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PyeongChang Olympic hockey schedule announced

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The U.S. men’s hockey team will open Olympic play against Slovenia on Feb. 14.

The U.S. women start against Finland on Feb. 11, two days after the PyeongChang Winter Games Opening Ceremony.

The IIHF released the men’s and women’s Olympic hockey schedules Monday. The groups were previously announced.

The U.S. men — without NHL players for the first time since 1994 — are in the same group as in Sochi with Russia, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Russia is seen as the favorite given it will pick its team from its domestic league, the KHL, widely viewed as the second-best league in the world behind the NHL.

All 12 teams in the men’s tournament will advance out of group play.

The three group winners, plus the best runner-up, advance automatically to the quarterfinals. The other eight nations play an extra playoff round before the quarterfinals.

The U.S. women are grouped with the other world powers — Canada, Finland and Russia — in the eight-team tournament.

Every team in the U.S.’ group automatically advances to bracket play. The top two advance to the semifinals. The bottom two are in the quarterfinals.

The top two teams from the other, lower-ranked group of Sweden, Switzerland, Japan and host South Korea also make the quarterfinals.

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MORE: Notable ex-NHL players eligible for Olympics

Men’s Schedule

Day Time (ET) Matchup Group
Wednesday, Feb. 14 7:10 a.m. Russia-Slovakia B
7:10 a.m. USA-Slovenia B
10:10 p.m. Finland-Germany C
Thursday, Feb. 15 2:40 a.m. Sweden-Norway C
7:10 a.m. Czech Republic-South Korea A
7:10 a.m. Canada-Switzerland A
10:10 p.m. USA-Slovakia B
Friday, Feb. 16 2:40 a.m. Russia-Slovenia B
7:10 a.m. Finland-Norway C
7:10 a.m. Sweden-Germany C
10:10 p.m. Canada-Czech Republic A
Saturday, Feb. 17 2:40 a.m. Switzerland-South Korea A
7:10 a.m. USA-Russia B
7:10 a.m. Slovakia-Slovenia B
10:10 p.m. Germany-Norway C
Sunday, Feb. 18 2:40 a.m. Czech Republic-Switzerland A
7:10 a.m. Canada-South Korea A
7:10 a.m. Sweden-Finland C
Monday, Feb. 19 10:10 p.m. TBD-TBD Playoff
Tuesday, Feb. 20 2:40 a.m. TBD-TBD Playoff
7:10 a.m. TBD-TBD Playoff
7:10 a.m. TBD-TBD Playoff
10:10 p.m. TBD-TBD Quarterfinal
Wednesday, Feb. 21 2:40 a.m. TBD-TBD Quarterfinal
7:10 a.m. TBD-TBD Quarterfinal
7:10 a.m. TBD-TBD Quarterfinal
Friday, Feb. 23 2:40 a.m. TBD-TBD Semifinal
7:10 a.m. TBD-TBD Semifinal
Saturday, Feb. 24 7:10 a.m. TBD-TBD Bronze-Medal Game
11:10 p.m. TBD-TBD Gold-Medal Game

Women’s Schedule

Day Time (ET) Matchup Group
Saturday, Feb. 10 2:40 a.m. Sweden-Japan B
7:10 a.m. Switzerland-South Korea B
Sunday, Feb. 11 2:40 a.m. USA-Finland A
7:10 a.m. Canada-Russia A
Monday, Feb. 12 2:40 a.m. Switzerland-Japan B
7:10 a.m. Sweden-South Korea B
Tuesday, Feb. 13 2:40 a.m. Canada-Finland A
7:10 a.m. USA-Russia A
Wednesday, Feb. 14 2:40 a.m. Sweden-Switzerland B
7:10 a.m. Japan-South Korea B
Thursday, Feb. 15 2:40 a.m. USA-Canada A
7:10 a.m. Finland-Russia A
Friday, Feb. 16 10:10 p.m. TBD-TBD Quarterfinal
Saturday, Feb. 17 2:40 a.m. TBD-TBD Quarterfinal
10:10 p.m. TBD-TBD Consolation Playoff
Sunday, Feb. 18 2:40 a.m. TBD-TBD Consolation Playoff
11:10 p.m. TBD-TBD Semifinal
Monday, Feb. 19 7:10 a.m. TBD-TBD Semifinal
10:10 p.m. TBD-TBD Seventh-Place Game
Tuesday, Feb. 20 2:40 a.m. TBD-TBD Fifth-Place Game
Wednesday, Feb. 21 2:40 a.m. TBD-TBD Bronze-Medal Game
11:10 p.m. TBD-TBD Gold-Medal Game

Mark Spitz takes on Katie Ledecky’s challenge

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Swimmers around the world took on Katie Ledecky‘s milk-glass challenge since it became a social media sensation, including one of the few Americans with more Olympic gold medals.

Mark Spitz, who won seven golds at the 1972 Munich Games, took 10 strokes in an at-home pool while perfectly balancing a glass of what appeared to be water on his head.

“Would’ve been faster with the ‘stache, @markspitzusa, but I still give this 7 out of 7 gold medals,” Ledecky tweeted.

Spitz joined fellow Olympic champions Susie O’Neill of Australia and American Matt Grevers in posting similar videos to what Ledecky first shared Monday.

In Tokyo next year, Ledecky can pass Spitz’s career gold-medal count of nine if she wins all of her expected events — 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles and the 4x200m free relay.

Then she would trail one athlete from any country in any sport — Michael Phelps, the 23-time gold medalist who has yet to post video of swimming while balancing a glass on his head.

MORE: Spitz puts Michael Phelps’ career in perspective

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Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis eyeing Grand Slam record

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Serena Williams travels with “like 50 masks” and has been a little bit of a recluse since early March and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t have full lung capacity, so I’m not sure what would happen to me,” Williams said Saturday, two days before the start of the WTA’s Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., her first tournament since playing Fed Cup in early February. “I’m sure I’ll be OK, but I don’t want to find out.”

Williams, 38, has a history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. She faced life-threatening complications following her Sept. 1, 2017, childbirth that confined her to a bed for six weeks. She said her daily routine was surgery and that she lost count after the first four.

More recently, Williams enjoyed “every part” of the last six months at home in Florida, her longest time grounded since her teens.

“I’ve been a little neurotic, to an extent,” on health and safety, she said. “Everyone in the Serena bubble is really protected.”

Williams is entered to play next week in Lexington and at consecutive tournaments in New York City later this month — the Western & Southern Open and U.S. Open, the latter starting Aug. 31.

Williams is the highest-ranked player in the Lexington field at No. 9. Others include 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, older sister Venus Williams and 16-year-old Coco Gauff.

She has been bidding ever since having daughter Olympia to tie Margaret Court‘s record 24 Grand Slam singles titles, albeit many of Court’s crowns came before the Open Era and, notably at the Australian Open, against small fields lacking the world’s best players. Williams reached the last two Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals, losing all of them.

She showed her seriousness in committing early to this year’s U.S. Open by installing a court at home with the same surface. Three of the top 10 female singles players already said they will skip the U.S. Open due to travel and/or virus concerns, including No. 1 Ash Barty.

“Tennis is naturally a socially distanced sport, so it was kind of easy to go back and just walk on my side of the court and have my hitter walk on his side of the court,” Williams said.

The French Open starts two weeks after the U.S. Open ends. Williams was asked if she will fly to Europe for tournaments this autumn.

“I see myself doing it all, if it happens,” she said.

The Tokyo Olympics are too far away to make plans.

“We’ll have to kind of wait to see what happens in the fall,” she said. “One thing I have learned with this pandemic is don’t plan.”

MORE: Past U.S. Open champions get wild cards

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