Ted Ligety

What to watch on Day 12 of Sochi Olympics

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Here’s a look at the compelling events, athletes and storylines of the Sochi Olympics on Wednesday, Feb. 19. A complete list of every Wednesday event can be found here.

WHAT TO STAY UP LATE FOR …

Men’s giant slalom, 2 a.m./5:30 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH FIRST RUN | SECOND RUN

American Ted Ligety’s favorite status here has fallen under some question given his results so far at these Games — 12th in the super combined and 14th in the super-G, two events in which he won gold at the 2013 World Championships but had little World Cup success.

Still, the giant slalom is Ligety’s specialty. He won the World Cup season title in the event four of the last six seasons, though he ranks third so far this season.

Ligety’s primary competition will come from Austrian Marcel Hirscher and Frenchman Alexis Pinturault, the two men who rank above him in the World Cup standings.

Don’t count out Bode Miller, who won silver in the giant slalom at the 2002 Olympics.

Men’s hockey quarterfinal, Sweden-Slovenia, 3 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Sweden earned the top quarterfinal seed after winning all three of its group games. It gets a Slovenian team playing with house money, in its first Olympic tournament having never placed better than 13th at a World Championships.

Sweden has won the last two Olympics held on European ice and will look to ride goalie Henrik Lundqvist into a semifinal against Russia or Finland.

WHAT TO WAKE UP EARLY FOR …

Women’s curling semifinals, Canada-Great Britain, 5 a.m. ETCLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE | Sweden-Switzerland, 5 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Canada, skipped by Jennifer Jones, became the first woman’s nation to go undefeated in round-robin play. The top seed, it drew reigning world champion Great Britain, skipped by Scot Eve Muirhead.

Sweden is the two-time defending Olympic champion and world silver medalist, while Switzerland took fourth in Vancouver.

Cross-country skiing, women’s team sprint, 6:45 a.m. ETCLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

This is probably the last good chance for the U.S. to win its second-ever Olympic cross-country medal, joining Bill Koch’s silver from 1976.

Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins won the 2013 World Championship in the team sprint. Diggins is replaced by Sophie Caldwell this year.

Norway and Sweden figure to be the toughest competition. Norway starts eight-time Olympic medalist Marit Bjoergen, while Sweden is not using Charlotte Kalla, who won one gold and two silvers in three of the first four cross-country events.

Men’s hockey quarterfinal, Finland-Russia, 7:30 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

This figures to be the closest quarterfinal. Finland scored 14 goals in its first two games before falling to mighty Canada in overtime. The Finns won medals in 2006 and 2010 and are the best never to win an Olympic hockey gold, if you don’t count Russia as separate from the Soviet Union and Unified Team.

Russia has looked far less impressive than Finland, struggling on the power play and posting underwhelming victories against nations that weren’t considered medal contenders.

Speed skating, women’s 5000m, 8:30 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

This is the final individual speed skating event and thus the last chance the Netherlands gets to win multiple medals in one event.

The Dutch female superstar, Ireen Wuest, will look to win her fourth medal of these Games. If she does so, she’s in great shape for five given the Netherlands is the gold-medal favorite in the team pursuit. Five medals would match the most medals won by an athlete at one Winter Games.

Wuest will be paired with defending Olympic champion Martina Sablikova, who has won the last nine World Cup and World Championship 5000m races dating to November 2010.

Also in this race, German Claudia Pechstein, in her sixth Olympics at age 41, will look to win her 10th career medal and become the most decorated female Winter Olympian ever.

WHAT YOU CAN’T MISS DURING THE DAY …

Biathlon mixed relay, 9:30 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen takes aim at the solo record for most Winter Olympic medals for the third time here. The mixed relay is a new Olympic event, and one where Norway should like its chances.

The Norwegians send Bjoerndalen and Emil Hegle Svendsen, both individual gold medalists in Sochi, and Tora Berger and Tiril Eckhoff, silver and bronze medalists.

If Norway wins gold, Bjoerndalen will tie retired Norwegian cross-country skier Bjorn Daehlie for the most career Olympic gold medals (eight) with one more men’s relay to go Saturday.

The other contenders figure to be the Czech Republic, France and Russia.

Curling men’s semifinals, Sweden-Great Britain, 10 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE | Canada-China, 10 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Canada is the only 2010 medalist still alive, looking to defend its gold medal with a different rink this time around. Canada is the No. 2 seed, drawing third seed China and its star skip, Liu Rui. China was sixth at the 2013 World Championships and has never won an Olympic men’s medal.

The top seed is Sweden, which went 8-1 in round-robin play and is the 2013 world champion. Great Britain knocked the pants off Norway in a tiebreaker game Monday to stay alive.

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

The notables start with American Polina Edmunds (11:28 a.m. ET), defending Olympic champion Yuna Kim (12:24 p.m.) and U.S. champion Gracie Gold (1:05) before the final group.

The night will be capped by Russian breakout Yuliya Lipnitskaya (1:47), Italian Carolina Kostner (1:54), two-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner (2) and Japan’s Mao Asada (2:20).

Yuna, expected to retire after Sochi, is skating in an international competition for the first time in more than two months. She’s hoping to become the first woman to win two figure skating golds since Katarina Witt in 1984 and 1988.

Lipnitskaya could be her biggest obstacle. The 15-year-old could become the youngest Olympic figure skating champion since Tara Lipinski in 1998.

The key for Asada, the 2010 Olympic silver medalist, will be hitting her triple Axel.

Gold and Wagner are the top hopes to bring the U.S. its first women’s figure skating medal since Sasha Cohen’s silver in 2006.

Women’s bobsled runs 3 and 4, 11:15 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams held a .23 lead over 2010 Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries of Canada after the first two runs Tuesday.

Meyers, a 2010 bronze medalist as a brakewoman, looks to win the first U.S. women’s bobsled gold medal since Jill Bakken and Vonetta Flowers prevailed in the event’s debut in 2002.

Williams, a three-time track and field Olympian, looks to become the second athlete to win Summer and Winter Olympic gold medals.

The second U.S. sled, driven by Jamie Greubel, was in third place after the first two runs, .49 ahead of an upstart fourth-place Belgian sled.

USA-3, with Jazmine Fenlator and Lolo Jones, was 11th.

Men’s hockey quarterfinals, Canada-Latvia, 12 p.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE | U.S.-Czech Republic, 12 p.m. ETCLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

The winners of these games will play each other in the semifinals Friday.

Canada has the easier path after Latvia upset Switzerland on Tuesday. The Latvians, whose roster includes 41-year-old former NHL All-Star Sandis Ozolinsh, have already made it farther than it had in the last three Olympics. The Canadians have named Carey Price their starting goalie over Roberto Luongo, who backed them to a gold medal in 2010.

The U.S. will play the Czech Republic, an opponent that would have given it nightmares 15 years ago. But the Czechs are no longer the power they were in the Dominik Hasek era, despite knocking off 2010 fourth-place nation Slovakia on Tuesday. Jonathan Quick will start in goal for the U.S. after getting the third group-play game off.

Katie Ledecky wins race by 30 seconds, takes back No. 1 ranking

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In her last race of the year, Katie Ledecky ensured she would finish 2019 as the world’s fastest 1500m freestyler.

Ledecky clocked 15:35.98 at the U.S. Open in Atlanta, winning the longest event on the Olympic pool program by 29.97 seconds. Typical for Ledecky, who owns the nine fastest times in history. This one came in at No. 8. Full meet results are here.

Ledecky scratched the 1500m free final at the summer world championships due to illness. Italian Simona Quadarella went on to win that title in 15:40.89, which was the world’s fastest time this year until Saturday night.

“I didn’t have time on my mind at all today. I just wanted to have a consistent swim,” Ledecky, undefeated in 1500m free finals for nine years, said on NBCSN. “That’s probably the best mile that I’ve had in a while.”

The women’s 1500m freestyle debuts at the Olympics in Tokyo. Ledecky is expected to add that to her Rio Olympic individual lineup of 200m, 400m and 800m frees, assuming she is top two in each event at the June Olympic trials.

In other events Saturday, Erika Brown handed Simone Manuel a rare defeat in the 100m freestyle. Brown, a University of Tennessee senior, clocked 53.42 and lowered her personal best by .71 between prelims and the final. Brown moved from sixth to fourth in the U.S. rankings this year, upping her stock as a contender to make the Olympic 4x100m free relay pool via a top-six finish at trials.

Brown previously lowered her personal best in the 50m free on Thursday. She ranks third in the U.S. this year in that event.

Emily Escobedo dealt Lilly King a rare domestic defeat in the 200m breaststroke. Escobedo lowered her personal best by .87 and clocked 2:22.00, moving to seventh fastest in the world this year and remaining fourth among Americans.

In the men’s 200m breast, Olympic champion Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan was beaten by Cody Miller, the Olympic 100m breast silver medalist. Both were slower than their best times this year.

The next significant swim meet is a Tyr Pro Series stop in Knoxville, Tenn., from Jan. 16-19.

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Mikaela Shiffrin runner-up in Lake Louise downhill

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LAKE LOUISE, Alberta (AP) — Here’s a scary thought for her competition: Mikaela Shiffrin is still getting comfortable with the intensity and the speed of the downhill.

That’s why podium finishes are still a little surprising even to her.

The American three-time overall World Cup champion finished runner-up to Nicole Schmidhofer of Austria in a downhill race Saturday. Schmidhofer cruised through the course in 1 minute, 49.92 seconds to edge Shiffrin by 0.13 seconds. Francesca Marsaglia of Italy wound up third.

Schmidhofer has four career World Cup wins, with three of them arriving at Lake Louise.

Known as a tech specialist, Shiffrin is steadily getting up to speed in the speed events. This was Shiffrin’s fourth career World Cup podium finish in the downhill, which includes a Lake Louise win in 2017.

So, does Shiffrin anticipate this kind of downhill success?

“No, no, no,” the 24-year-old from Colorado said. “It’s certainly not normal (for a downhill podium). Even racing downhill doesn’t feel normal. But I feel every year like I have more experience and get more comfortable.”

Shiffrin currently sits at 62 World Cup wins, which ties her with Austrian great Annemarie Moser-Proell for second-most on the women’s side. Lindsey Vonn had 82 wins before her retirement.

“I’m certainly more comfortable with the long skis,” Shiffrin said of downhill racing. “Right now, it’s enjoying it, because speed is a little bit extra for me. My goal is to be able to succeed in speed as well. It’s making the transition and trying to have fun with it.”

Czech Republic skier and snowboarder Ester Ledecka finished fourth Saturday. She was the surprise winner of Friday’s season-opening downhill, which was delayed and shortened by heavy snowfall on the mountain. The race Saturday was restored to its full length.

Next up, a super-G on Sunday.

“It’s always been a little bit tricky for me from downhill skis to super-G skis and to change the timing a little bit,” Shiffrin said. “I’m going to have fun.”

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