What to watch on Day 5 of Sochi Olympics

Shani Davis
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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.

Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

Ironman Kona World Championship
Ironman
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The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

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Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic marathon champ in 1984, runs London Marathon at 65

Joan Benoit Samuelson
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Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, ran her first 26.2-mile race in three years at Sunday’s London Marathon and won her age group.

Benoit Samuelson, 65, clocked 3 hours, 20 minutes, 20 seconds to top the women’s 65-69 age group by 7 minutes, 52 seconds. She took pleasure in being joined in the race by daughter Abby, who crossed in 2:58:19.

“She may have beaten me with my replacement knee, but everybody said I wouldn’t do it! I will never say never,” Benoit Samuelson said, according to race organizers. “I am a grandmother now to Charlotte, and it’s my goal to run 5K with her.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Benoit Samuelson raced the 1987 Boston Marathon while three months pregnant with Abby. Before that, she won the first Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, plus the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983 and the Chicago Marathon in 1985.

Her personal best — 2:21:21 — still holds up. She ranks sixth in U.S. women’s history.

Benoit Samuelson plans to race the Tokyo Marathon to complete her set of doing all six annual World Marathon Majors. The others are Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York City.

“I’m happy to finish this race and make it to Tokyo, but I did it today on a wing and a prayer,” she said, according to organizers. “I’m blessed to have longevity in this sport. It doesn’t owe me anything, but I feel I owe my sport.”

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