PyeongChang 2018: Gold medal hockey, Marcel Hirscher, and more to watch on Thursday 22nd Feb

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What happened on Wednesday: Italy’s Sofia Goggia won the women’s Downhill race, holding off Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel by 0.09 seconds as the USA’s Lindsey Vonn ended her Olympic career with a second bronze medal to add to her gold from Vancouver.

Germany’s Lisa Buckwitz and Mariama Jamanka narrowly claimed gold in the women’s Bobsleigh, edging the USA’s Lauren Gibbs and Elana Meyers-Taylor, who medalled in her third consecutive Games. Two-time gold medal winner Kaillie Humphries of Canada (along with teammate Phylicia George) finished with a bronze this time.

Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins shocked the field in the women’s Team Sprint Cross Country final, becoming the first Americans to medal in the sport in 42 years by winning gold over much more highly touted duos from Sweden and Norway. While the result was likely not what she hoped, Norway’s Marit Bjoergen (along with teammate Maiken Caspersen Falla) claimed bronze in the event. The medal (Bjoergen’s fourth of the Games) gives her a total of 14 during her Olympic career, making her the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time. Norway did manage to win gold in the men’s final.

Norway also won the men’s Team Pursuit in speed skating, overtaking the South Korean group in front of their home fans. Japan set an Olympic record in the women’s event, beating the Netherlands by over a second to win gold.

Alina Zagitova leads OAR teammate Evgenia Medvedeva by 1.31 points after the short program in the women’s single skating. The Russian duo both broke the world record in the Short Skate and return to the ice (along with the rest of the field) for the Free Skate on Friday.

The Czech Republic won a thrilling overtime shootout over the U.S. men’s hockey team to advance to the semi-finals. They’ll play OAR, who beat Norway 6-1. Canada and Germany were both winners as well and will face each other in the other semi-final game on Friday. Full details of those quarter-finals here.

 

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH ON THURSDAY 22ND FEBRUARY 2018

1. USA vs. Canada, again: For the third straight Olympic Games and fifth time in the past six, the U.S. women’s hockey team will face Canada in the gold medal game (13:10 local time – Gangneung Hockey Centre). The Canadians have won the last four gold medals, only losing in the inaugural women’s tournament in 1998. The Americans have had four years to stew after an epic collapse in Sochi, as tensions were evident at the end of Canada’s 2-1 win in the preliminary round.

2. Men’s curling semi-finals: The sweeping is getting more serious as the participants in the gold medal match will be determined by the end of Thursday’s events. First, there will be a tiebreaker between Switzerland and Great Britain (9:05 local time – Gangneung Curling) to determine which team will face Sweden in the first semi-final (20:05 local time). The other semi-final features another match-up between the U.S. and Canada after the Americans managed a 9-7 win over their North American rivals in Monday’s round robin session.

3. A night of short track finals: It’s going to be action-packed inside the Gangneung Ice Arena as medals are given in the men’s 500m (20:15 local time), ladies’ 1000m (20:29 local time) and men’s 5000m relay (21:00 local time). Anything can happen in the quarter-final and semi-final heats for the first two events, where the fastest two athletes in each heat advance, regardless of time. The second quarter-final in the men’s 500 (19:02 local time) is especially intriguing, as it features China’s Wu Dajing, who set an Olympic record in the event on Tuesday, and South Korea’s world number one Hwang Dae-heon, who struggled earlier in the 1000m and 1500m.

4. Marcel Hirscher goes for his third gold: Austria’s Marcel Hirscher aims to be only the third man in Olympic history to win three gold medals in Alpine skiing at the same Games when he competes in the Slalom (10:00 local time – Yongpyong Alpine Centre). The six-time world cup overall champion, who has transcended his sport, has been chilling out since grabbing his second gold at PyeongChang. He won silver in the event in Sochi, but has been skiing at an even higher level during these Olympics.

5. Who’ll get the biggest air? Austria’s Anna Gasser put together the best qualifying run in women’s Big Air snowboarding and she’ll have three chances to top the leaderboard during Thursday’s final (09:30 local time – Alpensia Ski Jumping Big Air). The Japanese duo of Yuka Fujimori and Reira Iwabuchi will certainly be in contention, as will two-time Slopestyle gold medalist Jamie Anderson, who isn’t as dominant in big air but certainly could pull off a top score on a run, especially after some meditation.

 

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