The U.S. women’s hockey team began its quest to end a 20-year Olympic gold medal drought by defeating Finland 3-1 on Sunday at Kwandong Hockey Center in the preliminary round tournament opener for both teams.The top-seeded Americans gave up a goal to Finland forward Venla Hovi — who lives in Winnipeg, Canada, and plays for the University of Manitoba — with only 5.8 seconds remaining in the first period. However, the U.S. team pulled even at 8:58 of the second period, when Monique Lamoureux-Morando showed great persistence around the net and converted her own rebound. Kendall Coyne gave the U.S. the lead when she scored on a one-timer during a power play, off assists from Hilary Knight and Brianna Decker.The 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games are kicking into high gear, with Team USA bagging its first medal — gold, nonetheless — when 17-year-old snowboarder Red Gerard won the men’s slopestyle early Sunday in South Korea. So make sure you’ve checked out everything you need to know about the 2018 Winter Olympics, and then get ready for Sunday’s slate of events with this preview.Women’s hockey kicks off the day (at a very early hour, for those watching from home), but come Sunday night, skiing and snowboarding will take over as Team USA veteran Jamie Anderson looks to defend her gold in women’s slopestyle. We’ve got you covered here with an overview of what to watch and how to watch or stream it on the third full day of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, as well as a medal tracker with updates from the previous events: There’s a feeling of unfinished business with the United States women’s ice hockey team. At the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Team USA fell to Team Canada in a heartbreaking overtime gold medal game loss that would not have been if the puck had ended up a mere inch to the right on this empty net try.It’s been four years since Sochi, but the conversation about women’s hockey constantly seems to swirl around these two powerhouse teams. Canada and the United States have met a few times since, as Team USA punched back with an overtime gold of their own in the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship. Yet, the rivalry between the two countries is far from over.While the United States and Canada will dominate the conversation, there are six other countries competing this year — including the Olympic Athletes from Russia and a unified Korean team. Out of the five Olympic games played with women’s hockey, only the 2006 games in Turin, Italy, were the United States and Canada not No. 1 and No. 2 in some order. With the randomness of hockey, however, it certainly can be anyone’s game.The United States will play three preliminary round games against the three teams in Group A, with the top two teams in the group advancing straight to the semifinals. If you’re a night owl, or a very early riser, you can catch these games at odd hours on either NBCSN or USA. Women’s hockey is just as engaging, entertaining, and exciting as their men’s counterparts. In fact, while the NHL has skipped out on the men’s side, the women are bringing their best to this tournament. Leagues like the NWHL and the CWHL have showcased the incredible amounts of growth women’s hockey has gone through since the last Olympic Games, lending to a healthy, expanding community.
Hockey fans already got a taste of the talent they’ll see this winter, as Hilary Knight shot the lights out during the Accuracy Shooting event at the All-Star Skills Competition in a time that would have beaten many NHL stars.If you’re a Team USA fan, Hilary Knight is a name to remember. Knight had six points in five games in 2014, and was a key member of Team USA’s 2017 World Championship win with nine points in five games.Alongside Knight, Amanda Kessel, AKA Best Kessel, and Brianna Decker are among the USA’s best forwards and sure-fire playmakers.
As for Team Canada, you cannot go wrong with Marie-Philip Poulin, a two-time gold medalist who put the dagger through the heart of Team USA with her golden goal in 2014. In that tournament, Poulin posted three goals and two assists.Natalie Spooner and Meghan Agosta are also solid choices for Team Canada, as they were member’s of the last Team Canada squad that won gold.The Americans are expected to compete for a gold medal once again against rival Canada. Anything short of making it to the final will be an upset for Team USA, which is stacked once again with the best competition the sport has to offer. That, plus the revenge factor from the last Olympics makes this sport a must watch for any fan, casual or hardcore.Nearly every world championship in women’s ice hockey has been fought over by two teams: the United States and Canada.The powerhouse ice hockey teams have traded world titles and Olympic medals since the 1990s, typically with Team USA coming out on top in the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) women’s world championship and Team Canada securing gold at the Olympics, where the sport debuted in 1998.The women’s storied rivalry will likely take ice hockey’s center stage at this year’s Olympics as they battle over the biggest title in their sport.It’s one of the best rivalries in women’s sports or in sports in general,” said Brianna Decker, a Team USA forward who will compete at her second Olympic games in PyeongChang. “We cherish the opportunity to play them.The IIHF women’s World Championship began in 1990, when Canada beat the U.S. 5-2 win in the final round. Canada continued its dominance over the U.S. with each IIHF world championship until 2005, when the U.S. won 1-0 to earn the title. That win came several years after the U.S. secured the first-ever women’s ice hockey gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, where women’s ice hockey debuted as an Olympic sport.But Canada has dominated the Olympics with gold medal wins in each Olympic showdown since — most of which were won in the final round against Team USA, save for a Canada-Sweden showdown in 2006. That year, the U.S. won bronze.Heading into PyeongChang, Team USA is still reeling from a dramatic loss in the final round of the 2014 Sochi Olympic games, where Canada secured a 3-2 win in overtime. “It’s something that stings and something you don’t forget,” Decker said of the loss in Sochi.Though the U.S. has recovered with world championship wins against Canada (with the most recent in 2017), no gold is quite as sweet as that from Olympics, Decker says. She said the U.S. has upped its mental toughness in preparation for PyeongChang as they aim to earn their first Olympic gold in 20 years. The team now does mental visualizations of upcoming games and what their opponents may bring to the ice to better prepare themselves.The rivalry is particularly unique due to the dominance each team has had on the ice. That differs for men’s ice hockey, where the Olympic gold has gone to Canada, the U.S., Sweden, the Soviet Union and the Czech Republic. The same goes for the men’s IIHF hockey championships in recent years, with Sweden, Canada, Russia and Finland, among others, coming out on top.A number of the women’s players from Team USA and Team Canada played with or against each other in college — turning former teammates into arch rivals.For us, when we’re on the ice, it’s all business,” said Haley Irwin, a forward on Canada’s team and two-time Olympic gold medal winner. “It’s game time. There are no friends on the ice when you’re playing a hockey team.When you have Canada and USA, it’s just game time,” she added.The rivalry has taken shape in a variety of ways on and off the ice. At two different matches just months before the Olympics in Sochi, Team USA and Team Canada broke out in fights on the ice, where fists flew and players shoved each other as referees tried to pull them apart. “We had a similar scarp in 2010, so I guess we have one every Olympic cycle to get it out of our system,” Hayley Wickenheiser, a five-time Canadian Olympian who won’t be competing in PyeongChang. (A similar brawl has not broken out on the ice between the two team during this Olympic cycle yet.As for off the ice, U.S. forward Amanda Kessel said in an interview last year her brother married former Canadian player Courtney Birchard, which made for a somewhat awkward wedding.She had just retired, but she was on the national team for quite a while so a lot of the Canadian girls were at her wedding,” Kessel said. “We were cordial there. Since the season hadn’t started, it was OK. But now, I don’t know if I’d say much more than hi.”Kendall Coyne scored a powerplay goal as the U.S. women’s hockey team came from behind to beat Finland 3-1 in their Olympic tournament opener on Sunday, surviving a scare from a team that has never beaten them in Olympic play. Coyne, a veteran forward, struck the winner with Finland’s Linda Valimaki off for tripping just past the halfway point of the second period, one-timing a feed from Hilary Knight past goaltender Noora Raty.
For the Americans the trouble with scoring that has beset them since late last year continued against a scrappy Finnish team. In their last four pre-Olympic international friendlies, all against arch-rival Canada, the Americans scored just three goals, and head coach Robb Stauber knew that was an issue coming into the tournament.You would like to come out and score a whole bunch more, but as Finland does they play very tough,” Stauber said. “We expected it and weren’t surprised by it at all.On Sunday, the U.S. outshot Finland 42-24 but connected on just two apart from an empty netter by Dani Cameranesi with just 13 seconds remaining in the game and Raty pulled for an extra attacker.The Finns, who came into the game 0-6 against the U.S. in Olympic play, stunned the Americans by taking a 1-0 lead with time nearly expired in the first period. Finland forward Petra Nieminen drove into the left corner in the U.S. zone and fed Venla Hovi in the slot, and she lifted the puck past American goaltender Maddie Rooney with just six seconds left.We had a pretty good first period we just had a mental lapse on the play, we were in real good position, we just didn’t pick up the most dangerous player,” Stauber said.But it’s great to be able to make a mistake like that and still get a win because on any given night a mistake like that can hurt you and tonight it didn’t so it bring a level of awareness.Monique Lamoureux-Morando tied it about midway through the second period. She dug the puck out of a scrum in the corner to the right of the Finnish net and stickhandled across the crease. Goaltender Raty stopped her first backhander but Lamoureux-Morando put the rebound past her.All in all I am very thankful for a hard fought first game,” Stauber said. “It shouldn’t be easy and it was not easy.Next up for the Americans are the Olympic Athletes of Russia, followed by their nemesis – Team Canada.The women’s game was first introduced at the Olympics in 1998 in Nagano, Japan. The United States topped Canada to win that initial gold medal, but their northern neighbors have triumphed in each since.The United States women’s hockey team has rallied to beat Finland 3-1 to remain perfect when opening an Olympic tournament.Finland stunned the Americans with 5.8 seconds left in the first. Hovi Venla scored on a wrister from the slot giving the Finns a 1-0 lead.Monique Lamoureux-Morando tied it up for the Americans. She dug the puck out of the corner and skated in front of the net where goalie Noora Raty stopped Lamoureux-Morando’s backhander. Then the forward scored off the rebound past the Finn goalie’s right skate at 8:58 in the second.The Americans took a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal at 11:29. Hilary Knight passed to Kendall Coyne, who put a one-timer top shelf from the edge of the right circle.Dani Cameranesi sealed it with an empty netter with 13 seconds left.German athletes have dominated training for the individual normal hill event, which is part of the Nordic combined, at the Pyeongchang Olympics.Johannes Rydzek posted the longest jump of 105.5 meters in Sunday’s first practice at the Alpensia Ski Jumping Center, while compatriot Fabian Riessle was tops with 109 meters in the second session.The normal hill final will be Wednesday.Defending Olympic champion Eric Frenzel, also of Germany, was third in the first jump and 16th in the second.Nordic combined features ski jumping followed by a 10-kilometer cross-country race. The athlete who wins the ski jumping phase begins first, followed by the remaining athletes in their order of finish.Because of high winds on Sunday, the athletes had only two practice jumps instead of the scheduled three.The Russian men’s hockey team playing under the Olympic flag has arrived looking like gold medal favorite after crushing host South Korea 8-1 in an exhibition game.Defenseman Nikita Nesterov calls the team a “red machine” that just needs to play Russian hockey to win.Nesterov notes that their team includes a lot of players who were in the NHL.With former NHL stars Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk expected to play major roles, the Russians practice at Gangneung Hockey Centre for the first time Monday.They open Wednesday against Slovakia.The Russians can’t compete under their homeland’s flag because the country was banned from the games after revelations of a massive doping operation. The International Olympic Committee cleared 168 competitors to take part under the moniker “Olympic Athletes from Russia.Sven Kramer of the Netherlands has won his third consecutive 5,000-meter Olympic gold medal in Pyeongchang, becoming the first man to take three in a row.He won with a devastating kick late in the race, coming back from behind to beat Ted-Jan Bloemen of Canada and setting an Olympic record.Bloemen took silver by .0002 of a second in a head-to-head with Norwegian Sverre Lunde Pedersen.Kramer is looking for two more gold medals, starting with the 10,000 coming up next Thursday and capping it with the team pursuit, where the Dutch are overwhelming favorites.Kramer used his typical late kick to make the difference, taking the lead two-thirds of the way through the race and letting his massive stride do the rest to finish in 6 minutes 09.76 seconds, holding an edge of 1.85 seconds over the two other medalists.
The U.S. speedskating team is 0-for-2 at the big oval.Emery Lehman skated the 5,000 meters in 6 minutes, 31.17 seconds on Sunday, more than 13 seconds off his personal best. His time was also over 3 seconds slower than at last month’s Olympic trials in Milwaukee. He finished 21st out of 22 skaters.His teammate, Carlijn Schoutens, had a similar result in the women’s 3,000 on Saturday. She finished 22nd with a time of 4:15.60, which was over 10 seconds slower than her personal best.The Americans are hoping to bounce back from their performance four years ago in Sochi, when they were shut out in every event.Japanese forward Rui Ukita has been suspended one game by the International Ice Hockey Federation for kicking at an opposing player late in Japan’s 2-1 loss to Sweden to open preliminary play in women’s hockey.The IIHF announced the suspension Sunday. Ukita will miss Monday’s game against Switzerland in preliminary play.Ukita scored the lone goal for Japan. But the disciplinary panel studied videos and ruled Ukita made a kicking move toward Annie Svedin’s lower body after a battle for the puck in front of the Swedish bench. Svedin pushed Ukita to the ice. While Svedin was over Ukita, the Japanese forward kicked.The IIHF says the panel determined the kicking motion was not momentum from the play but a clear movement toward an opponent. That violates a federation rule.American skier Gus Kenworthy is embracing an unofficial role at the Pyeongchang Winter Games — as flagbearer for the LGBT community. He hopes to help reach a point where being a gay athlete is no longer an issue.The 2014 slopestyle silver medalist is a still-rare example of an openly gay athlete, and he’s encouraging others to be open about themselves too.His “We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it” post from the games’ opening ceremony, with a photo of him kissing U.S. skater Adam Rippon, also openly gay, got lots of attention. So did an Instagram post that took a dig at U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.Kenworthy says the visibility of openly gay athletes in Pyeongchang “shows a shift and a change and hopefully it means that in the future it won’t be a big thing. It won’t be a headline, it won’t be ‘the gay Olympian,’ the ‘gay skier,’ the gay anything. It will just be ‘a skier.Norway’s Simen Hegstad Krueger crashed on the first lap of the men’s 30-kilometer cross-country race but stormed back to take home the gold medal.When the mass start began and with skiers bottled up in lines, Krueger slipped and his right ski came out from under him, causing him to fall.The two skiers directly behind him were Andrey Larkov and Denis Spitsov, Russian athletes competing under the Olympic flag, and they toppled over him.By the time the three untangled themselves, they were at the rear of the field.But Krueger methodically worked his way back through the pack and took the lead with 5 kilometers remaining.Norway swept the podium with Marting Johnsrud Sundby taking silver and Hans Christer Holund earning bronze.Spitsov nearly medaled, finishing in fourth place.Patrick Chan, Gabrielle Daleman and ice dance dynamos Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir will try to deliver figure skating team gold for Canada when the event concludes Monday.The Canadians have 45 points, six ahead of the Russians, heading into the men’s, women’s and ice dance free programs. The U.S. is third with 35 points, one ahead of Italy.Teams were required to submit their final lineups after Sunday’s competition.Alina Zagitova will handle the free skate for the Russians, while Mikhail Kolyada tries to rebound from his dismal short program. Dmitri Soloviev and Ekaterina Bobrova will do the ice dance.The U.S. team is making two substitutions with Mirai Nagasu taking the baton from Bradie Tennell and Adam Rippon replacing Nathan Chen. Alex and Maia Shibutani will be back for the dance.Norway’s Simen Hegstad Krueger, who fell and crashed on the first lap of the men’s 30-kilometer cross-country race, has stormed back to take the lead with five kilometers left.As the mass start began and with skiers bottled up in lines, Krueger appeared to slip in mid-stride and his right ski came out from under him, causing him to fall to the ground. The two skiers directly behind him — Russians Andrey Larkov and Denis Spitsov — couldn’t stop and toppled over him.The skiers became entangled and lost more than 10 seconds to the field.Spitsov has battled back to move into seventh place.Maddie Rooney will be in net for the United States against Finland in the Americans’ Olympic opener in women’s hockey.This is the first Olympics for the 20-year-old goalie from Andover, Minnesota. U.S. coach Robb Stauber picked Rooney over Alex Rigsby and Nicole Hensley for their opener after Rooney went 4-0-2 with 1.81 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage.Rooney won three of the first four games between the Americans and Canada last fall. Her last international game was Dec. 17 in Edmonton, Alberta, in a 2-1 overtime loss to Canada to wrap up an exhibition slate between the sport’s North American powers.The United States is looking for its first gold medal in 20 years. The Americans won gold when women’s hockey debuted in the Olympics in 1998 in Nagano and have been shut out in the past four games.They’ve never lost to Finland in six games at the Olympics, and they beat Finland 3-1 in the preliminary round in 2014 in Sochi.
The men’s 30-kilometer cross-country skiathlon turned into a NASCAR race on the first lap.As the mass start began and with skiers bottled up in lines, Norway’s Simen Hegstad Krueger appeared to slip midstride, and his right ski came out from under him, causing him to fall to the ground.The two skiers directly behind him were Andrey Larkov and Denis Spitsov, Russian athletes competing under the Olympic flag, and they toppled over him.The three men spent several seconds desperately trying to untangle their bodies and their skis from one another.By the time they got going, they had lost several seconds to the lead pack.All three were considered top skiers. Hegstad was ranked seventh in the World Cup standings, with Larkov 11th and Spitsov 16th.Mikaela Shiffrin and the rest of the women’s giant slalom racers get a rare chance to open the Alpine schedule at the Olympics. The men’s downhill has been postponed because of high winds. That means the women will compete before the men in ski racing at a Winter Games for the first time since 1984.As her mother, Eileen, who also serves as a coach, watched from the bottom of the Yongpyong hill, Shiffrin joined other racers in taking a couple of casual trips down a gateless giant slalom piste during a free ski the day before Monday’s race.The last time the women competed before the men was at the Sarajevo Games, when a blizzard led to a rearranged schedule.The 22-year-old Shiffrin could be a transcendent figure over the next two weeks. She was the slalom gold medalist at the 2014 Sochi Games, where she also finished fifth in the giant slalom. She is considered a top medal contender in both this time around.Canada leads the Olympic team figure skating event heading into the final day, offsetting a record women’s short program by two-time world champion Evgenia Medvedeva by winning the ice dance short and pairs free skate.The Canadians used a flowing routine by Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford in the free skate to extend their lead over the Russians. Earlier, 2010 Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won the ice dance.That leaves Canada with 45 points to 39 for the Russians, who slipped further behind when Italy’s Valentina Marchei and Ondrej Hotarek were a surprising second in pairs. The Italians trail the United States by a single point, 36-35, heading into Monday’s free skates in the other three disciplines.Americans Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim were fourth.Qualifying in women’s slopestyle snowboarding has been canceled amid high winds.Officials initially pushed back the start time for 30 minutes Sunday while hoping the winds at Phoenix Snow Park would die down. When they didn’t, they pushed back qualifying to Monday morning.American Jamie Anderson is a heavy favorite to repeat as Olympic champion in the event, which made its Olympic debut in Sochi four years ago.Figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva says after setting a world record in the short program of the team event that Russia’s doping troubles have made her stronger.Medvedeva is the two-time reigning world champion and favorite for gold in the women’s individual competition.She was also picked to represent Russia in front of the International Olympic Committee in December before the IOC opted against a blanket ban on Russian athletes but required a reduced team to compete under the Olympic flag.Medvedeva says a foot injury as well as the uncertainty around the Russian team helped make her a better skater.She says the problems inspired her and the difficulties made her stronger.Despite her success Sunday, she says she could have been better prepared mentally, adding, “I have to relax a little bit, maybe.Here’s a warning to Russian athletes at the Pyeongchang Olympics: The International Olympic Committee is watching you.Spokesman Mark Adams says the IOC has “surveillance going on looking at the actions and behavior” of the Russians at the games. He says a team of observers will decide if Russians are breaching “not just the letter but the spirit of the law.The ban prohibits Russian nationalist symbols and requires the athletes to not complain about the ruling.Russia was banned from the games for a massive doping scheme. Nevertheless, the IOC has allowed 168 athletes to compete under the neutral banner of “Olympic Athletes from Russia.Russians have been told to behave and respect the IOC’s decision. If they do, the Russian Olympic Committee may have its ban lifted on the last day of the Olympics and be able to fly the Russian flag in the closing ceremony.American Bradie Tennell set a season best in the women’s short program with her usual display of precision and calmness.Tennell’s score of 68.94 puts her in fifth place. The newcomer to the top ranks of figure skating is a mere .01 points behind Japan’s Satoko Miyahara.Tennell says, “I’m super happy with the performance I put out there.” She says, “It’s what I’ve been training a long time for.Earlier, Canada’s two-time Olympic medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won the team ice dance short program. The gold medalists in 2010 and silver medalists four years later blew away the field by a margin of 5.05 points.The U.S. got a strong performance to the required Latin theme from siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani for second place.
An International Olympic Committee official has used the word “attack” to describe an outage that hit the internet and Wi-Fi systems of the Pyeongchang Olympics just minutes before the opening ceremony. The network at some venues was disabled for several hours.Organizers initially declined to use the charged word. IOC spokesman Mark Adams is now calling it an attack but says “the best industry practice is you don’t talk about an attack at this stage.Adams says “we’re not going to comment on the issue because it’s an issue we’re dealing with. We wouldn’t start giving you the details of an investigation before it’s come to an end.” He described the Olympic systems “as secure.Organizing committee spokesman Sung Baik-you says “we know the cause of the problem and we have decided with the IOC that we’re not going to reveal the source.The opening ceremony was attended by several heads of state and included North Korea’s ceremonial leader, Kim Yong Nam, and the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Also on hand was U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.The games are being held about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the border between North and South Korea, countries that technically have been at war since an armistice in 1953.American teenager Red Gerard has won the first gold medal for the United States at the 2018 Winter Olympics, edging Canadians Max Parrot and Mark McMorris for the top spot in men’s slopestyle snowboarding.Gerard, a 17-year-old from Silverthorne, Colorado, drilled his third and final run on the chilly but sun-splashed course at Phoenix Snow Park. His score of 87.16 was just enough to edge Parrot.Parrot washed out in his first two runs but nailed his final trip through the tricky series of rails and jumps to post a score of 86.00. McMorris took third after putting up a score of 85.20 in his second run.Gerard is the second straight American to win the event, which made its Olympic debut four years ago.The U.S. National Sled Hockey Team takes on Canada today at the Vale Health & Wellness Center in Port Colborne, Ontario. Puck drop is set for 3:30 p.m. ET in Team USA’s final international tilt before the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games next March. This is the fourth meeting between the two teams this season. On Thursday (Feb. 8), the two teams squared off in Buffalo, New York, where the U.S. skated to a 2-1 win at the HarborCenter.
Throughout the 2018 Winter Olympics we’ll be letting you know what events are airing where and when throughout the games, starting today.All times are local to Central New York.The snow may be causing problems for the athletes, but it is giving us some wonderful pictures in the women’s moguls. This is Yulia Galysheva of Kazakhstan in spectacular action.When fast food chef Cha Gwen Sol added a “Flying Tomato burger” to the menu of his Pyeongchang restaurant as an Olympic gimmick, he never expected the owner of the nickname, snowboarding star Shaun White, to turn up and order one.Is it real? This is Shaun White? It is not a dream? Shaun White tells me it is real. Oh my God, unbelievable,” said Cha.He ordered from me the Flying Tomato Burger and so I cook it for him. Today is a very happy day.I am going to the snowboard halfpipe final on Valentine’s Day with my girlfriend. I really wish he gets a gold medal again. I think every day: return of the king, return of the king.”If you haven’t seen the winning performance from 17-year-old Red Gerard, then watch the highlights of the thrilling action in the men’s slopestyle final as Gerard comes from nowhere to snatch victory with his final run.How good was Red Gerard’s gold medal run in the slopestyle final this morning? The 17-year-old American, who just collected his medal, has captured the hearts of everyone with that victory…
Going into that last run, Red Gerard was in last place and he knew he had to pull out the perfect run. He had all of his family there watching him too.Maybe he is so young he doesn’t understand the pressure yet. He delivered and put it down. Some of the athletes didn’t push themselves properly.These guys have seen the course run but they have to adapt continuously to the speed. And his just flowed – it was like Roger Federer playing tennis. It was precision to the maximum.He knows he can do it at the end and he left it all to the last jump and he delivered. His aim was to have fun and he had so much he ended up executing the perfect run!”Elise Christie safely negotiated her first heat of the women’s 500m short-track at the Gangneung Ice Arena on Saturday night as she looks to shake off her triple disqualification nightmare from Sochi.The 27-year-old led from start to finish ahead of China’s Chunyu Qu and briefly set an Olympic record time of 42.872 — although her mark was later beaten by South Korean Minjeong Chong.Christie said: “I don’t think I’ve ever felt so nervous on the start line.You can’t avoid the fact you’re at an Olympics — there are rings everywhere. So I’m just glad I got the first one out of the way.Christie’s team-mates Charlotte Gilmartin and Kat Thomson both crashed out early, as did Pharrell Treacy in the heats of the men’s 1500m.The host nation grabbed their first gold of the Games amid deafening cheers at the Gangneung Ice Arena as Hyojun Lim won a dramatic nine-man final ahead of Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands.Great Britain’s snowboarders suffered further bad luck as Jamie Nicholls, Billy Morgan and Rowan Coultas all failed to qualify for the final of the men’s snowboard slopestyle.With only the top six from each heat moving through to Sunday’s final, Nicholls and Morgan finished eighth and 10th respectively while Coultas fell on both of his runs in his first Olympics.Nicholls said: “I felt so confident — the right mindset, feeling really good about my snowboarding, better that I have throughout my whole career. You only get two runs and if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out.Norway’s Marit Bjoergen made Winter Olympic history with a silver medal in the women’s cross-country skiathlon which made her the most decorated female athlete in Winter Games history, with 11 medals to her name.Britain’s Annika Taylor placed 60th out of the 61 finishers while Amanda Lightfoot finished 67th in the women’s 7.5km sprint, which meant she missed out on a place in Monday’s team pursuit.British lugers AJ Rosen and Rupert Staudinger stand 24th and 33rd respectively at the half-way point of the men’s luge competition which is set to conclude on Sunday.In an historic ice hockey match there was no dream start for the unified Korean team, who were beaten 8-0 by Switzerland at the Kwandong Hockey Centre despite the best efforts of the watching North Korean Cheerleading Squad.The women’s tournament runs Feb. 10-22. The men’s tournament runs Feb. 14-25. Games will be played at the Gangneung Hockey Centre (which seats 12,000) and the Kwandong Hockey Centre (6,000).The games will be broadcast on NBC and its various networks, including NBCSN. Each event will also be available for live streaming and on-demand viewing on NBCOlympics.com. Since PyeongChang is 14 hours ahead of the Eastern time zone, you’ll notice some inconvenient start times.The women’s tournament includes eight teams. Pool A features the top four teams, headlined by gold-medal favorites Canada and the U.S. (more on them later) plus Finland and the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR).
Pool B has Sweden, Switzerland, Japan and Korea. South Korea qualified as a host, but weeks before the tournament it was announced that through a special agreement with the IOC and the IIHF, 12 North Korean players will join the team to form a unified Korean team.Six teams will advance to the playoff bracket, with four quarterfinalists and two teams earning byes to the semifinals. All four teams from Group A will automatically advance, with the top two teams in that group getting the byes. The bottom teams in Group A will face the best two from Group B in the quarterfinals.Both the men and the women use the same scoring system: three points for a regulation win, two points for an overtime or shootout win and one point for an overtime or shootout loss.Each team will play three round-robin games. Then the winner from each group, plus the team with the second-best record, will advance to the quarterfinals. Everyone else will move to qualification contests. The winners of those games will meet the other group in the quarterfinals.Kind of. The one thing you’ll notice is a larger ice surface. The Olympic hockey rink is roughly 200 feet long by 98 feet wide — about 10 feet wider than an NHL venue. Just like the NHL, we’ll have three 20-minute periods. And if it ends in a tie? Well, here’s what will happen:In the preliminary round and qualification round, overtime is a five-minute sudden-death period, followed by a shootout.In the quarterfinals, semifinals and bronze-medal game, overtime is a 10-minute sudden-death period, followed by a shootout.In the gold-medal game, overtime is a 20-minute sudden-death period, followed by a shootout.On the women’s side, it’s undoubtedly Canada and the U.S.Since the women’s tournament was introduced in 1998, these countries have met in the gold-medal game four times (the one exception was 2006, when Canada faced Sweden). The Americans are looking for revenge after the 2014 final, in which they squandered a two-goal third-period lead before falling in overtime. Ten Americans return from the Sochi squad.You might remember the U.S. team fought for equity last spring, and even threatened to hold out for the World Championships. For an update on how that affected the players, read this profile of one of the team’s star players, Amanda Kessel.For the men, we think the Olympic Athletes from Russia are an early favorite. Their roster is stacked with talent — headlined by former NHLers Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk — thanks to the KHL taking a 33-day Olympic break. In fact, most elite European leagues paused for the Olympics or accommodated its players who wished to attend.The Canadians boast experience — Team Canada features players who have compiled 2,140 combined NHL points and 5,444 NHL games in their careers. (It’s by far the most among the 2018 crop, but consider the Canadians in Sochi had compiled 8,400 NHL points and 12,936 NHL games).Meanwhile, the Swedes could be a dark horse, with many talented European-based players including Rasmus Dahlin, a 17-year-old prodigy widely considered a generational defenseman and the presumed No. 1 pick of the 2018 NHL draft.Do the American men have a shotWell, of course there’s always a chance. It would be a big upset if Team USA took home gold or silver (not a “Miracle on Ice” level of an upset, but still pretty big). The Bovada sportsbook has set the Americans’ odds at 10-1, which ranks them sixth. According to Bovada, the Olympic Athletes from Russia are first at 1-1, followed by Canada (9-2), Sweden (9-2), Finland (8-1) and the Czech Republic (9-1).Team USA opted for experience, primarily choosing players who were standouts in European professional leagues. Some of them are players you might remember from the NHL (like one-time 48-goal scorer Brian Gionta), while others couldn’t quite make an extended NHL run (such as Chris Bourque, the son of Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque and a longtime AHL player).There are four current college players on the roster, including Boston University’s Jordan Greenway, the first African-American to represent Team USA in hockey at the Winter Olympics. Team USA decided not to play some of its rising stars who were eligible, such as Buffalo Sabres prospect Casey Mittelstadt and Harvard defenseman Adam Fox, who are both 19.
The trio in goal includes Ryan Zapolski, David Leggio and Brandon Maxwell. Here’s much more on each of them, including how they found out they made the team.