PyeongChang 2018: Pairs Figure Skating, Men’s Hockey, and More To Watch on Wednesday

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What happened Tuesday: Chloe Kim received plenty of hype heading into PyeongChang and on Tuesday she showed everyone why. The 17-year-old American daughter of South Korean immigrants dazzled in the ladies’ halfpipe, pulling off back-to-back 1080s to win her first Olympic gold medal. Next stop for Kim… Harvard?

Marcel Hirscher has won six consecutive World Cup overall titles, but the 28-year-old Austrian’s greatness had never translated to his Olympic performances until Tuesday, when he finally won the men’s combined alpine skiing event. “I’m super happy that this stupid question mark over my career has been removed,” he told reporters afterwards. Hear more from Hirscher on our Podcast.

Canada won the first ever mixed doubles gold medal in curling, beating world champs Switzerland 10-3 in the inaugural Olympic competition for the event. It’s the second gold for teammates Kaitlyn Lawes (women’s team, 2014) and John Morris (men’s team, 2010).

The Dutch continue to dominate the speed skating competition, with Kjeld Nuis and Patrick Roest winning them gold and silver in the men’s 1500m. South Korea’s Kim Min Seok got the host country back on the medal stand with a bronze placement. The Dutch have now celebrated 8 of the 12 medals awarded at the Olympic Oval so far.

A home crowd didn’t help South Korea’s Choi Minjeong in the ladies’ 500m short track. After a photo finish placed her behind Italy’s Arianna Fontana, Choi was disqualified for cutting the line, moving the Netherlands’ Yara van Kerkhof into silver medal position. Canada’s Kim Boutin took bronze as British world record holder Elise Christie crashed out.

Sweden’s Stina Nilsson dethroned 2014 gold medallist Maiken Caspersen Falla in the women’s sprint classic final, traversing the cross country course three seconds faster than the Norwegian, who held off OAR’s Yulia Belorukova to win silver. Norway’s Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo won gold in the men’s individual sprint, as Federico Pellegrino of Italy beat OAR’s Alexander Bolshunov in a photo finish for third.

Germany lead the way after day four with a total of five golds. That’s after they topped the podium in the women’s singles luge for a sixth straight Games, with Natalie Geisenberger defending her Olympic title and edging compatriot Dajana Eitberger to silver. Alex Gough of Canada took bronze.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH ON WEDNESDAY 14TH FEBRUARY 2018

1. Shaun White goes for the gold in halfpipe: Any questions about whether the two-time Olympic gold medallist was still a viable contender in the men’s halfpipe were silenced on Tuesday after the 31-year-old American pulled off a chart-topping score of 93.25 in the first qualification run to advance to Wednesday’s final (10:30 local time – Phoenix Park). After a disappointing fourth-placed finish in Sochi, White narrowed his Olympic focus to his signature event heading into PyeongChang. He’ll likely face his toughest medal competition from U.S. teammate Ben Ferguson in the absence of 2014 Olympic gold medalist Iouri “I-Pod” Podladtchikov of Switzerland, who had to withdraw after suffering a broken nose at the Winter X Games.

2. Mikaela Shiffrin finally gets her shot: The postponement of the ladies’ giant slalom on Monday delayed the PyeongChang debut of the 22-year-old potential medal favourite in five alpine events. Now she gets to kick off her Olympic run in her best one, the ladies’ slalom (10:15 local time – Yongpyong Alpine Centre). Shiffrin won gold in the event as an 18-year-old in Sochi, becoming the youngest Olympic champion ever in the slalom. Since that triumph, she’s won two World Championship giant slalom gold medals, along with the World Cup overall title in 2017.

3. The pairs return to the ice: The pair skating short program will feature many of the tandems who competed in the team event on the first few days of the Games, where OAR’s Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov topped the judges’ scorecards with an 80.92 score. They edged ahead of Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford (76.57) and Germany’s Alijona Savchenko and Bruno Massot (75.36). So what will they have in store on Wednesday? And can the North Korean pair of Ryom and Kim spring a surprise? We’ll find out Wednesday (10:00 local time – Gangneung Ice Arena).

4. The men’s hockey competition begins: There may not be as many recognizable names in this year’s competition without the participation of National Hockey League players, but that likely means that the men’s tournament is more wide-open than it has been in the past two decades. The OAR team, which is full of players from the KHL and former NHL stars in Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk, take on Slovakia in their first preliminary round game (21:10 local time – Gangneung Hockey Centre) while the new-look U.S. team faces Slovenia (21:10 local time – Kwandong Hockey Centre).

5. Ireen Wust goes for number 11: The Dutch have dominated the speed skating competition so far, especially 31-year-old Ireen Wust, who became the first winter Olympian to win individual gold at four consecutive Olympic Games with her victory on Monday in the ladies’ 1500m. After also picking up a silver in the 3000m, a medal in Wednesday’s ladies’ 1000m (19:00 local time – Gangneung Oval) would give her a career total of 11 Olympic medals.

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