Sidney Crosby

What to watch on Day 16 of Sochi Olympics

1 Comment

Here’s a look at the compelling events, athletes and storylines of the Sochi Olympics on Sunday, Feb. 22. A complete list of every Sunday event can be found here.

WHAT TO STAY UP LATE FOR …

Cross-country skiing, men’s 50km mass start, 2 a.m. ETCLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

This grueling event is five miles longer than a marathon. It should be a Norway vs. Russia battle, which is interesting given the two nations enter the final day tied atop the gold medal count with 11 each.

Norway sends defending Olympic champion Petter Northug, among others, while Russia has Aleksander Legkov, who won the only World Cup 50km last season.

This event was skied in classical style four years ago and should take a little more than two hours for the elite men to complete.

Bobsled, four-man runs 3 and 4, 4:30 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Defending Olympic champion Steven Holcomb was in fourth place after the first two runs, .01 of a second out of bronze and .17 behind leader Aleksander Zubkov of Russia. Zubkov already won the two-man event.

Latvian Oskars Melbardis is in second, seeking his country’s first bobsled medal ever. German Max Arndt is in third, seeking his country’s first bobsled medal of these Games.

WHAT TO WAKE UP EARLY FOR …

Men’s hockey gold-medal game, Canada-Sweden, 7 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

This is a rematch of one of the most memorable Olympic hockey finals ever, the epic 1994 shootout game in Lillehammer, Norway. The game 20 years ago was the final Olympic men’s hockey tilt before NHL players arrived in 1998. Could this year’s affair be the last of the NHL era?

Sweden is going for its third straight Olympic title on European ice. Canada is going for its first gold outside North America since 1952 in Oslo. And to be the first nation to repeat as Olympic champion since the Soviet Union/Unified Team won three straight golds from 1984 through 1992.

Canada has the talent advantage, but Sweden may be more comfortable on Russian ice and has a goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist, with an ability to steal a game on his own. Canada, though, has had better goaltending this tournament.

There was one player at this Olympic hockey tournament who played in that 1994 gold-medal game, but he will not be suiting up for this rematch. 1994 Canadian forward Petr Nedved made his second Olympic appearance this year, but he played for his native Czech Republic.

WHAT YOU CAN’T MISS DURING THE DAY …

Closing Ceremony, 11 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

The Olympics will conclude at the place they opened, Fisht Stadium. The Closing Ceremony is shorter and more party-like than the Opening Ceremony.

There is no Parade of Nations, but there are flag bearers. Four-time Olympic medalist hockey player Julie Chu will carry the Stars and Stripes.

As for the ceremony itself, the full details have not been revealed. Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister has said the Olympic rings malfunction from the Opening Ceremony will be corrected for Sunday night’s show.

The Olympic Flag will be handed over to Pyeongchang 2018 officials, but we will first look forward to the Paralympics beginning March 7 and then the Rio Summer Olympics beginning Aug. 5, 2016.

Follow @NZaccardi

Mikaela Shiffrin wrestles with doubt in seconds before World Cup downhill debut

Mikaela Shiffrin, of the United States, skis during the third training run for the World Cup women's downhill ski race in Lake Louise, Alberta, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)
AP
Leave a comment

After a momentary panic in the start house, Mikaela Shiffrin raced to a tie for 18th in the first downhill of her World Cup career in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Shiffrin, the youngest Olympic slalom champion who has also won a World Cup giant slalom, has been slowly adding the speed events of super-G and downhill to her repertoire the last two seasons.

“It wasn’t bad,” Shiffrin said, according to SkiRacing.com. “I certainly didn’t risk anything crazy.”

Her result Friday, 1.99 seconds behind Slovenian winner Ilka Stuhec, came after Shiffrin was 18th, 24th and 30th fastest in downhill training runs the previous three days. Shiffrin also had to wait several minutes in the start house as the racer before her crashed (video here).

“That was just a bummer,” Shiffrin said, according to the Denver Post. “I was like, ‘Just don’t let it affect you,’ but being up there for 10 minutes, like, ‘What happened? What’s taking them so long? What’s going on? Is she hurt?’

“Then I started doubting myself, like my technique going off the jumps, which is actually pretty good. I was going back and forth between, ‘Should I even be doing this? Maybe I just should pull out because I don’t want to kill myself.’ Then I’m like, ‘You’re absolutely fine, you haven’t felt sketched out a single time on this track in the past three days, so stick with that. You don’t have to go crazy.'”

“To be fast in speed there certainly needs to be a certain level of risk, and I know that, but now, if [giant slalom] and slalom are my main priority this season, I don’t need to be going crazy in a downhill with flat light and after I got iced [waiting so long],” Shiffrin said, according to SkiRacing.com.

Stuhec won Friday’s race by .22 of a second over Italian Sofia Goggia. Swede Kajsa Kling was third.

A race replay can be seen here. Full results are here.

Lindsey Vonn, owner of a record 18 wins at Lake Louise, is missing the annual World Cup stop in Alberta due to a broken arm from a November crash. Vonn had raced at Lake Louise each of the previous 15 seasons.

Last season, Shiffrin made her World Cup debut in the super-G at Lake Louise and finished 15th.

The women have another downhill Saturday and a super-G on Sunday in Lake Louise, both streaming live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app (schedule here).

MORE: Vonn eyes January return from her most painful injury

High-speed crash at World Cup downhill in Lake Louise (video)

Leave a comment

Swiss Joana Haehlen crashed into netting at high speed during a World Cup downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Haehlen, 24, lost her right ski after landing from a jump and sped uncontrollably off course. She braced for impact, slammed into red netting and was turned around before landing with neither of her skis still attached.

She lay on the snow while being attended to and eventually skied down the mountain on her own.

It caused a 10-minute delay before the next skier, American Mikaela Shiffrin, could take her run.

VIDEO: Vonn details the most painful injury of her career