What to watch on Day 6 of Sochi Olympics

Patrick Chan
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Here’s a look at the compelling events, athletes and storylines of the Sochi Olympics on Thursday, Feb. 13. A complete list of every Thursday event can be found here.

WHAT TO STAY UP LATE FOR …

Women’s skeleton runs 1 and 2, 2:30 a.m. ET — CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

The medals won’t be awarded until Friday, but gold is expected to come down to American Noelle-Pikus Pace and Great Britain’s Lizzy Yarnold.

Pikus-Pace, a mother of two, finished fourth at the 2010 Olympics, retired and came back two seasons ago and was in the best form of her life this past season, which she said will be her last.

However, she is now dealing with a back injury and was 11th and 13th in two training runs Monday. Pikus-Pace passed on taking training runs Tuesday and Wednesday.

Yarnold, the World Cup season champion, was the fastest in four training runs. She’s looking to make it back-to-back skeleton golds for the Brits after Amy Williams’ title in 2010. Williams now works for the BBC.

The other U.S. slider is Katie Uhlaender, the 2012 world champion who has been slowed by concussion effects this season.

Men’s ski slopestyle final, 4:30 a.m. ET — CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Two-time reigning Winter X Games champion Nick Goepper, the rare skier out of Indiana, is a medal favorite here. Goepper was among the first skiers to qualify for the Olympics in December and then enjoyed a media whirlwind that took him to the Golden Globe Awards and David Letterman.

The field includes several men who could win gold without a surprise, including Swede Jesper Tjader, Brit James Woods and Norwegian Andreas Haatveit. Also watch out for the other U.S. skiers — Bobby Brown, Joss Christensen and Gus Kenworthy.

WHAT TO WAKE UP EARLY FOR …

Men’s hockey, U.S.-Slovakia  CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE | Russia-Slovenia, 7:30 a.m. ET — CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

The men’s hockey tournament begins in earnest Thursday. All four Group A nations will play at the same time. The U.S. gets a tougher test with Slovakia than Russia does with Slovenia.

It is also important to note that all teams advance from group play to the bracket round, though group results will dictate if nations go straight to quarterfinals or must play first-round elimination games.

The U.S. will start Jonathan Quick in goal against Slovakia. The Slovaks, who pushed Canada in the 2010 Olympic semifinals and ultimately finished fourth, are led by Zdeno Chara and Marian Hossa.

Russia gets going against a nation making its Olympic hockey debut in Slovenia.

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

Heather Richardson and Brittany Bowe went one-two in three of four World Cup 1000m races so far this season, but it will be hard to replicate that at the Adler Arena.

Russia’s Olga Fatkulina is the 2013 world champion on this ice and took second in the 500m on Tuesday. Richardson was eighth in the 500m; Bowe was 13th. However, Richardson and Bowe are better in the 1000m.

There’s also Dutchwoman Ireen Wuest, the 2013 world silver medalist. Wuest won the 5000m on Sunday at Adler. China’s Zhang Hong, too, could keep the U.S. from winning its first Olympic women’s speed skating medal since 2002.

Men’s biathlon 20km individual, 9 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Norway’s Ole Einar Bjoerndalen gets his second chance to become the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time. Bjoerndalen, 40, matched retired Norwegian cross-country skier Bjorn Daehlie by winning the 10km sprint Saturday for his 12th career medal. Daehlie has more golds.

Bjoerndalen then finished an agonizing fourth in the 12.5km pursuit on Monday, his first fourth-place finish in 23 career Olympic races. He missed the podium by 1.7 seconds.

Bjoerndalen is not expected to be among the medal contenders in this longer distance, though. The gold is expected to come down to France’s flamboyant Martin Fourcade and another Norwegian, Emil Hegle Svendsen.

WHAT YOU CAN’T MISS DURING THE DAY …

Figure skating men’s short program, 10 a.m. ET — CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

The cliched saying goes, you can’t win the Olympic gold medal in the short program, but you can lose it.

The major players are Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, who skates at 12:45 p.m. ET, and Canada’s Patrick Chan, who goes two skaters later at 12:58. Chan, 23, is the three-time reigning world champion. Hanyu, 19, beat Chan at the Grand Prix Final in December.

Several other men are in the medal picture, including Russian four-time Olympic medalist Yevgeny Plushenko (10:55 a.m.) and Spain’s Javier Fernandez (12:51 p.m.).

U.S. skaters Jeremy Abbott and Jason Brown go at 11:21 a.m. and 12:17 p.m., respectively.

Luge team relay, 11:15 a.m. ET — CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

The U.S. looks to build off the momentum of Erin Hamlin’s bronze medal in the final Olympic luge event. The team relay, in its Olympic debut, consists of a woman taking a run down the track and rising at the finish to tap a touch pad.

The tap will signal the start for a men’s luger, who will take his run and rise to tap the same pad. Finally, a doubles team goes. The doubles’ touch on the pad stops the clock.

The U.S. will send Hamlin, Chris Mazdzer (13th in singles) and Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman down the Sanki Sliding Center track.

Germany, which won men’s and women’s singles, is a heavy gold-medal favorite. Russia, Canada, Italy, Austria and even the U.S. could also win medals.

Men’s hockey, Canada-Norway, 12 p.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

The men’s hockey nightcap features the defending Olympic champion against a nation that has never made it past the Olympic quarterfinals.

Canada’s roster includes 25 NHL players, most of them All-Stars. Norway’s roster includes one NHL player, New York Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello.

The key in this game will be Canada’s goalie, Carey Price, who is making his Olympic debut. 2010 Olympic gold-medal game winner Roberto Luongo is slated to start Canada’s second game against Austria on Friday. So, we have a competition on our hands.

U.S. women’s basketball team, statistically greatest ever, rolls to FIBA World Cup title

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The revamped U.S. women’s basketball team may have been the greatest of all time.

The Americans completed, statistically, their most dominant global championship ever by routing China 83-61 in the FIBA World Cup final on Saturday in Sydney — giving them 60 consecutive wins between the Olympics and worlds dating to 2006.

It marked the largest margin of victory in a World Cup final since the event converted from a fully round-robin format in 1983.

For the tournament, the U.S. drubbed its opponents by an average of 40.75 points per game, beating its previous record between the Olympics and worlds of 37.625 points from the 2008 Beijing Games. It was just off the 1992 U.S. Olympic men’s Dream Team’s legendary margin 43.8 points per game. This U.S. team scored 98.75 points per game, its largest at worlds since 1994.

“We came here on a mission, a business trip,” tournament MVP A’ja Wilson said in a post-game press conference before turning to coach Cheryl Reeve. “We played pretty good, I think, coach.”

Since the U.S. won a seventh consecutive Olympic title in Tokyo, Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles retired. Tina Charles ceded her national team spot to younger players. Brittney Griner was detained in Russia (and still is). Diana Taurasi suffered a WNBA season-ending quad injury that ruled her out of World Cup participation (who knows if the 40-year-old Taurasi will play for the U.S. again).

Not only that, but Reeve of the Minnesota Lynx succeeded Dawn Staley as head coach, implementing a new up-tempo system.

“There was probably great concern, and maybe around the world they kind of looked at it and said, ‘Hey, now is the time to get the USA,'” Reeve said Saturday.

The U.S. response was encapsulated by power forward Alyssa Thomas, the oldest player on the roster at age 30 who made the U.S. team for the first time in her career, started every game and was called the team’s glue and MVP going into the final.

Wilson and Tokyo Olympic MVP Breanna Stewart were the leaders. Guard Kelsey Plum, a Tokyo Olympic 3×3 player, blossomed this past WNBA season and was third in the league’s MVP voting. She averaged the most minutes on the team, scored 15.8 points per game and had 17 in the final.

“The depth of talent that we have was on display,” Reeve said. “What I am most pleased about was the trust and buy-in.”

For the first time since 1994, no player on the U.S. roster was over the age of 30, creating a scary thought for the 2024 Paris Olympics: the Americans could get even better.

“When you say best-ever, I’m always really cautious with that, because, obviously, there are great teams,” Reeve said when asked specifically about the team’s defense. “This group was really hard to play against.”

Earlier Saturday, 41-year-old Australian legend Lauren Jackson turned back the clock with a 30-point performance off the bench in her final game as an Opal, a 95-65 victory over Canada for the bronze. Jackson, who came out of a six-year retirement and played her first major tournament since the 2012 Olympics, had her best scoring performance since the 2008 Olympics.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

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The U.S. women’s basketball team won its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headlined a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, included neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team had nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 60 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The U.S. beat China in the final, while host Australia took bronze to send 41-year-old Lauren Jackson into retirement.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), wasn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule, Results

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France 74, Mali 59 Group B
4 a.m. Australia 69, Serbia 54 Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada 70, Japan 56 Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium 85, Bosnia and Herzegovina 55 Group A
11:30 p.m. Serbia 81, Mali 68 Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA 145, South Korea 69 Group A
2 a.m. France 67, Japan 53 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 95, Puerto Rico 60 Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia 75, Canada 72 Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 92, South Korea 73 Group A
11:30 p.m. China 81, Belgium 55 Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA 121, Bosnia and Herzegovina 59 Group A
2 a.m. Canada 88, Mali 65 Group B
3:30 a.m. Serbia 68, France 62 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 71, Japan 54 Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. USA 88, Serbia 55 Quarterfinals
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Canada 79, Puerto Rico 60 Quarterfinals
4 a.m. China 85, France 71 Quarterfinals
6:30 a.m. Australia 86, Belgium 69 Quarterfinals
Fri., Sept. 30 3 a.m. USA 83, Canada 43 Semifinals
5:30 a.m. China 61, Australia 59 Semifinals
11 p.m. Australia 95, Canada 65 Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. USA 83, China 61 Gold-Medal Game