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.

USA Boxing to skip world championships

USA Boxing
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USA Boxing will not send boxers to this year’s men’s and women’s world championships, citing “the ongoing failures” of the IBA, the sport’s international governing body, that put boxing’s place on the Olympic program at risk.

The Washington Post first reported the decision.

In a letter to its members, USA Boxing Executive Director Mike McAtee listed many factors that led to the decision, including IBA governance issues, financial irregularities and transparency and that Russian and Belarusian boxers are allowed to compete with their flags.

IBA lifted its ban on Russian and Belarusian boxers in October and said it would allow their flags and anthems to return, too.

The IOC has not shifted from its recommendation to international sports federations last February that Russian and Belarusian athletes be barred, though the IOC and Olympic sports officials have been exploring whether those athletes could return without national symbols.

USA Boxing said that Russian boxers have competed at an IBA event in Morocco this month with their flags and are expected to compete at this year’s world championships under their flags.

“While sport is intended to be politically neutral, many boxers, coaches and other representatives of the Ukrainian boxing community were killed as a result of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, including coach Mykhaylo Korenovsky who was killed when a Russian missile hit an apartment block in January 2023,” according to the USA Boxing letter. “Ukraine’s sports infrastructure, including numerous boxing gyms, has been devastated by Russian aggression.”

A message has been sent to the IBA seeking comment on USA Boxing’s decision.

The women’s world championships are in March in India. The men’s world championships are in May in Uzbekistan. They do not count toward 2024 Olympic qualifying.

In December, the IOC said recent IBA decisions could lead to “the cancellation of boxing” for the 2024 Paris Games.

Some of the already reported governance issues led to the IOC stripping IBA — then known as AIBA — of its Olympic recognition in 2019. AIBA had suspended all 36 referees and judges used at the 2016 Rio Olympics pending an investigation into a possible judging scandal, one that found that some medal bouts were fixed by “complicit and compliant” referees and judges.

The IOC ran the Tokyo Olympic boxing competition.

Boxing was not included on the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games announced in December 2021, though it could still be added. The IBA must address concerns “around its governance, its financial transparency and sustainability and the integrity of its refereeing and judging processes,” IOC President Thomas Bach said then.

This past June, the IOC said IBA would not run qualifying competitions for the 2024 Paris Games.

In September, the IOC said it was “extremely concerned” about the Olympic future of boxing after an IBA extraordinary congress overwhelmingly backed Russian Umar Kremlev to remain as its president rather than hold an election.

Kremlev was re-elected in May after an opponent, Boris van der Vorst of the Netherlands, was barred from running against him. The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in June that van der Vorst should have been eligible to run against Kremlev, but the IBA group still decided not to hold a new election.

Last May, Rashida Ellis became the first U.S. woman to win a world boxing title at an Olympic weight since Claressa Shields in 2016, taking the 60kg lightweight crown in Istanbul. In Tokyo, Ellis lost 3-0 in her opening bout in her Olympic debut.

At the last men’s worlds in 2021, Robby Gonzales and Jahmal Harvey became the first U.S. men to win an Olympic or world title since 2007, ending the longest American men’s drought since World War II.

The Associated Press and NBC Olympic research contributed to this report.

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Mikaela Shiffrin ties world Alpine skiing championships medals record

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Mikaela Shiffrin took silver behind Italian Marta Bassino in the super-G for her 12th world Alpine skiing championships medal, tying the modern individual record.

Bassino edged Shiffrin by 11 hundredths of a second in Meribel, France, for her second world title after sharing parallel gold in 2021.

“That was the best run I can do on this track,” Shiffrin told Austrian broadcaster ORF. “I had one turn … coming off the [final] pitch where I almost lost it all.

“I’m so happy with my run.”

Austrian Cornelia Huetter and Norwegian Kajsa Vickhoff Lie tied for bronze, 33 hundredths back in a discipline where five different women won this season’s five World Cup races.

Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami, the reigning Olympic and world champ, led at the last intermediate split but lost 44 hundredths to Bassino in the final 18 seconds of the course and ended up sixth.

ALPINE WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

With her 12th world medal, the 27-year-old Shiffrin tied Kjetil Andre Aamodt, a Norwegian star of the 1990s and 2000s, for the most in individual events since World War II. Aamodt earned his 12th and final medal in his 27th world championships race. Shiffrin matched him in her 15th worlds start.

Swede Anja Pärson holds the overall record of 13 modern medals. She won two in the team event.

Shiffrin has six gold medals, one shy of that modern record.

Shiffrin, the greatest slalom skier in history, is selective when it comes to the speed events of downhill and super-G. She has never raced the downhill at worlds and will not enter Saturday’s race.

In the super-G, she now has a world championships medal of every color and is one of two skiers in history to make the super-G podium at three consecutive worlds. The other is Austrian legend Hermann Maier.

“I’m emotional because I don’t really feel like I should be winning a medal in super-G right now,” said Shiffrin, who had a win and a seventh place in two World Cup super-G starts this season and was sixth in the super-G run of Monday’s combined. “There are so many women who are strong and fast.”

Shiffrin rebounded from Monday’s first race of worlds, where she was in line for combined gold before losing her balance with five gates left and straddling the third-to-last gate in her slalom run. That snapped her streak of a medal in 10 consecutive world championships races dating to 2015.

After Wednesday’s race, Shiffrin called the past 48 hours “stressful.” She shed tears in the live ORF interview soon after her run, then later clarified that she misunderstood what the interviewer said in German.

“The last two or four weeks, well, really the last year, but especially in the last few weeks, I must have answered 100 questions about this world championships and basically if I’m worried that it’s going to be the same as what the Olympics was last year, if I’m worried about the disappointment, if I’m afraid of it,” Shiffrin, whose best individual Olympic finish last year was ninth, with three DNFs, said in a later press conference when asked about the ORF interview. “I was like, ‘I survived the Olympics, so I’m not afraid that it’s going to kill me if I don’t win a medal this world championships.’ That’s what I’ve been saying, but for sure, you get asked the same thing again and again. It’s so hard to keep the balance in your mind to answer this question and still be positive and still think I can do this. I can ski my best. I can make it to the finish. And then after the combined, I was like, you have got to be kidding me. My DNF rate now in my entire career, over 50 percent of it is at Olympics or world championships. Like, c’mon. It’s almost funny. And it’s only funny because I was able to win a medal today. The pressure’s not off, but there’s for sure a little bit of relief.”

Worlds continue with the men’s super-G on Thursday. Shiffrin’s next race is expected to be the giant slalom on Feb. 16.

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