Preview: Canada could provide bumpy competition in moguls

Hannah Kearney
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EVENT SCHEDULE

Thursday – Women’s qualification 9 a.m. ET

Saturday – Women’s qualification 9 a.m. ET; women’s gold medal round 1 p.m. ET

Feb. 10 – Men’s qualification 9 a.m. ET; men’s final round 1 p.m. ET

TV SCHEDULE

Thursday – Women’s qualification, 8 p.m. ET, NBC-TV

Saturday – Women’s gold medal final, 2 p.m. ET, NBC-TV

Feb. 10 – Men’s gold medal final, 8 p.m. ET, NBC-TV

MORE: 14 facts you didn’t know about moguls

FORMAT CHANGE

NBC’s Jason Stahl succinctly breaks down the changes from Vancouver to Sochi:

The format in Vancouver included two runs. There was a qualification run, your scores cleared, then you had a finals run. That was the medal round. Heading into Sochi, there’s now two separate days for moguls – for both men and women. There’s going to be a qualification day and if you move on to a second day of competition with three more rounds, knockout-style, that culiminates in the final round, also known as the “super final.” Scores do not carry over and the athlete with the top score from this one run wins.

U.S. skier Heather McPhie seems thrilled about the changes, for one.

“It’s very different,” McPhie said. “It adds an endurance component to our sport that’s not common in singles. For me, it’s great. I workout a lot and I’ve been really preparing for that format.”

If that wasn’t enough, NBCOlympics.com passes along word that there have been some issues with the moguls course in Sochi. There could be some variables at play during these events.

U.S. OUTLOOK

Kearney is the big name in the women’s event, as she defends her gold from 2010 and hopes to become the first freestyle skier to win multiple Olympic gold medals in the process. She’s been dominant since winning it all in Vancouver, as her 16 consecutive World Cup victories set a new record.

Growing up Hannah Kearney

Other American women include McPhie, Heidi Kloser and Eliza Outtrim.

The U.S. boasts two men’s moguls competitors in Patrick Deneen and Bradley Wilson. Deneen, 26, came in second at the 2013 World Championships, edging Mikael Kingsbury. Wilson, 21, hopes to match his brother Byron (who won a bronze in 2010).

Model Olympian: Patrick Daneen

INTERNATIONAL OUTLOOK

Canada may provide the greatest competition in both the men’s and women’s formats.

Alex Bilodeau became the first Canadian to win it all on home soil when he won men’s moguls gold in Vancouver. He’ll hope to back up that performance with consecutive gold medals, with fellow Canadian Mikael Kingsbury ranking among his best competition. Depending upon whom you ask, Kingsbury may very well be the favorite instead of Bilodeau.

Canada also boasts Marc-Antoine Gagnon and Torino gold medalist Dale Begg-Smith (coming out of retirement), while Russia’s Aleksandr Smyshlyayev is being trained by former Canadian coach Stephen Fearing.

Alex Bilodeau takes it ‘slo’ training in Chile

On the women’s side, a trio of Canadian sisters could give Kearing a run for her money. Maxime, Chloe and Justin Dufour-Lapointe bring in varied levels of hype and hope to build off their experiences from Vancouver. Justine, 19 and the youngest, might be the most formidable of the three.

Japan’s Miki Ito and Aiko Uemura join Kazakhstan’s Yulia Galysheva, Australia’s Britteny Cox and the Czech Republic’s Nikola Sudova are other names to watch.

Tale of the Tape: Hannah Kearney vs. Justine Dufoir-Lapointe

South Korea’s first gold medalist of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics to compete for China

Lim Hyo-Jun
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Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.

Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.

Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.

It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.

Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.

China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.

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Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

Brigid Kosgei
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World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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