Sochi 2014

U.S. Olympic trials broadcast schedule

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The Olympic qualification season is already under way, and the official U.S. Olympic trials begin in November.

On Monday, NBC Olympics announced it will broadcast an unprecedented 34.5 hours of live coverage across NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra among six sports leading up to the Sochi Olympics — curling, women’s hockey, short and long-track speedskating, ski jumping and Nordic combined.

NBCSN trials coverage will lead off with curling, where one (potential) men’s berth and one women’s berth are at stake in Fargo, N.D., from Nov. 15-17. The U.S. already qualified a women’s spot for Sochi. The winner of the men’s trials is expected to enter the Olympic qualification event in Fussen, Germany, from Dec. 11-15, to try to book a men’s Olympic berth.

The U.S. has qualified men’s and women’s curling teams at every Olympics dating to the sport’s re-addition to the program in 1998. The men won bronze in 2006.

NBCSN will also air two of the six U.S.-Canada women’s hockey matchups leading to the Sochi Olympics, a Dec. 20 game in Grand Forks, N.D., and a Dec. 28 game in St. Paul, Minn. The rivals have played in the gold-medal game of every World Championships and Olympics except for the 2006 Torino Games.

NBC and NBCSN will combine to cover the U.S. Olympic speedskating trials from Dec. 27-Jan. 1 at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah. There, two-time Olympic gold medalist Shani Davis will highlight the coverage.

On Dec. 29, NBC will air live coverage for men’s and women’s ski jumping and Nordic combined from Park City, Utah. Key storylines will be the debut of U.S. Olympic women’s ski jumpers and the return of a U.S. Nordic combined team that won the country’s first Olympic medals in the sport in 2010.

NBC and NBCSN will provide live coverage of the short track speedskating trials from Jan. 3-5 at the Utah Olympic Oval. Two-time Olympic bronze medalist J.R. Celski is expected to lead the U.S. team.

All events will be streamed across NBC Sports Live Extra.

Also in January, NBC Olympics will provide coverage of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston.

2014 U.S. Olympic Trials/Run-up broadcast schedule (updated as more events announced)

Date Sport Coverage Network Time**
Friday, Nov. 15 Curling Men’s/Women’s Trials NBCSN 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 16 Curling Men’s Trials NBCSN 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 16 Curling Women’s Trials NBCSN 8 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 17 Curling Men’s/Women’s Trials NBCSN Noon
Friday, Dec. 20 Women’s Hockey U.S. vs. Canada NBCSN 8 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 27 Speedskating Men’s 5000m/Women’s 3000m NBCSN 8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 28 Speedskating Men’s/Women’s 500m NBC 3 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 28 Women’s Hockey U.S. vs. Canada NBCSN 4 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 29 Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined Men’s/Women’s Trials NBC 1:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 29 Speedskating Men’s/Women’s 1000m NBC 3 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 31 Speedskating Men’s/Women’s 1500m NBCSN 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 1 Speedskating Men’s 10000m/Women’s 5000m NBCSN 5 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 3 Short Track Men’s/Women’s 1500m NBCSN 8 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 4 Short Track Men’s/Women’s 500m NBCSN 4 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 5 Short Track Men’s/Women’s 1000m NBC 4 p.m.

**All times ET. Subject to change.

Olympic flame briefly extinguished at Kremlin (video)

Vic Wild finds much different welcome at PyeongChang

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — It was a feel-good love story about snowboarders that made Russia smile.

Four years later, Vic Wild and Alena Zavarzina are still married and still riding.

But boy did this get complicated.

Wild, the American-born rider who now competes for Russia, finished out of the medals, same as his wife, at the parallel giant slalom Saturday, closing a sad chapter to a journey that began as a fairy tale but turned into a drama about cheating, doping and figuring out who was to blame.

It was a small part of a much larger story about the strained, scandal-tainted relationship between Russia, the Olympics and the rest of the world.

“For 18 months, the IOC never told me anything,” Wild said after losing in the round-of-16 in a contest taken by Switzerland’s Nevin Galmarini. “No one would tell me if, somehow, some way, I was involved. That definitely put some gray hairs on my head.”

Read the full story at NBCOlympics.com

How Arianna Fontana quietly skated into short track history

Arianna Fontana
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Arianna Fontana is silently one of the greatest short track skaters in Olympic history.

Her numbers at the Games speak for themselves; one gold, two silver, and five bronze. Those eight total medals make her the most decorated female short track skater by two medals, and tie her with legends Apolo Ohno and Viktor Ahn for most Olympic medals ever won by a short track skater.

But it is her numbers outside the Olympic stage that really call attention to her Olympic success. She is a 14-time world medalist, which is no small feat, but her podium appearances are spread over a 12-year competitive career. Someone like Elise Christie, for example, has won 12 world championships medals in just five years. And also unlike Christie, Fontana has never won an overall title.

But Christie struggled on the sport’s biggest stage in both Sochi and PyeongChang, and has yet to win her first Olympic medal. Fontana, on the other hand, has become such a consistent podium presence over the last two Games that she almost makes it look easy.

Before retiring from competition, Ohno won 21 world medals, eight of them gold. Ahn, still competing but not one of the athletes invited to competed at the PyeongChang Olympics as an Olympic Athlete from Russia, has to date has won 35 world medals, 20 of which were gold.

Fontana does not come from a short track power like South Korea or China, perhaps another reason why she is not more notorious.

Most of her medals are bronze, which could be used as a strike against her, but just ask Lindsey Vonn how hard she worked to get hers this year.

Fontana’s first medal came at the 2006 Torino Olympics, when she helped the Italian women to bronze in the 3000m relay at just 15 years old. Fontana earned her first individual medal, a bronze in the 500m, four years later in Vancouver.

But in Sochi, she exploded, making the podium in three out of four events: the 500m, where she won silver, and the 1500m and 3000m relay, where she picked up two more bronzes.

“I thought I was going to win a gold medal in Sochi but I still don’t have that,” Fontana said to the ISU in early 2017. “That’s there up in my mind and sometimes it comes out and says, ‘Hey, you still miss me? So come get me!'”.

But after the 2014-15 season, Fontana’s desire for gold was eclipsed by something else: burnout.

“I was pretty tired mentally. My body was ready to race again but my mind was not. It was hard for me. After the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, I had some doubts about whether to keep skating or not,” Fontana said to the ISU. “Maybe it would have been better to take that year right after the Olympic Games off, but I decided to keep going. It is not that I regret it, but I had some hard times that season.”

She stayed active during her time off, learning how to box, which eased the transition back to skating.

Her pursuit for gold was what motivated her comeback, and in 2018 Fontana got what she came back for.

“When I saw I was first, I was just yelling and started crying. I worked for four years and the last four months were really hard for me. I was really focused on getting here in the best shape ever,” Fontana said after earning the 500m Olympic title.

“I was chasing it and finally I got it.”

In addition to her 500m gold medal, Fontana also added a 1000m bronze and 3000m relay bronze.

Fontana has spoken about retirement, but has not made a definitive decision. She will only be 31 years old by the time 2022 rolls around, so she could feasibly add to her medal haul if she competes. What she has made clear is that when she does leave the sport she hopes to become a personal trainer.

Whenever she does retire Fontana should be considered not only one of the greatest Italian athletes or greatest short track skaters, but also one of the greatest Winter Olympians.