medals. He won gold and silver in the 1,000 meters and 1,500 meters in 2006, respectively, and then did the exact same in 2010.
    2. The uncanny resemblance in skating style to Frozone in The Incredibles.
    3. Fighting with authority and doing things his own way.

    In 2014, when the entire U.S. long-track team faltered, he seemed to have mellowed. This year, he got into an argument on his plane to South Korea, and he fumed after losing a coin toss to Erin Hamlin that broke a tie to decide the U.S. flag-bearer in the Opening Ceremony.

    Will that give him extra motivation? His team hopes so.

    The medal drought continues, with Brittany Bowe finishing fifth and Heather Bergsma fading badly to eighth in the women's 1,500 meters. Now Davis, Brian Hansen and Joey Mantia lead the U.S. men at the same distance (6 a.m. ET). 

Can Curling-Crazed Canada Claim Debut Mixed Doubles Gold?

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Curling may have originated in Scotland, but there's something so Canadian about it. When a sport is known for ice and good manners, you have to think "Canada."

    Canadian curlers currently account for 12 of the top 16 in the men's Order of Merit standings and nine of the top 16 on the women's side. That puts pressure on the Canadian representatives in the Olympics.

    For the most part, they've succeeded. Since the sport returned to the Olympics in 1998, the men have won two silvers and three straight golds, while the women also have taken a medal all five times (two golds).

    But the new event of mixed doubles is quirky, and the Canadian pair of Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morriseach of whom has won a gold medal in the traditional four-player gamestarted badly with a 9-6 loss to Norway. Since then, they've won seven straight, avenging their loss to Norway in the semifinals.

    Norway battles the Olympic Athletes from Russia, who themselves rebounded from an opening disaster against the USA, in the bronze-medal game (7:05 p.m. ET). Canada faces Switzerland for gold (6:05 a.m. ET). 

Will We See Short-Track Controversy?

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    Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

    When you put multiple skaters in a confined space where they're constantly going around corners, you're going to have collisions. You're going to have accusations and disqualifications.

    The second day of short-track speedskating (5 a.m. ET) has plenty of possibilities for controversy. We'll see the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals in the women's 500 meters. We'll have the early heats of the men's 1,000 meters. Then there's the sheer chaos of the men's 5,000-meter relay heats (6:32 a.m.) just before the women's 500-meter final (7:07 a.m.).

    The USA's Maame Biney is in the 500-meter quarterfinal against two skaters from China, which is never an easy task. In the men's 1,000 meters, we'll see Americans John-Henry Krueger and J.R. Celski. Those two men will join the USA for the relay as well.