PyeongChang Winter Olympics daily guide

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A daily guide to key PyeongChang Olympic events, set in the Eastern time zone. Some of the listed events will actually take place on the following day in South Korea, given the 14-hour time difference.

Wednesday, Feb. 7 — Day -2
Curling (7:05 p.m. ET): Olympic competition begins with the debut of mixed doubles. The first games are Thursday morning in South Korea, which is of course Wednesday evening in the U.S. The U.S. brother-sister team of Becca Hamilton and Matt Hamilton open against the Olympic Athletes from Russia.

Thursday, Feb. 8 — Day -1
Figure Skating (8 p.m. ET): The team event, which debuted in Sochi, begins with the men’s and pairs short programs. This could mark the Olympic debut of U.S. champion Nathan Chen, the 18-year-old quadruple jump king who is the world’s only undefeated male skater this season.

Friday, Feb. 9 — Opening Ceremony (6 a.m. ET)
The first Winter Games in South Korea will officially open at the open-air Olympic Stadium near the mountain cluster of venues at Alpensia Resort.

The favorite to be the final torch bearer has to be Yuna Kim, the beloved 2010 Olympic figure skating champion who retired after taking silver in Sochi. Kim is a PyeongChang 2018 ambassador and spoke on the bid’s behalf at the 2011 session where IOC members voted PyeongChang as the host over Munich and Annecy, France.

Saturday, Feb. 10 — Day 1
Short Track Speed Skating
 (5 a.m. ET): South Korea could earn its first medal of the Games in the men’s 1500m. Hwang Dae-Heon, 18, finished first or second in all four World Cup 1500m events this season. Also, Maame Biney, the first black woman on a U.S. Olympic short track team, debuts in qualifying for her primary event, the 500m.

Figure Skating (8 p.m. ET): The team event continues with the short dance, women’s short program and pairs free skate. The U.S. has three of the top six dance couples in the world to choose from. One of three U.S. women’s singles skaters — Bradie TennellMirai Nagasu and Karen Chen — will make her PyeongChang debut.

Snowboarding (8 p.m. ET): The first snowboard medals will be handed out in men’s slopestyle. There will be a new champion, and it likely will not be an American. Sochi gold medalist Sage Kotsenburg retired at age 23.

Alpine Skiing (9 p.m. ET): Men’s downhill. One of the most storied Olympic events. The top two U.S. downhillers the last few years — Travis Ganong and Steven Nyman — are out due to injuries, while Bode Miller retired in 2017. The favorites are from usual powers Austria, Norway and Switzerland.

Sunday, Feb. 11 — Day 2
Luge (6 a.m. ET): German Felix Loch could become the second luger to win three straight gold medals. The U.S. has two men in Chris Mazdzer and Tucker West who won World Cup races since Sochi, but it would be a surprise if either makes the podium. The U.S. has never earned an Olympic men’s singles medal.

Figure Skating (8 p.m. ET): The team event finishes with the men’s and women’s free skates and free dance. The medals should come down to Russia, Canada and the U.S., who made up the Sochi podium in that order.

Snowboarding (8 p.m. ET): Women’s slopestyle. American Jamie Anderson took gold in Sochi and at the X Games last month. It could be a U.S. medal sweep with first-time Olympians Julia Marino and Hailey Langland also among the contenders.

Alpine Skiing (8:15 p.m. ET): Women’s giant slalom. Mikaela Shiffrin makes her PyeongChang debut here, the first of potentially five individual events where she could earn a medal. Shiffrin is best at slalom, but she improved in giant slalom since finishing fifth in Sochi. She is the world silver medalist in the event. Lindsey Vonn may make her PyeongChang debut here, too.

Monday, Feb. 12 — Day 3
Speed Skating (7:30 a.m. ET): Women’s 1500m. Heather Bergsma could bag the U.S.’ first Olympic women’s speed skating medal since 2002. She is the world-record holder and world champion. Bergsma also entered Sochi as a medal favorite and came home with nothing as part of a desultory U.S. speed skating performance. She since married Dutch Olympic 10,000m champion Jorrit Bergsma and moved to the Netherlands.

Ski Jumping (7:50 a.m. ET): Women’s competition. The event debuted in Sochi with American Sarah Hendrickson as the first jumper. Hendrickson underwent another right knee surgery in 2015 but has returned to her place as the top American behind the medal favorites from Europe and Asia.

Snowboarding (8 p.m. ET): Women’s halfpipe. Chloe Kim, who would have competed in Sochi if she met the age minimum, is now eligible at 17 years old and the clear favorite. She could be joined on the podium by countrywomen Kelly Clark (2002 gold medalist), Maddie Mastro or Arielle Gold.

Tuesday, Feb. 13 — Day 4
Luge (5:30 a.m. ET): Women’s singles runs 3 and 4. Erin Hamlin became the first U.S. Olympic luge singles medalist with her bronze in Sochi. She followed that with silver at the 2017 World Championships, plus gold in the sprint (not an Olympic event). Another American, Summer Britcher, ranks third in the world this season behind the dominant Germans.

Alpine Skiing (8:15 p.m. ET): Women’s slalom. Mikaela Shiffrin became the youngest Olympic slalom champion in Sochi at age 18 and has continued to dominate with more world titles, making her one of the biggest favorites for gold in any event.

Snowboarding (8:30 p.m. ET): Men’s halfpipe. Eyes will be on Shaun White, the 2006 and 2010 Olympic champion who finished fourth in Sochi, as he tries to regain his title at age 31. Sochi Olympic gold and silver medalists Iouri Podladtchikov and Ayumu Hirano could again be his top rivals, along with Australian Scotty James.

Wednesday, Feb. 14 — Day 5
Speed Skating (5 a.m. ET)
: Women’s 1000m. Heather Bergsma is the reigning world champion. Countrywoman Brittany Bowe is the world-record holder, but she missed most of last season due to a concussion. The favorite may be Japanese Nao Kodaira, though.

Hockey (7:10 a.m. ET): U.S. men vs. Slovenia. The Americans open Olympic play in the exact same group as four years ago with Slovenia, Slovakia and Russia. With no NHL players, though, the roster is completely new.

Figure Skating (8:30 p.m. ET): Pairs free skate. A Soviet or Russian pair prevailed at 13 of the last 14 Olympics, but Canadian and Chinese pairs took the last three world championships. Sochi gold medalists Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov are not competing this season.

Thursday, Feb. 15 — Day 6
Skeleton (7:30 p.m. ET): Men’s runs 3 and 4. Yun Sung-Bin, known for competing in an Ironman-themed helmet, is likely to earn South Korea’s first non-skating Olympic medal here. It could be gold if he can outduel 2010 and 2014 silver medalist Martins Dukurs of Latvia.

Figure Skating (8 p.m. ET): Men’s short program. Three men who combined to win every Olympic and world title since 2011 are part of this field — Canadian Patrick Chan, Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu and Spain’s Javier Fernandez. But American Nathan Chen is the world’s only undefeated male singles skater this season.

Snowboarding (8 p.m. ET): Women’s snowboard cross. Lindsey Jacobellis is one of the greatest winter sports athletes of all time without an Olympic gold medal — winning her last 11 combined X Games and world championships starts since 2007. She memorably gave up 2006 Olympic gold with a trick move on the last jump and crashed out of the 2010 and 2014 Olympic semifinals.

Friday, Feb. 16 — Day 7
Freestyle Skiing (6 a.m. ET): Women’s aerials. The U.S. last took Olympic aerials gold in 1998 but has two threats this year with reigning world champion Ashley Caldwell and 2015 World Cup season champion Kiley McKinnon.

Figure Skating (8 p.m. ET): Men’s free skate. Will Chen become the youngest Olympic male singles champion since Dick Button in 1948? Or will Hanyu become the first man to repeat as Olympic champion since Button in 1952? Japan’s Shoma Uno, China’s Jin Boyang and Spaniard Javier Fernandez may also be in the gold-medal conversation.

Alpine Skiing (9 p.m. ET): Women’s super-G. This could be the event where Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin both go for medals. Vonn took super-G bronze at the 2010 Olympics and 2015 World Championships. Shiffrin is getting familiar with the speed discipline, with finishes of fourth, fifth and seventh the last two seasons.

Saturday, Feb. 17 — Day 8
Short Track Speed Skating (7:11 a.m. ET)
: Women’s 1500m, men’s 1000m finals. South Korea could win both golds. Seo Yi-Ra is the reigning men’s 1000m world champion. Choi Min-Jeong and Shim-Suk Hee ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in the women’s 1500m this season.

Alpine Skiing (8:15 p.m. ET): Men’s giant slalom. American Ted Ligety — Mr. GS — is the reigning Olympic champion who on Jan. 28 made his first podium in two years after a series of injuries. Austrian Marcel Hirscher — the world’s best Alpine skier seven years running — is favored to take his first Olympic title.

Freestyle Skiing (11:15 p.m. ET): Men’s slopestyle. In Sochi, the U.S. notched its third-ever Winter Olympic podium sweep by dominating this event in its Olympic debut. Gold medalist Joss Christensen did not make the PyeongChang team in a comeback from a torn ACL, but silver medalist Gus Kenworthy and bronze medalist Nick Goepper are back and among the podium contenders.

Sunday, Feb. 18 — Day 9
Speed Skating (6:56 a.m. ET): Women’s 500m. Lee Sang-Hwa is one of South Korea’s biggest Olympic stars, having won this title at the last two Winter Games, but the Lego collector hasn’t won a World Cup race in two years. She finished second to Japanese favorite Nao Kodaira seven times in that span.

Figure Skating (8 p.m. ET): Short dance. The U.S. has three of the top six couples in the world, even with the absence of Sochi gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who haven’t competed since the last Winter Games. Siblings Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani and Madison Chock and Evan Bates made a combined five world championships podiums, but the new national champs are Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue.

Monday, Feb. 19 — Day 10
Figure Skating (8 p.m. ET): Free dance. The U.S. should earn at least one ice dance medal for a fourth straight Olympics, but the favorites are two-time world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France and 2010 Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada.

Freestyle Skiing (8:30 p.m. ET): Women’s halfpipe. American Maddie Bowman took the first Olympic gold in this event in Sochi, then had knee surgeries in back-to-back years before returning to the top of the X Games podium last month.

Tuesday, Feb. 20 — Day 11
Figure Skating (8 p.m. ET)
: Women’s short program. The prize event of the Winter Games. National champion Bradie Tennell, 2010 Olympian Mirai Nagasu and Karen Chen (fourth at 2017 Worlds) represent the U.S., which last earned a medal in 2006 (Sasha Cohen‘s silver) and isn’t likely to make the podium in PyeongChang.

Alpine Skiing (9 p.m. ET): Women’s downhill. This is Lindsey Vonn‘s baby. She won it at the 2010 Olympics but wasn’t able to defend her title in Sochi due to knee injuries. She captured the last three World Cup downhills heading into PyeongChang.

Wednesday, Feb. 21 — Day 12
Cross-Country Skiing (3 a.m. ET)
: Women’s team sprint. Perhaps the best chance for the first U.S. Olympic women’s cross-country medal (and second-ever for either gender after Bill Koch‘s silver in 1976). Jessie Diggins and Sadie Bjornsen took bronze at the 2017 Worlds, while Diggins and Kikkan Randall won in 2013.

Bobsled (6:40 a.m. ET): Women’s runs 3 and 4. Training partners Kaillie Humphries of Canada and Elana Meyers Taylor have called their rivalry a “battle royale.” The tattooed Humphries came from behind to nip Meyers Taylor for the Sochi Olympic crown, but Meyers Taylor is the world champion. Another American, Jamie Greubel Poser, won the 2016-17 World Cup season title.

Freestyle Skiing (9:30 p.m. ET): Men’s halfpipe. Sochi gold medalist David Wise went nearly two years between wins until two months ago. Fellow Sochi Olympian Torin Yater-Wallace endured a collapsed lung, two broken ribs, a concussion and being placed on life support in separate setbacks the last four years but still made it back to the Games.

Hockey (11:10 p.m. ET): Women’s final. The U.S. and Canada met in four of five Olympic finals thus far, and it would be a shock if they aren’t playing for gold again. After a heartbreaking overtime loss in Sochi, the U.S. beat Canada in the last three world championship finals.

Thursday, Feb. 22 — Day 13
Snowboarding (7:30 p.m. ET): Women’s big air final. The first Olympic medals in this new event will be handed out, and it could be a U.S. sweep. Olympic rookies Hailey Langland and Julia Marino and Sochi slopestyle gold medalist Jamie Anderson made the X Games podium between the last two years.

Figure Skating (8 p.m. ET): Women’s free skate. The gold medal should come down to Russian training partners Yevgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova. Medvedeva went more than two years undefeated before the world junior champ Zagitova beat her at last month’s European Championships. Medvedeva returned from a broken foot at that event.

Alpine Skiing (9 p.m. ET): The super combined is likely the last race for Shiffrin at these Games and for Vonn’s Olympic career. Both are podium threats. Shiffrin won her only combined start last season. Vonn was fifth at 2017 Worlds and fourth in the lone World Cup combined this season. Watch out for Swiss Wendy Holdener.

Friday, Feb. 23 — Day 14
Speed Skating (5 a.m. ET): Men’s 1000m. This should be the final Olympic race of Shani Davis‘ decorated career. He won the 1000m in 2006 and 2010 and then finished eighth as part of a disastrous U.S. speed skating showing in Sochi. Davis, a 35-year-old fighting Father Time, captured the 2015 World title but hasn’t won a World Cup 1000m since March 2014.

Alpine Skiing (9 p.m. ET): Team event. Making its Olympic debut but part of the world championships program since 2005. Sixteen countries with four skiers each (two men, two women) compete in head-to-head slalom racing with nations advancing in a bracket system. Shiffrin is expected to sit this one out after an exhausting individual-race schedule.

Saturday, Feb. 24 — Day 15
Cross-Country Skiing (12 a.m. ET): Men’s 50km mass start. The marathon of the Winter Olympics takes about two hours to complete. Russia swept the podium in Sochi, but the gold and silver medalists were in November banned for life from the Olympics as part of the Russia doping scandal punishments. The bronze medalist was not named to Russia’s Olympic team.

Bobsled (7:30 p.m. ET): Four-man runs 3 and 4. Athletes will surely be sliding in memory of the late Steven Holcomb, who in 2010 drove the U.S. to its first four-man gold in 62 years. Holcomb followed that with bronze medals in two- and four-man in Sochi while injured. He was found dead in his Olympic training center room in Lake Placid, N.Y., on May 6.

Hockey (11:10 p.m. ET): Men’s final. Canada won the last two titles, but with no NHL players in PyeongChang, it is not the favorite. Russia is, boosted by an entire roster of players from the KHL, the world’s second-best league. Russia has not won Olympic hockey gold since it began competing on its own in 1994.

Sunday, Feb. 25 — Day 16
Closing Ceremony (7 a.m. ET): The Olympic flame is extinguished in what should be a festive celebration. The focus turns to the Paralympics, which open March 9, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

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Olympic Schedules: Alpine Skiing | Biathlon | Bobsled | Cross-Country Skiing | Curling | Figure Skating | Freestyle Skiing | Hockey | Luge | Nordic Combined | Short Track Speed Skating | Skeleton | Ski Jumping | Snowboarding | Speed Skating

Ilia Malinin eyed new heights at figure skating worlds, but a jump to gold requires more

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At 18 years old, Ilia Malinin already has reached immortality in figure skating for technical achievement, being the first to land a quadruple Axel jump in competition.

The self-styled “Quadg0d” already has shown the chutzpah (or hubris?) to go for the most technically difficult free skate program ever attempted at the world championships, including that quad Axel, the hardest jump anyone has tried.

It helped bring U.S. champion Malinin the world bronze medal Saturday in Saitama, Japan, where he made more history as the first to land the quad Axel at worlds.

But it already had him thinking that the way to reach the tops of both the worlds and Olympus might be to acknowledge his mortal limits.

Yes, if Malinin (288.44 points) had cleanly landed all six quads he did instead of going clean on just three of the six, it would have closed or even overcome the gap between him and repeat champion Shoma Uno of Japan (301.14) and surprise silver medalist Cha Jun-Hwan (296.03), the first South Korean man to win a world medal.

That’s a big if, as no one ever has done six clean quads in a free skate.

And the energy needed for those quads, physical and mental, hurts Malinin’s chances of closing another big gap with the world leaders: the difference in their “artistic” marks, known as component scores.

Malinin’s technical scores led the field in both the short program and free skate. But his component scores were lower than at last year’s worlds, when he finished ninth, and they ranked 10th in the short program and 11th in the free this time. Uno had an 18.44-point overall advantage over Malinin in PCS, Cha a 13.47 advantage.

FIGURE SKATING WORLDS: Chock, Bates, and a long road to gold | Results

As usual in figure skating, some of the PCS difference owes to the idea of paying your dues. After all, at his first world championships, eventual Olympic champion Nathan Chen had PCS scores only slightly better than Malinin’s, and Chen’s numbers improved substantially by the next season.

But credit Malinin for quickly grasping the reality that his current skating has a lot of rough edges on the performance side.

“I’ve noticed that it’s really hard to go for a lot of risks,” he said in answer to a press conference question about what he had learned from this competition. “Sometimes going for the risks you get really good rewards, but I think that maybe sometimes it’s OK to lower the risks and go for a lot cleaner skate. I think it will be beneficial next season to lower the standards a bit.”

So could it be “been-there, done-that” with the quad Axel? (and the talk of quints and quad-quad combinations?)

Saturday’s was his fourth clean quad Axel in seven attempts this season, but it got substantially the lowest grade of execution (0.36) of the four with positive marks. It was his opening jump in the four-minute free, and, after a stopped-in-your tracks landing, his next two quads, flip and Lutz, were both badly flawed.

And there were still some three minutes to go.

Malinin did not directly answer about letting the quad Axel go now that he has definitively proved he can do it. What he did say could be seen as hinting at it.

“With the whole components factor … it’s probably because you know, after doing a lot of these jumps, (which) are difficult jumps, it’s really hard to try to perform for the audience,” he said.

“Even though some people might enjoy jumping, and it’s one of the things I enjoy, but I also like to perform to the audience. So I think next season, I would really want to focus on this performing side.”

Chen had told me essentially the same thing for a 2017 Ice Network story (reposted last year by NBCOlympics.com) about his several years of ballet training. He regretted not being able to show that training more because of the program-consuming athletic demands that come with being an elite figure skater.

“When I watch my skating when I was younger, I definitely see all this balletic movement and this artistry come through,” Chen said then. “When I watch my artistry now, it’s like, ‘Yes, it’s still there,’ but at the same time, I’m so focused on the jumps, it takes away from it.”

The artistry can still be developed and displayed, as Chen showed and as prolific and proficient quad jumpers like Uno and the now retired two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan have proved.

For another perspective on how hard it is to combine both, look at the difficulty it posed for the consummate performer, Jason Brown, who had the highest PCS scores while finishing a strong fifth (280.84).

Since Brown dropped his Sisyphean attempts to do a clean quad after 26 tries (20 in a free skate), the last at the 2022 U.S. Championships, he has received the two highest international free skate scores of his career, at the 2022 Olympics and this world meet.

It meant Brown’s coming to terms with his limitations and the fact that in the sport’s current iteration, his lack of quads gives him little chance of winning a global championship medal. What he did instead was give people the chance to see the beauty of his blade work, his striking movement, his expressiveness.

He has, at 28, become an audience favorite more than ever. And the judges Saturday gave Brown six maximum PCS scores (10.0.)

“I’m so happy about today’s performance,” Brown told media in the mixed zone. “I did my best to go out there and skate my skate. And that’s what I did.”

The quadg0d is realizing that he, too, must accept limitations if he wants to achieve his goals. Ilia Malinin can’t simply jump his way onto the highest steps of the most prized podiums.

Philip Hersh, who has covered figure skating at the last 12 Winter Olympics, is a special contributor to NBCSports.com.

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Shoma Uno repeats as world figure skating champion; Ilia Malinin tries 6 quads for bronze

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Japan’s Shoma Uno repeated as world figure skating champion, performing the total package of jumps and artistry immediately after 18-year-old American Ilia Malinin attempted a record-tying six quadruple jumps in his free skate to earn the bronze medal.

Uno, 25 and the leader after Thursday’s short program, prevailed with five quad attempts (one under-rotated) in Saturday’s free skate.

He finished, fell backward and lay on home ice in Saitama, soaking in a standing ovation amid a sea of Japanese flags. Japan won three of the four gold medals this week, and Uno capped it off with guts coming off a reported ankle injury.

He is the face of Japanese men’s skating after two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu retired in July and Olympic silver medalist Yuma Kagiyama missed most of this season with leg and ankle injuries.

“There were many shaky jumps today, but I’m happy I was able to get a good result despite not being in a good condition these past two weeks,” Uno said, according to the International Skating Union (ISU). “I know I caused a lot of concerns to everyone around me, but I was able to pay them back and show my gratitude with my performance today.”

Silver medalist Cha Jun-Hwan became the first South Korean man to win a world championships medal. Cha, a 21-year-old who was fifth at the Olympics, had to change out broken skate boots before traveling to Japan, one year after withdrawing from worlds after a 17th-place short program, citing a broken skate boot.

FIGURE SKATING WORLDS: Results

Malinin, ninth in his senior worlds debut last year, planned the most difficult program of jumps in figure skating history — six quads, including a quad Axel. Malinin is the only person to land a quad Axel in competition and did so again Saturday. He still finished 12.7 points behind Uno and 7.59 behind Cha.

Malinin had the top technical score (jumps, spins, step sequences) in both programs, despite an under-rotation and two other negatively graded jumps among his seven jumping passes in the free skate.

His nemesis was the artistic score, placing 10th and 11th in that category in the two programs (18.44 points behind Uno). Unsurprising for the only teen in the top 13, who is still working on that facet of his skating, much like a young Nathan Chen several years ago.

“After doing a lot of these jumps — hard, difficult jumps — it’s really hard to try to perform for the audience,” said Malinin, who entered worlds ranked second in the field by best score this season behind Uno.

Chen, who is unlikely to compete again after winning last year’s Olympics, remains the lone skater to land six fully rotated quads in one program (though not all clean). Malinin became the youngest U.S. male singles skater to win a world medal since Scott Allen in 1965. He was proud of his performance, upping the ante after previously trying five quads in free skates this season, but afterward weighed whether the risk was worth it.

“Sometimes going for the risk, you get really good rewards, but I think that maybe sometimes it’s OK to lower the risks and try not to take as much risk and go for a lot cleaner skate,” he said. “I think that’ll be beneficial to do next season is to lower the standards a bit.”

Malinin was followed by Frenchman Kévin Aymoz, who before the pandemic was the world’s third-ranked skater behind Chen and Yuzuru Hanyu, then placed ninth, 11th and 12th at the last three global championships.

Jason Brown, a two-time U.S. Olympian, was fifth in his first international competition since last year’s Olympics. He was the lone man in the top 15 to not attempt a quad, a testament to his incredible artistic skills for which he received the most points between the two programs.

“I didn’t think at the beginning of the year that I even would be competing this year, so I’m really touched to be here,” the 28-year-old said, according to the ISU. “I still want to keep going [competing] a little longer, but we’ll see. I won’t do promises.”

Earlier Saturday, Madison Chock and Evan Bates became the oldest couple to win an ice dance world title and the second set of Americans to do so. More on that here.

World championships highlights air Saturday from 8-10 p.m. ET on NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app.

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