Winter Olympics: What to watch/stream

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The XXIII Olympiad officially opens in PyeongChang. For those who missed the live stream on NBCOlympics.com in the morning’s early hours, NBC will be airing its primetime coverage of the Opening Ceremony tonight. The Opening Ceremony will be aired on 8:00p.m. EST / 5:00p.m. PST, anchored by co-hosts Mike Tirico and Katie Couric.

Erin Hamlin will be leading the Team USA contingent, it was announced on Wednesday. Hamlin became the first U.S. Olympian to win an Olympic singles luge medal, claiming the bronze in the 2014 Sochi Games. The United States has sent 244 athletes to PyeongChang, its largest-ever contingent for the Olympics.

North and South Korea will be marching together under one flag. Missing from this flag will be the South Korean Taeguk (the iconic red and blue sphere in the middle), and North Korea’s red, white and blue. Instead, a blue silhouette of the Korean peninsula will be displayed on a white background.

Opening Ceremony

In addition to its live television coverage, NBC will be airing its primetime show on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC  Sports app. Online and app coverage will also feature trivia about the countries and athletes, as well as real-time fact cards as the Ceremony unfolds.

Stream Here 8:00p.m. EST / 5:00p.m. PST

Snowboarding

In addition to the Opening Ceremony, the snowboarding competition will be kicking off as the men’s slopestyle qualifying rounds begin. Canada’s Max Parrot and Mark McMorris will be two of the biggest stars to watch. The multiple-times X Games medalists are entering the slopestyle with exceptionally high standards. Parrot will be hoping to improve upon his fifth place finish in Sochi to land on the podium, while McMorris will be looking to trade his 2014 bronze medal in for a 2018 gold.

Live Stream Here 8:00p.m. EST / 5:00p.m. PST

Curling

After a comfortable victory over Team OAR in the opening round, Matt and Becca Hamilton have been struggling in the mixed doubles competition. The sibling duo have dropped three straight draws since that opening victory, including a humbling 1-9 defeat versus South Korea. The Hamiltons have a chance to end their skid as they take on fellow strugglers China.

CHN vs. USA Live Stream Here 7:05p.m. EST / 4:05p.m. PST

NOR vs. FIN Live Stream Here 7:05p.m. EST / 4:05p.m. PST

CAN vs. SUI Live Stream Here 7:05p.m. EST / PST

KOR vs. OAR Live Stream Here  7:05p.m. EST / PST

Alpine Skiing

The men’s downhill training sessions continue before the competition officially starts on Sunday, Feb. 11.

Live Stream Here 9:00p.m. EST / 6:00p.m. PST

Kenenisa Bekele still eyes Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon world record, but a duel must wait

Kenenisa Bekele
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LONDON — Kenenisa Bekele made headlines last week by declaring “of course I am the best” long distance runner ever. But the Ethiopian was fifth-best at Sunday’s London Marathon, finishing 74 seconds behind Kenya’s Amos Kipruto.

Bekele, 40, clocked 2:05:53, the fastest-ever marathon by a runner 40 years or older. He was with the lead pack until being dropped in the 21st mile.

But Bekele estimated he could have run 90 to 120 seconds faster had he not missed parts of six weeks of training with hip and joint injuries.

“I expect better even if the preparation is short,” he said. “I know my talent and I know my capacity, but really I couldn’t achieve what I expect.”

Bekele is the second-fastest marathoner in history behind Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, who broke his own world record by clocking 2:01:09 at the Berlin Marathon last week.

“I am happy when I see Eliud Kipchoge run that time,” Bekele said. “It motivates all athletes who really expect to do the same thing.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Bekele’s best time was within two seconds of Kipchoge’s previous world record (2:01:39). He described breaking Kipchoge’s new mark as the “main goal” for the rest of his career.

“Yes, I hope, one day it will happen, of course,” Bekele said. “With good preparation, I don’t know when, but we will see one more time.”

Nobody has won more London Marathons than Kipchoge, a four-time champion who set the course record (2:02:37) in 2019. But the two-time Olympic marathon champion did not run this year in London, as elite marathoners typically choose to enter one race each spring and fall.

Bekele does not know which race he will enter in the spring. But it will not be against Kipchoge.

“I need to show something first,” Bekele said. “I need to run a fast time. I have to check myself. This is not enough.”

Kipchoge will try to become the first runner to win three Olympic marathon titles at the Paris Games. Bekele, who will be 42 in 2024, has not committed to trying to qualify for the Ethiopian team.

“There’s a long time to go before Paris,” Bekele said. “At this moment I am not decided. I have to show something.”

So who is the greatest long distance runner ever?

Bekele can make a strong case on the track:

Bekele
Four Olympic medals (three gold)
Six World Championship medals (five gold)
Former 5000m and 10,000m world-record holder

Kipchoge
Two Olympic medals
Two World Championship medals (one gold)

But Kipchoge can make a strong case on the pavement:

Bekele
Second-fastest marathoner in history
Two World Marathon Major victories

Kipchoge
Four of the five best marathon times in history
Two-time Olympic marathon champion
12 World Marathon Major victories

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Yalemzerf Yehualaw, Amos Kipruto win London Marathon

Yalemzerf Yehualaw
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Ethiopian Yalemzerf Yehualaw became the youngest female runner to win the London Marathon, while Kenyan Amos Kipruto earned the biggest victory of his career in the men’s race.

Yehualaw, 23, clocked 2:17:26, prevailing by 41 seconds over 2021 London champ Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya.

Yehualaw tripped and fell over a speed bump around the 20-mile mark. She quickly rejoined the lead pack, then pulled away from Jepkosgei by running the 24th mile in a reported 4:43, which converts to 2:03:30 marathon pace; the women’s world record is 2:14:04.

Yehualaw and Jepkosgei were pre-race favorites after world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya withdrew Monday with a right hamstring injury.

On April 24, Yehualaw ran the fastest women’s debut marathon in history, a 2:17:23 to win in Hamburg, Germany.

She has joined the elite tier of female marathoners, a group led by Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir, the reigning Olympic, New York City and Boston champion. Another Ethiopian staked a claim last week when Tigist Assefa won Berlin in 2:15:37, shattering Yehualaw’s national record.

Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, finished Sunday’s race in 3:20:20 at age 65.

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Kipruto, 30, won the men’s race in 2:04:39. He broke free from the leading group in the 25th mile and crossed the finish line 33 seconds ahead of Ethiopian Leul Gebresilase, who said he had hamstring problems.

Kipruto, one of the pre-race favorites, had never won a major marathon but did finish second behind world record holder Eliud Kipchoge in Tokyo (2022) and Berlin (2018) and third at the world championships (2019) and Tokyo (2018).

Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest marathoner in history, was fifth after being dropped in the 21st mile. His 2:05:53 was the fastest-ever marathon by a runner 40 years or older. Bekele ran his personal best at the 2019 Berlin Marathon — 2:01:41 — and has not run within four minutes of that time since.

The major marathon season continues next Sunday with the Chicago Marathon, headlined by a women’s field that includes Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich and American Emily Sisson.

London returns next year to its traditional April place after being pushed to October the last three years due to the pandemic.

MORE: Bekele looks ahead to Kipchoge chase after London Marathon

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