Mikaela Shiffrin

What to watch on Day 14 of Sochi Olympics

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Here’s a look at the compelling events, athletes and storylines of the Sochi Olympics on Friday, Feb. 21. A complete list of every Friday event can be found here.

WHAT TO WAKE UP EARLY FOR …

Men’s hockey semifinals, Sweden-Finland, 7 a.m. ETCLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

This is a rematch of the 2006 Olympic gold-medal game, won 3-2 by Sweden, which has taken the last two Olympic men’s hockey golds on European ice.

The Swedes will lean on the same goalie as in Torino, Henrik Lundqvist, against the Finns’ Tuukka Rask. They were both stellar in quarterfinal victories over Slovenia and Russia, respectively.

Sweden is looking to make its third gold-medal game. Finland has won five Olympic hockey medals, all in the last seven Winter Games, but no golds.

Alpine skiing, women’s slalom, 7:15 a.m. ET/11:15 a.m. ETCLICK HERE TO WATCH FIRST RUN | SECOND RUN

Mikaela Shiffrin is the gold-medal favorite here, the reigning world champion and World Cup champion and current World Cup leader. Shiffrin, 18, would be the fifth different U.S. Alpine skier to win a medal at these Games, matching the American record set in 1984.

Her biggest competition could come from one her idols, Austrian Marlies Schild. Schild, 32, was the world’s best slalom skier before tearing knee ligaments in December 2012 and watching Shiffrin take her crown.

Also watch out for all-around stars Maria Hoefl-Riesch and Tina Maze.

Men’s curling final, Canada-Great Britain, 8:30 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Canada will go for its third straight men’s curling gold with a third different rink. Canada could also become the first nation to sweep Olympic curling golds, after Jennifer Jones completed her undefeated run Thursday.

Upstart Great Britain knocked off 2010 Olympic silver medalist Norway in a tiebreaker playoff and world champion Sweden in the semifinals, both by one point.

Great Britain has not won an Olympic men’s curling medal since taking gold at the first Winter Games in 1924 before curling was taken out of the program for seven decades.

Speed skating, men’s and women’s team pursuit, 8:30 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Can US Speedskating salvage a long track medal? The final two events of the Olympic program get started Friday. The U.S. has won at least one speed skating medal at every Olympics since 1984.

The U.S. women are longshots for a medal given they are matched up against the Netherlands in their quarterfinal at 9:40 a.m. ET.

The men have a realistic shot, drawing Canada in an 8:30 a.m. quarterfinal. Canada beat the U.S. for gold in 2010 but is not as strong here and, obviously, not on home ice.

The U.S. will field three skaters out of a group of four each round, choosing from Shani Davis, Brian Hansen, Jonathan Kuck and Joey Mantia.

The U.S.-Canada winner will face the South Korea-Russia winner in the semifinals at 10:13 a.m. The winner of the semifinal will be guaranteed a gold or silver medal (the final is Saturday). The loser will vie for bronze Saturday.

The Netherlands, a heavy gold-medal favorite despite winning bronze in 2006 and 2010, is on the other side of the bracket.

WHAT YOU CAN’T MISS DURING THE DAY …

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

This is a rematch of the 2010 Olympic gold-medal game, won by Canada on Sidney Crosby’s overtime goal. This game could be just as tight.

The U.S. won its first four games by a combined 14 goals. Canada has been less dominant, taking its last two games 2-1 (including one over minnow Latvia in the quarterfinals). The goalie matchup will be Jonathan Quick against Carey Price.

The winner of this game is guaranteed a medal. Canada has not won a men’s hockey medal at a non-North American Winter Olympics since 1994. The U.S. hasn’t done it since 1972.

Short track speed skating, men’s 500m, women’s 1000m, men’s 5000m relay, 12:43 p.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

US Speedskating is also looking for it first short track medal of these Olympics, after winning six in 2010. U.S. short track skaters have been shut out of the medals once (1998) since the sport was added to the Olympics in 1992.

The U.S. is more likely than not to win a short track medal Friday.

J.R. Celski is the world-record holder in the 500m, the only event he didn’t skate at the 2010 Olympics, and won’t have to deal with 2010 Olympic champion Charles Hamelin of Canada.

The 5000m relay medal final is missing 2010 gold and silver medalists Canada and South Korea.

The U.S. won bronze in 2010 and is in a final field Friday that includes strong nations Russia and China and two nations, the Netherlands and Kazakhstan, that own a combined one Olympic short track medal ever.

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Kobe Bryant embraced the Olympics, on and off the court

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Kobe Bryant developed a special relationship with Team USA, international basketball and the Olympic Games themselves.

Bryant was among those who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday. Grief spread worldwide, showing the impact he had across international sport. Images of Bryant meeting Olympians from gymnastics, swimming, track and field, even Alpine skiing, some from him attending their competitions, dotted social media.

Bryant earned gold medals as a leader of the 2008 and 2012 U.S. Olympic basketball teams. He said before debuting at the Games that he valued a gold medal above an NBA championship.

In 2008, he helped spur the Redeem Team to gold in Beijing. He sat down with NBC Sports’ Cris Collinsworth for an interview, describing what it meant to him to receive the USA jersey for the first time.

“I had goosebumps, and I actually just looked at it for a while,” said Bryant, who put off surgery on a torn ligament in his right pinkie finger to play in 2008. “I just held it there, and I laid it across my bed. I just stared at it for a few minutes. Just because, as a kid growing up, this is the ultimate, ultimate in basketball.”

Bryant’s first Olympic game came in a special environment — in Beijing against China.

“When I look up in the crowd, and I see all the USA flags waving and people chanting USA, it gives you goosebumps,” he said. “When I heard the national anthem, I teared up a little bit, and I had to gather myself.”

Bryant stayed close to the Olympic Movement in retirement.

He attended the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials for women’s gymnastics, meeting the team members. He appeared at USA Swimming’s Golden Goggle Awards, helping raise money for the national governing body. He was the final voice in the Los Angeles Olympic bid presentation to the IOC two years ago.

Bryant’s last words in that video, before the IOC later awarded the 2024 Olympics to Paris and the 2028 Olympics to Los Angeles: “To have the Olympics here, and to have so many different cultures represented, would be a beautiful story to tell.”

WATCH LIVE: Nathan Chen in U.S. Figure Skating Championships free skate

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Nathan Chen tries to become the first man to win four straight U.S. figure skating titles since 1988, live on NBC Sports on Sunday.

NBC Sports Gold streams live coverage of the men’s free skate for subscribers starting at 2:30 p.m. ET in Greensboro, N.C. NBC joins with TV coverage at 3.

LIVE STREAM: Men’s Free Skate — Gold | NBC | Skate Order

Chen, a 20-year-old Yale sophomore, is undefeated since placing fifth at the PyeongChang Olympics. He can become the seventh man since World War II to win four straight national titles.

Five of the previous six went on to earn Olympic gold, including Dick ButtonScott Hamilton and, most recently, Brian Boitano in 1988.

Chen carries a substantial 13.14-point lead from Saturday’s short program, where he landed two quadruple jumps on one week of full training following a flu bout.

The anticipated drama Sunday comes in the battle for silver and bronze medals and the last two world championships team spots.

Jason BrownAndrew TorgashevVincent Zhou and Tomoki Hiwatashi are separated by 8.78 points. Brown, the 2015 U.S. champion, and Zhou, the 2019 World bronze medalist, are the only men in the field other than Chen with world team experience.

Key Skate Times
5:01 p.m. (ET) — Vincent Zhou
5:18 — Tomoki Hiwatashi
5:26 — Andrew Torgashev
5:35 — Nathan Chen
5:43 — Jason Brown

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NATIONALS: TV Schedule | Full Results

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.