Meryl Davis, Charlie White

What to watch on Day 10 of Sochi Olympics

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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.

Brigid Kosgei, Eliud Kipchoge herald new era of fast marathons

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Eliud Kipchoge‘s success in breaking the two-hour mark (final time: 1:59:40) for the marathon on Saturday was expected. He had come close before, and like Alex Honnold‘s unprecedented climb of El Capitan documented in the film Free Solo, the feat required meticulous planning — the ideal mix of pace-setters, course conditions and weather — to steer a once-in-a-lifetime talent to a once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment.

Brigid Kosgei‘s world record at the Chicago Marathon on Sunday was a far greater surprise. Kosgei had run fast times before, but her time of 2:14:04 took more than four minutes off her personal best earlier this year in London, which is typically a faster race than Chicago.

MORE: Chicago Marathon results

The two feats had some common threads. Both runners are Kenyan, no surprise in an event in which the top 100 men’s performances of all time are almost exclusively Kenyan and Ethiopian and the top of the women’s all-time list is similarly homogeneous aside from the presence of British runner Paula Radcliffe, whose time of 2:15:25 had stood as the world record for 16 1/2 years until Sunday. Radcliffe was present in Chicago to greet Kosgei when her record fell.

Kipchoge and Kosgei also wore the same shoes, Nike’s ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%, thanks to Kosgei’s last-minute decision to switch. Earlier versions of those shoes, like the high-tech swimsuits that were eventually banned from competition or golf equipment whose advertising revels in their alleged illegality,

Both marathoners also had pace-setters running with them. Kipchoge’s effort took the concept to an extreme, with an all-star cast running pieces of the course in front of him, and will not be considered an official world record because it didn’t happen under race conditions. (The Atlantic ran a piece on the Kipchoge run with the headline “The Greatest, Fakest World Record,” though the piece itself was more inquisitive than judgmental.)

MORE: Kipchoge shakes off nerves to break barrier

Kosgei was running in an actual race and has already had her time touted as a world record by the international organizer IAAF, but because she was running in a mixed-gender race, she was able to run behind two hired guns, Geoffrey Pyego and Daniel Limo. They were easily distinguished from men’s race contenders by the singlets with the word “PACE” written in the space where a number or name would usually go.

But in general, marathoners are simply getting faster and faster. Perhaps it’s scientific, with specifically engineered shoes, pace-setters and refined training methods, or perhaps all the tinkering and lab experiments are simply a sign of increased focus on the race that traces its history to the myth of the Greek soldier Pheidippides running such a great distance to herald a momentous military victory before falling over dead.

Of the top 20 women’s times on the IAAF list, only five were run before 2012 — one by Catherine Ndereba, four by Radcliffe. Three were run in 2017, then six in 2018 (three in Berlin) and four this year. All 20 of the fastest men’s times have been posted this decade, eight of them in 2019 alone. Kipchoge, in addition to his unofficial best from this weekend, has the official record of 2:01:39 from the 2018 Berlin Marathon.

The all-time list also reminds us that, for all the controversy over the context of Kipchoge’s run, marathons aren’t really standard, anyway. Some courses are more difficult than others. Some races, like the Boston Marathon, aren’t eligible for record consideration for a variety of technical reasons. (Boston’s hilly course doesn’t lend itself to fast times, anyway — the men’s course record of 2:03:02, set by Geoffrey Mutai in 2011, would rank seventh all-time, but no other time would crack the top 100. The women’s course record is nowhere near the best ever.) London, Berlin and Dubai are the places to go for assaults on the record book.

No matter where the race takes place or how it was run, fast times in the marathon capture the imagination.

Purists may cling to romantic notions of long-haired, bearded runners pounding the Boston or New York pavement in shoes that didn’t even have a basic level of air cushioning. But the modern marathon era is built for speed.

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Danielle Perkins is first U.S. boxer to win world title in 3 years

Danielle Perkins
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Danielle Perkins became the U.S.’ first world champion boxer in this Olympic cycle, taking the heavyweight crown in Russia on Sunday.

Perkins, a 37-year-old who played college basketball at George Mason and St. John’s, improved from bronze in 2018 to earn her first world title, blanking defending world champion Yang Xiaoli of China 5-0 in Sunday’s final.

Video of the bout is here.

Perkins was slated to fight Yang in the 2018 World semifinals but withdrew due to medical reasons, according to USA Boxing.

The heavyweight division is 81+kg, but the heaviest Olympic weight division is capped at 75kg.

The last American to earn a world title was Claressa Shields in 2016, before she repeated as Olympic champion in Rio and moved to the professional ranks.

The Olympic trials are in December in Louisiana, after which winners will fight internationally in early 2020 in bids to qualify for the Tokyo Games.

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MORE: IOC strips Olympic status from boxing body AIBA