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. ET — CLICK 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.
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.