Feb 19, 2014, 11:35 PM EST
Here’s a look at the compelling events, athletes and storylines of the Sochi Olympics on Thursday, Feb. 20. A complete list of every Thursday event can be found here.
WHAT TO STAY UP LATE FOR …
Nordic combined team event, 3 a.m./6 a.m. ET – CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE EVENT LIVE
The U.S. won silver in this four years ago. Half of the four-man team is back, including the only U.S. individual Olympic Nordic combined champion, Bill Demong, and Todd Lodwick. Lodwick is in his U.S. Winter record sixth Olympics. They’re joined by brothers Bryan and Taylor Fletcher.
It would be a surprise to see the Americans return to the podium, given their best individual finish in two events here is 20th.
Germany and Norway are the favorites for gold.
WHAT TO WAKE UP EARLY FOR …
Men’s ski cross final, 5:41 a.m. ET — CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE
Ski cross, essentially snowboard cross on skis, debuted at the 2010 Olympics. The U.S. fielded two men four years ago, veteran Olympic Alpine skiers Daron Rahlves and Casey Puckett, who were eliminated before the quarterfinals.
American John Teller is a better medal threat this year, having been in the top 12 of the World Cup standings the last four seasons and won a bronze medal at the 2013 World Championships.
Canadian Chris Del Bosco is a good story, having fallen in the 2010 final shortly before the finish while in medal position. Other medal favorites include World Cup leader Swede Victor Oehling Norberg and 2010 silver medalist Austrian Andreas Matt.
Women’s curling gold-medal game, Canada-Sweden, 8:30 a.m. ET — CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE
Canadian Jennifer Jones hasn’t lost in 10 games, including taking out reigning world champion Brit Eve Muirhead in the semifinals Tuesday. No women’s rink has gone undefeated at a Winter Olympics since women’s curling debuted at the Olympics in 1998.
Sweden beat Canada in the 2010 Olympic final, but that included two different rinks. The Swedes have won the last two Olympic golds.
WHAT YOU CAN’T MISS DURING THE DAY …
Figure skating, women’s free skate, 10 a.m. ET – CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE
Defending champion Yuna Kim restored order in the short program, posting 74.92 points for a slim .28 lead over Russian surprise Adelina Sotnikova.
The other Russian, 15-year-old team event sensation Yuliya Lipnitskaya, fell to fifth, nearly 10 points back of Kim and nine behind third-place Carolina Kostner of Italy.
All three Americans have varying shots at a medal — Gracie Gold (fourth), Ashley Wagner (sixth) and Polina Edmunds (seventh).
2010 Olympic silver medalist Mao Asada has no shot at a medal. She’s in 16th place after falling on a triple Axel on Wednesday.
Here are start times for notable skaters Thursday:
Mao Asada — 11:41 a.m. ET
Polina Edmunds — 12:42 p.m.
Yuliya Lipnitskaya — 1:06
Carolina Kostner — 1:14
Adelina Sotnikova — 1:22
Gracie Gold — 1:30
Ashley Wagner — 1:38
Yuna Kim — 1:46
Women’s hockey gold-medal game, U.S.-Canada, 12 p.m. ET – CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE
The two bitter rivals will face off for the fourth time in five Olympic gold-medal games dating to women’s hockey’s Olympic debut in 1998. Canada has won the last three Olympic gold medals, rendering the current U.S. roster devoid of gold-medal experience.
The U.S. beat Canada in Ottawa for the World Championship in April and won a pre-Olympic series 4-3. Canada, under new coach Kevin Dineen, beat the U.S. 3-2 in a group-play game Feb. 12.
Expect this one to be tight and tense and tears to be shed once it’s all over.
Women’s ski halfpipe final, 12:30 p.m. ET – CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE
The U.S. looks to sweep the first Olympic ski halfpipe golds with Maddie Bowman, the two-time reigning Winter X Games champion, going two days after David Wise took the men’s event.
Bowman’s primary competition figures to come from world champion Swiss Virginie Faivre as well as Canadian Roz Groenewoud, who has won medals at the last five X Games.
Americans Angeli VanLaanen and Brita Sigourney are also medal threats.
Mar 4, 2015, 9:39 AM EST
But a “50-50″ shot at qualifying for the Olympics this summer.
Mar 4, 2015, 8:56 AM EST
France may have to qualify for Rio with a team led by Tony Parker.
Mar 3, 2015, 10:20 PM EST
Previously, Phelps and USA Swimming agreed he would withdraw from the World Championships team due to his DUI arrest.
Mar 3, 2015, 4:30 PM EST
The Olympic champion competes next week for the first time since July.
Mar 3, 2015, 11:07 AM EST
How do the versions for Toronto 2015 compare to previous Pan Am Games medals?
Mar 3, 2015, 10:27 AM EST
Even if baseball is re-added to the Olympics, Fukushima might not be a logical choice to host games.
Mar 2, 2015, 4:59 PM EST
Team GB’s men and women were ousted in the 2012 Olympic quarterfinals.
Mar 2, 2015, 2:28 PM EST
The Olympic judo bronze medalist is compared to a former dominant heavyweight boxer.
Mar 2, 2015, 11:47 AM EST
Walsh Jennings also had breakfast with a beach legend in Rio de Janeiro.
Mar 2, 2015, 11:11 AM EST
IOC member and former South Africa Olympic Committee president previously said the nation was readying to bid.
Mar 2, 2015, 10:21 AM EST
Bowe skated with dominance not seen since 2003.
Mar 2, 2015, 5:47 AM EST
Vonn is three away from another World Cup mark.
Mar 1, 2015, 9:44 AM EST
Austrian rival puts on a dominating performance in Garmisch.
Mar 1, 2015, 8:31 AM EST
Vonn will get another chance on Monday.
Mar 1, 2015, 12:05 AM EST
Rousey is undefeated in 11 pro fights since winning Olympic judo bronze in 2008.
Feb 28, 2015, 10:03 AM EST
Meyers Taylor improved from silver medals at the 2013 Worlds and 2014 Olympics.
Feb 27, 2015, 3:55 PM EST
Rio government organization published two videos looking at the construction of Olympic Park.
Feb 27, 2015, 2:22 PM EST
Nibali might not be able to defend his Tour de France title as an Astana rider.
Feb 27, 2015, 12:52 PM EST
Ashton Eaton, Brianne Theisen-Eaton are taking different paths to potential gold in Rio.
Feb 27, 2015, 9:00 AM EST
“Athletes have wanted this changed for a very long time. It’s been a very long discussion.”
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