Meryl Davis, Charlie White

What to watch on Day 10 of Sochi Olympics

Leave a comment

Here’s a look at the compelling events, athletes and storylines of the Sochi Olympics on Monday, Feb. 17. A complete list of every Monday event can be found here.

WHAT TO STAY UP LATE FOR …

Biathlon, men’s 15km mass start, after 1 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Note: This event has been postponed indefinitely.

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. This event was rescheduled from Sunday due to fog at the Laura Biathlon Center.

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.

WHAT TO WAKE UP EARLY FOR …

Men’s snowboard cross finals, 6:02 a.m. (estimated) ETCLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Note: it’s been postponed at least once.

A new Olympic snowboard cross champion will be crowned at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. The only men’s gold medalist the event has ever known, American Seth Wescott, did not make the Olympic Team.

The U.S. sends four other men, including Nate Holland, who was fourth at the 2010 Olympics, Nick Baumgartner, Trevor Jacob and Alex Deibold.

The top international contenders include Australia’s Alex “Chumpy” Pullin, who has played in a reggae band named “Love Charli,” and Austrian Markus Schairer. They were the top two finishers at the 2013 World Championships.

Women’s hockey semifinal, U.S.-Sweden, 7:30 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

The U.S. was expected to face Finland here, but the Swedes ousted the Finns by putting three goals past the world’s best goalie, Noora Raty, in the third period of their quarterfinal.

This sets up a third straight Olympic semifinal between the U.S. and Sweden.

In 2006, the Swedes shocked the Americans 3-2 in a shootout, the only time the U.S. failed to reach the gold-medal game. In 2010, the U.S. left no doubt with a 9-1 blowout before losing to Canada in the final.

WHAT YOU CAN’T MISS DURING THE DAY …

Two-man bobsled, runs 3 and 4, 9:30 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Russian Aleksandr Zubkov led by .32 of a second over Swiss Beat Hefti and .36 over American Steven Holcomb after the first two runs of four total. It will be tough to catch Zubkov, but second through sixth place is separated by .16.

Zubkov, 39, seeks his first Olympic gold medal after two-man bronze in 2006 and four-man silver in 2010. Hefti won on this track to conclude the 2012-13 World Cup season.

Holcomb is the World Cup champion and looking for the first U.S. Olympic two-man medal since 1952.

The other Americans, Cory Butner and Nick Cunningham, are 11th and 13th.

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

The short dance went according to plan Sunday, with Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White taking a 2.56-point lead over Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, their training partners.

Davis and White 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. They’re trying to win the first U.S. Olympic ice dance gold medal.

Virtue and Moir won the 2010 Olympic title in Vancouver but have been passed by Davis and White in the four years since.

Russian and French couples appear to be vying for bronze. Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates and Maia and Alex Shibutani were eighth and ninth after the short dance.

Women’s hockey semifinal, Canada-Switzerland, 12 p.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Canada is a heavy favorite here given it beat Switzerland 5-0 in group play. The Canadians have never lost in the semifinals of an Olympics or World Championships and are trying to win their fourth straight Olympic title.

Switzerland, whose team includes a D.C.-area Starbucks barista, has already clinched its best-ever Olympic finish. It’s playing with house money.

Ski jumping, team competition, 12:15 p.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Austria appears to be the favorite to win the team competition for a third straight Olympics, but its individual large hill results (seventh, eighth, 32nd, 40th) weren’t very inspiring.

Other medal contenders include Slovenia, which won both World Cup team events this season, and Germany, which was second to Slovenia both times. Norway and Japan also have a shot. Japan features 41-year-old Noriaki Kasai, who won silver in the individual large hill.

Poland’s Kamil Stoch swept the individual normal and large hill events, but the Polish team is not very deep. It appears unlikely he will join Finland’s Matti Nykaenen as the only ski jumpers to win three golds at a single Winter Games.

Men’s aerials final, 12:30 p.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

This shapes up as a China-Belarus battle, just like the women’s aerials competition. Again, China enters with higher expectations. It throws 2010 bronze medalist Liu Zhongqing, 2013 world champion Qiu Guangpu and 2013 world bronze medalist Jia Zongyang.

Belarus, meanwhile, boasts defending Olympic champion Aleksei Grishin and Anton Kushnir, who won a World Cup event in Park City, Utah, in January.

Canada’s Travis Gerrits is also threat after winning the 2013 World Championships silver medal.

Mac Bohonnon, with one World Cup silver this season, is the lone U.S. entrant.

World champion wins doping case citing bodily fluids from boyfriend

AP
Leave a comment

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A world champion canoeist won a doping case Monday after persuading a tribunal that her positive test was caused by bodily fluid contamination from her boyfriend.

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) ended its investigation into 11-time world champion Laurence Vincent Lapointe, who tested positive for a steroid-like substance in July. She faced a four-year ban and could have missed her event’s Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games.

The Canadian canoe sprint racer and her lawyer detailed in a news program that laboratory analysis of hair from her then-boyfriend showed he was likely responsible for a tiny presence of ligandrol in her doping sample.

“The ICF has accepted Ms. Vincent Lapointe’s evidence which supports that she was the victim of third-party contamination,” the governing body said in a statement, clearing her to return to competition.

The legal debate is similar to tennis player Richard Gasquet’s 2009 acquittal in the “cocaine kiss” case. The Court of Arbitration for Sport accepted Gasquet’s defense that kissing a woman who had taken cocaine in a Miami nightclub, after he had withdrawn injured from a tournament, caused his positive test.

The 27-year-old Vincent Lapointe was provisionally suspended for almost six months and missed the 2019 World Championships, which was a key qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics. American 17-year-old Nevin Harrison won the 200m world title in her absence.

She can still qualify for the Olympic debut of women’s canoe sprint events with victory at a World Cup event in May in Germany.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Viral Olympic moments of 2010s decade

U.S. women’s soccer team begins Olympic qualifying, which should rest on one match

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The U.S. women’s soccer team has never been in danger in Olympic qualifying, but that doesn’t change this fact: It must win on Feb. 7 to reach the Tokyo Games.

The CONCACAF tournament begins Tuesday in Houston, where the world champion Americans face world No. 72 Haiti. The last two group games are against No. 68 Panama on Friday and No. 37 Costa Rica on Feb. 3. The top two nations from the group advance to Feb. 7 semifinals.

The U.S. roster, with 18 of its 20 players coming from the 2019 World Cup team, is here.

Since CONCACAF qualifies two nations to the Olympics, the semifinals are the deciding games.

Should the U.S. win its group, it would face the runner-up from the other group in a winner-goes-to-Tokyo match. The other group (world ranking):

Canada (8)
Mexico (37)
Jamaica (53)
St. Kitts and Nevis (127)

Chaos could result in the unlikely event that either the U.S. or Canada finishes second in its group, and the two North American powers play a semifinal.

The U.S. is undefeated in Olympic qualifying history, since the tournament format began in 2004 — 15-0 with a goal differential of 88-1 (not counting matches played once they’ve already clinched qualification). The lone goal allowed came in a group-stage match in 2008, when the U.S. was already assured a spot in the semifinals.

Still, the U.S. knows the feeling of one poor outing in an important match. In 2010, it lost to Mexico in a winner-to-the-World Cup match. The U.S. was forced to win a last-chance, home-and-home playoff against a UEFA team — Italy — for the last spot in the World Cup.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Viral Olympic moments of 2010s decade