What to watch on Day 9 of Sochi Olympics

Lindsey Jacobellis
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Here’s a look at the compelling events, athletes and storylines of the Sochi Olympics on Sunday, Feb. 16. A complete list of every Sunday event can be found here.

WHAT TO STAY UP LATE FOR …

Men’s curling, U.S.-Canada, 12 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Both U.S. curling teams are likely to be eliminated from medal contention Sunday. The men (2-4) go up against medal contender Canada (5-2), the defending Olympic champion. A loss, and they have no shot at the medal round. John Shuster and Co. need to win their next three games and get a lot of help to advance.

The U.S. women (1-6) are in last place and already mathematically eliminated from advancing.

Men’s super-G, 1 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Ted Ligety and Bode Miller will try again to win their first medals of the Sochi Olympics. Ligety is the reigning world super-G champion, but that’s the only super-G race he’s ever won. He’s coming off a disappointing 12th-place finish in the super combined Friday.

Miller is the reigning Olympic silver medalist in the super-G and looking for his sixth Olympic medal. He was eighth and sixth in the downhill and super combined, respectively.

Ligety and Miller are medal threats along with a host of Europeans. Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal is the World Cup leader and defending Olympic champion, but he is medal-less here and was bettered in both the downhill and super combined by countryman Kjetil Jansrud.

Austrian Matthias Mayer has momentum after winning the downhill, while Italian Christof Innerhofer goes for his third medal in three events.

Men’s hockey, Austria-Norway, 3 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

These two nations are a combined 0-4 with a minus-17 goal differential going into their Group B finale. They’re already slotted into the “qualification playoffs,” which is the round before the quarterfinals.

Norway has never made it past the Olympic quarterfinals. Austria is in its first Olympic hockey tournament since 2002.

Women’s snowboard cross final, 4:40 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Lindsey Jacobellis takes her second shot at Olympic redemption, eight years after her trick move and fall cost her gold in the first Olympic women’s snowboard cross competition.

She’s a favorite to make the final as the second-ranked rider this World Cup season. Jacobellis is also coming off her eighth Winter X Games title.

Her biggest competition could come from Canadian Dominique Maltais, the World Cup leader each of the last four seasons and bronze medalist in that infamous 2006 Olympic final. Maltais suffered a knee injury at the X Games in January but has said she feels no pain.

There’s also Maelle Ricker, another Canadian, the reigning world and Olympic champion. Ricker underwent wrist surgery in January.

WHAT TO WAKE UP EARLY FOR …

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

The final Group A games will take place simultaneously. The U.S., coming off a 3-2 shootout win over Russia on Saturday, is in the driver’s seat to clinch an automatic spot in the quarterfinals. The simplest way to do so would be to beat Slovenia, which surprised Slovakia 3-1 on Saturday.

The Russians are in a tougher spot to earn an automatic quarterfinal spot as they are one point behind the U.S. in the group standings. Russia must defeat Slovakia and hope Canada and Finland don’t go to overtime, assuming the U.S. takes care of business against Slovenia.

If not, Russia will be placed in the “qualification playoffs” and have to play an extra game to advance to the quarterfinals.

Speed skating, women’s 1500m, 9 a.m. ETCLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

This is the final individual speed skating event in which the U.S. has a realistic chance of winning a medal.

Heather Richardson and Brittany Bowe return after finishing seventh and eighth in the 1000m, where at least one was expected to win a medal.

The Netherlands’ Ireen Wuest is an overwhelming favorite. She’s the reigning Olympic and world champion and the current World Cup leader. Wuest has already won gold in the 3000m and silver in the 1000m here.

WHAT YOU CAN’T MISS DURING THE DAY …

Figure skating, short dance, 10 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Meryl Davis and Charlie White begin their quest for the first U.S. Olympic gold medal in ice dance. They’re the reigning world champions and Olympic silver medalists and haven’t lost in nearly two years, a stretch that includes a World Championship, Four Continents Championship, two Grand Prix Finals and four Grand Prix series events.

Davis and White will be the last couple to dance at 1:35 p.m. ET.

Their biggest rivals, Canadian training partners Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, take the ice at 12:34. Virtue and Moir are the defending Olympic champions.

Other U.S. couples Madison Chock and Evan Bates (12:14) and Maia and Alex Shibutani (12:01) are outside medal threats.

Biathlon, men’s 15km mass start, 10 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen is expected to take aim at the solo record for most Winter Olympic medals for the third time after his opening gold in the 10km sprint.

Bjoerndalen, 40, has been stuck on 12 career medals, finishing fourth in the 12.5km pursuit and 34th in the 20km individual event. He is not a medal favorite here. France’s Martin Fourcade is the star, looking for his third straight gold.

Two-man bobsled runs 1 and 2, 11:15 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Steven Holcomb will drive USA-1 in the first of two days of competition in the two-man event. The U.S. has not won a two-man Olympic medal since 1952.

Holcomb, the 2010 Olympic four-man champion, finished sixth in the two-man in 2010 with Curt Tomasevicz. He’ll go with Steve Langton this time around.

Holcomb is the World Cup champion in the two-man, but the favorite may very well be Swiss Beat Hefti, who won on this track to conclude the 2012-13 World Cup season. Russian Aleksandr Zubkov was fastest in training.

Nick Cunningham and Cory Butner will drive the other two U.S. sleds.

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

By goal differential, these have been the two most dominant nations so far. The winner of this game will automatically go to the quarterfinals. The loser, too, could make it as the fourth of four automatic quarterfinalists.

Canadian coach Mike Babcock did not name his starting goalie between Roberto Luongo and Carey Price on Saturday. Whoever starts will be in the driver’s seat to continue to do so into the medal round.

Saudi Arabia to host 2029 Asian Winter Games

Olympic Council of Asia
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Saudi Arabia will host the Asian Winter Games in 2029 in mountains near the $500 billion futuristic city project Neom.

The Olympic Council of Asia on Tuesday picked the Saudi candidacy that centers on Trojena that is planned to be a year-round ski resort by 2026.

“The deserts & mountains of Saudi Arabia will soon be a playground for Winter sports!” the OCA said in a statement announcing its decision.

Saudi sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal said the kingdom’s winter sports project “challenges perception” in a presentation of the plan to OCA members.

“Trojena is the future of mountain living,” the minister said of a region described as an area of about 60 square kilometers at altitude ranging from 1,500 to 2,600 meters.

The Neom megaproject is being fund by the Saudi sovereign wealth vehicle, the Public Investment Fund.

Saudi Arabia also will host the Asian Games in 2034 in Riyadh as part of aggressive moves to build a sports hosting portfolio and help diversify the economy from reliance on oil.

A campaign to host soccer’s 2030 World Cup is expected with an unprecedented three-continent bid including Egypt and Greece.

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Jim Redmond, who helped son Derek finish 1992 Olympic race, dies

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Jim Redmond, who helped his injured son, Derek, finish his 1992 Olympic 400m semifinal, died at age 81 on Sunday, according to the British Olympic Association, citing family members.

At the 1992 Barcelona Games, Derek pulled his right hamstring 15 seconds into his 400m semifinal, falling to the track in anguish.

He brushed off help from officials, got up and began limping around the track. About 120 meters from the finish line, he felt the presence of an uncredentialed man who rushed down the stadium stairs, dodged officials and said, “We started this together, and we’re going to finish this together,” according to Olympedia.org.

“As I turned into the home straight, I could sense this person was about to try and stop me,” Derek said in an NBC Olympics profile interview before the 2012 London Games. “I was just about to get ready to sort of fend them off, and then I heard a familiar voice of my dad. He said, ‘Derek, it’s me. You don’t need to do this.'”

Derek said he shouted to his dad that he wanted to finish the race.

“He was sort of saying things like, ‘You’ve got nothing to prove. You’re a champion. You’ll come back. You’re one of the best guys in the world. You’re a true champion. You’ve got heart. You’re going to get over this. We’ll conquer the world together,'” Derek remembered. “I’m just sort of saying, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.'”

At one point, Derek noticed stadium security, not knowing who Jim was, having removed guns from their holsters.

“It’s the only time I’ve ever heard my dad use bad language,” Derek said. “He just goes, ‘Leave him alone, I’m his father.'”

Derek told himself in that moment, “I’m going to finish this race if it’s the last race I ever run.” It turned out to be the last 400m race of his career, after surgery and 18 months of rehab were not enough to yield a competitive comeback, according to Sports Illustrated.

Derek had missed the 1988 Seoul Games after tearing an Achilles, reportedly while warming up for his opening race. He looked strong in Barcelona, winning his first-round heat and quarterfinal.

“I’d rather be seen to be coming last in the semifinal than not finish in the semifinal,” he said, “because at least I can say I gave it my best.”