Shani Davis

What to watch on Day 5 of Sochi Olympics

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Here’s a look at the compelling events, athletes and storylines of the Sochi Olympics on Wednesday, Feb. 12. A complete list of every Wednesday event can be found here.

WHAT TO STAY UP LATE FOR …

Women’s downhill, 2 a.m. ET — CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Julia Mancuso became a medal favorite here by winning the downhill portion of the super combined Monday en route to a bronze medal. If she makes the podium again, she will match Bode Miller for the most career U.S. Olympic Alpine medals (five).

The favorite, though, is Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch, who won the super combined. Hoefl-Riesch is the World Cup overall and downhill leader and looks to win her fourth Olympic medal, all gold.

Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather, second to Hoefl-Riesch in the World Cup standings, suffered a shin bruise in a training crash Sunday.

Four different women were fastest in the four training runs. None of them were Mancuso, Hoefl-Riesch or Weirather.

WHAT TO WAKE UP EARLY FOR …

Nordic combined normal hill, 4:30 a.m. ET — CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Can the U.S. rediscover its magic from the 2010 Olympics? Four years ago Americans won twice as many Nordic combined medals (four) than any other nation, despite coming in with zero medals in the sport in Olympic history.

The U.S. would not be expected to win any medals here if results this past season are any indication. But keep an eye out for Bill Demong, who won the large hill event in 2010.

The medal favorites are German Eric Frenzel, seeking his first individual Olympic medal, defending champion Jason Lamy-Chappuis of France and anybody in a Norwegian uniform.

U.S.-Canada women’s hockey, 7:30 a.m. ET — CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

This game means little on paper, but the deep-rooted rivalry says otherwise. The two dominant women’s hockey nations go at it in their final group-play game.

They will both advance straight to opposite semifinals regardless of Wednesday’s result. That makes this matchup reminiscent of women’s hockey’s debut at the 1998 Olympics.

In Nagano, the U.S. and Canada played a preliminary game already knowing they would play again three days later for the gold medal. Canada went up 4-1, but the U.S. scored six goals in the final 13 minutes to win 7-4. The U.S. then went on to win the gold medal 3-1.

Canada has won every gold medal since but enters Wednesday’s matchup on a four-game losing streak to the U.S. since the shock resignation of coach Dan Church. Its new coach is longtime NHL player and coach Kevin Dineen.

The U.S. and Canada have combined to beat bronze-medal contenders Finland and Switzerland 20-1 in four games. Neither the U.S. nor Canada will play again until the semifinals Monday.

Speed skating men’s 1000m, 9 a.m. ET — CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Shani Davis skates in his best event.

With a medal of any color, Davis will tie the record for most career U.S. Olympic men’s speed skating medals (five) with Eric Heiden and Chad Hedrick.

Davis’ biggest competition will come from countryman Brian Hansen, 2013 world champion Kazakh Denis Kuzin and the Netherlands’ Michel Mulder and Kjeld Nuis. Mulder won the 500m on Monday.

WHAT YOU CAN’T MISS DURING THE DAY …

Figure skating pairs free skate, 10:45 a.m. ET — CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Russians Tatyana Volozoshar and Maksim Trankov lead Germans Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy after the short program, seeking to restore the host nation’s dominance in the event.

Soviet, Unified Team and Russian pairs won gold at every Olympics from 1964 through 2006, but none were on the podium in 2010.

The two U.S. pairs are in ninth and 14th place and will not end an American medal drought dating to 1988.

Snowboard women’s halfpipe final, 12:30 p.m. ET — CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

American Kelly Clark is the favorite here, assuming she makes it through qualification to the 12-woman final.

Clark is the greatest women’s halfpipe snowboarder of all time with 2002 Olympic gold, 2010 Olympic bronze and five Winter X Games titles, including the last four.

She’s set to be challenged by 2010 Olympic champion Torah Bright of Australia and U.S. teammates 2006 Olympic champion Hannah Teter, 2013 world champion Arielle Gold and Kaitlyn Farrington.

Hayato Sakamoto, Japanese baseball MVP, tests positive for coronavirus

Hayato Sakamoto
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Hayato Sakamoto, an MVP of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league, is one of two players from the Yomiuri Giants to test positive for the coronavirus, according to several Japanese media reports.

Sakamoto, a 31-year-old shortstop, and catcher Takumi Oshiro tested positive ahead of the NPB’s planned June 19 start to the season that had been delayed to the coronavirus.

The tests showed traces of the coronavirus, according to Kyodo News.

The Giants canceled Wednesday’s practice game with the Seibu Lions to limit the spread of the virus.

Sakamoto is the reigning Central League MVP. He has been called the Derek Jeter of Japan for playing the same position as the Yankee great and being the veteran captain of Japan’s equivalent club, the Giants, which own a record 22 Japan Series titles.

Sakamoto, who played in the last two World Baseball Classics, has been considered a lock for Japan’s baseball team at the Tokyo Games in 2021 as the most well known active player who hasn’t left for Major League Baseball. MLB is not expected to allow its top players to participate in the Olympics, which would keep the likes of Shohei Ohtani and Masahiro Tanaka off the Olympic roster.

The sport returns to the Olympic program for the first time since 2008, though it is not on the 2024 Olympic program nor guaranteed a place at the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Japan reached the semifinals of all five Olympic baseball tournaments when the sport was previously on the medal program but never took gold.

In a 2018 survey, Sakamoto was ranked as Japan’s eighth-most popular athlete across all sports, foreign or domestic, active or retired.

Sky Brown, 11-year-old Olympic skateboard hopeful, suffers serious injuries in fall

Sky Brown Skateboard Fall
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Sky Brown, an 11-year-old British Olympic skateboarding hopeful, recently suffered her worst fall, requiring surgery, she said in a video posted from a hospital bed.

Brown suffered skull fractures and broke her left wrist and hand and was at first unresponsive upon arrival to a hospital, according to the BBC, which quoted her father.

Video of the fall from a skateboarding ramp was posted on her social media. She appeared to be wearing a helmet in the video.

“I don’t usually post my falls or talk about them because I want people to see the fun in what I do,” Brown said. “But this was my worst fall, and I just want everyone to know that, it’s OK, don’t worry. I’m OK. It’s OK to fall sometimes. I’m just going to get back up and push even harder. I know there’s a lot of things going on in the world right now. I want everyone to know that whatever we do, we’ve just go to do it with love and happiness.”

Brown is the 2019 World bronze medalist in the new Olympic sport’s park discipline.

Later Tuesday, Brown reposted an Instagram post from what appeared to be her father’s account. The caption of that post said Brown fell 15 feet to flat concrete.

“I held her in my arms and she bled helplessly moaning in and out of consciousness waiting for the helicopter to take her to the Hospital,” the caption read. “We spent the night sick and terrified not knowing if Sky was going to make it through the night, as the ICU team tried to get her conscious and kept her alive.

“4 days later Sky sits across from me with her full memory back, smiling, watching TikTok while Eating her favorite bad snacks.”

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Last week the worst thing I could ever ever imagined happened to @skybrown . She fell about 15ft off the side of a vert ramp to flat concrete. I held her in my arms and she bled helplessly moaning in and out of consciousness waiting for the helicopter to take her to the Hospital. We spent the night sick and terrified not knowing if Sky was going to make it through the night, as the ICU team tried to get her conscious and kept her alive. We prayed and begged God to give Sky another chance. Word came back while she was still unconscious, multiple fractures to her skull, a broken left arm, which she broke into pieces because she used it to break her fall, broken right fingers and lacerations to her heart and lungs. 4 days later Sky sits across from me with her full memory back, smiling, watching TikTok while Eating her favorite bad snacks. More importantly her Doctors and the trauma team say it’s a miracle how well she is dealing with the pain and recovering incredibly fast. They said it’s shocking and believe it’s because of her grit, positivity and attitude. Skys brother @oceanbrown has been so brave. He saw his sister fall to the ground lying in a pool of blood and was screaming in tears that night outside of the hospital. He has still not allowed into the hospital to see her. They miss each-other dearly, but no siblings are allowed to enter the hospital because of coronavirus. They’ve been spending hours a day on FaceTime with each other making funny faces to one another in fits of giggles and laughter. Sky promises Ocean daily that she will make a fast recovery so they can be together again. Sky is constantly joking and smiling and it’s hurts my heart to even imagine for a second a world without Sky; extremely thankful that I don’t have to. Thank you to the heroes that are the doctors, nurses and hospital staff that have tirelessly worked on her and helped her get to this point.

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