Winter Olympics late night: What to watch/stream

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It looks like the Olympics are getting into more serious territory, with four medal events being covered tonight as well as the last games in the round robin phase of the curling tournament.

Among those competing for a medal tonight are the Finnish women’s hockey team, who were decimated by the Americans in the semifinals. They take on OAR in the bronze medal game.

Elsewhere, the American men and women have one more game to sneak into the curling knockout rounds.

Continue reading below for full coverage of tonight’s events on NBCOlympics.com.


Curling

The round robin phase finally wraps up tonight, and there’ still work to be done for a handful of teams. For the men:

Men’s Tournament

USA vs. GBR Stream Live Here 12:05a.m. EST / 9:05p.m. PST

DEN vs. CAN Stream Live Here 12:05a.m. EST / 9:05p.m. PST

SWE vs. NOR Stream Live Here 12:05a.m. EST / 9:05p.m. PST

KOR vs. JPN Stream Live Here 12:05a.m. EST / 9:05p.m. PST

Women’s Tournament

SWE vs. USA Stream Live Here 6:05a.m. EST / 3:05a.m. PST

SUI vs. JPN Stream Live Here 6:05a.m. EST / 3:05a.m. PST

OAR vs. CAN Stream Live Here 6:05a.m. EST / 3:05a.m. PST

KOR vs. DEN Stream Live Here 6:05a.m. EST / 3:05a.m. PST

Hockey

Both of these teams were just minor obstacles for Canada and United States, but both performed well to get to the bronze medal game.

The fact that all four teams from the semifinals were all in Group A is a testament to just how tough that group really was. Aside from their losses against Canada and the USA, Finland have outscored opponents 12-3. They also took the first game against OAR 5-1.

Women’s Tournament

Bronze medal game: FIN vs. OAR Stream Live Here 2:40a.m. EST / 11:40p.m. PST

Cross-Country

Is there any doubting the Norwegians at this point? Johannes Klaebo clinched the gold for the men during the 4x10km relay, making it seem easy along the way. Not to mention, the man is a natural sprinter in cross-country and his presence will be a huge lift for the Norwegians.

On the women’s side, Norway will have some competition with Sweden as Charlotte Kalla and Stina Nilsson can both put up impressive times. The Americans have an outside chance at a minor medal, having a very respectable performance in the women’s individual sprints.

Men’s and Women’s Team Sprints Stream Live Here 3:00a.m. EST / 12:00a.m. PST

Speed Skating

The U.S. face a tall task ahead of them when they challenge Netherlands in the women’s team pursuit semifinals. Led by Heather Bergsma, the USA started out very strongly but ended up sliding into fourth place. A bronze medal is a more realistic expectation for this group.

Men’s and Women’s Team Pursuit Finals Stream Live Here 6:00a.m. EST / 3:00a.m. PST

Bobsled

Women’s bobsled concludes in the early hours on Wednesday with a battle between Germany and USA for the medals. Germany hold the gold and silver medal positions, while the USA holds the silver and fourth. Elana Meyers Taylor and Lauren Gibbs set the start record on their second run, but a sluggish middle section pushed them into second place. Only .07 seconds separate them from the German team with two runs remaining.

Nigeria and Jamaica will also be making their final two runs tonight.

Women’s Runs 3-4 Stream Live Here 6:40a.m. EST / 3:40a.m. PST

Figure Skating

The Olympic Ice crew recap the ladies’ short program.

Olympic Ice Post Show Stream Live Here 12:05a.m. EST / 9:05p.m. PST

John McFall, Paralympic medalist, becomes first parastronaut in Europe

John McFall
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The European Space Agency made history Wednesday by selecting an amputee who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident to be among its newest batch of astronauts — a leap toward its pioneering ambition to send someone with a physical disability into space.

John McFall, a 41-year-old Briton who lost his right leg when he was 19 and later won a Paralympic 100m bronze medal in 2008, called his selection at Europe’s answer to NASA “a real turning point and mark in history.”

“ESA has a commitment to send an astronaut with a physical disability into space … This is the first time that a space agency has endeavored to embark on a project like this. And it sends a really, really strong message to humanity,” he said.

The newly-minted parastronaut joins five career astronauts in the final selection unveiled during a Paris news conference — the conclusion of the agency’s first recruitment drive in over a decade aimed at bringing diversity to space travel.

McFall will follow a different path than his fellow astronauts because he will participate in a groundbreaking feasibility study exploring whether physical disability will impair space travel. It’s uncharted land, since no major Western space agency has ever put a parastronaut into space, according to the ESA.

Speaking with pride amid flashes of emotion, McFall said that he was uniquely suited to the mission because of the vigor of his mind and body.

“I’m very comfortable in my own skin. I lost my leg about twenty plus years ago, I’ve had the opportunity to be a Paralympic athlete and really explored myself emotionally … All those factors and hardships in life have given me confidence and strength — the ability to believe in myself that I can do anything I put my mind to,” he added.

“I never dreamt of being an astronaut. It was only when ESA announced that they were looking for a candidate with a physical disability to embark on this project that it really sparked my interest.”

The feasibility study, that will last two to three years, will examine the basic hurdles for a parastronaut including how a physical disability might impact mission training, and if modifications to spacesuits and aircraft are required, for example.

ESA’s Director of Human and Robotic Exploration David Parker said it was still a “long road” for McFall but described the fresh recruitment as a long-held ambition.

Parker said it started with a question. “Maybe there are people out there that are almost superhuman in that they’ve already overcome challenges. And could they become astronauts?”

Parker also says that he “thinks” it may be the first time the word “parastronaut” has been used, but “I do not claim ownership.”

“We’re saying that John (McFall) could be the first parastronaut, that means someone who has been selected by the regular astronaut selection process but happens to have a disability that would normally have ruled him out,” he said.

It will be at least five years before McFall goes into space as an astronaut — if he is successful.

Across the Atlantic, Houston is taking note. Dan Huot, a spokesman for NASA’s Johnson Space Center, home to the American agency’s astronaut corps, told the AP that “we at NASA are watching ESA’s para-astronaut selection process with great interest.”

Huot acknowledged that “NASA’s selection criteria currently remains the same” but said the agency is looking forward to working with the “new astronauts in the future” from partners such as the ESA.

NASA stressed that it has a safety-conscious process for vetting future astronauts who might be put in life-threatening situations.

“For maximum crew safety, NASA’s current requirements call for each crew member to be free of medical conditions that could either impair the person’s ability to participate in, or be aggravated by, spaceflight, as determined by NASA physicians,” Huot added.

NASA said future “assistive technology” might change the game for “some candidates” to meet their stringent safety requirements.

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Ilia Malinin in familiar position after Grand Prix Finland short program

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Ilia Malinin landed a quadruple Axel in his free skate to win his first two competitions this season. Less known was that the 17-year-old American had to come from behind to win each time.

An at least slightly injured Malinin looks up in the standings again after the short program of his third event, Grand Prix Finland. Malinin had erred landings on two of his three jumping passes in Friday’s short, where quad Axels are not allowed, then said he had a left foot problem, according to the International Skating Union.

“I’m a little bit injured, I’m playing it safe, protect it to make sure the injury doesn’t get worse,” he said, according to the ISU.

He tallied 85.57 points for second place, which is 3.39 fewer than leader Kevin Aymoz of France going into Saturday’s free skate.

Malinin, the world junior champion ranked No. 1 in the world in his first full senior season, merely needs to finish fourth or better (perhaps even fifth) to qualify for December’s Grand Prix Final, which pits the top six per discipline in the world in a preview of March’s world championships.

Grand Prix Finland concludes with all of the free skates on Saturday.

GRAND PRIX FINLAND: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Earlier Friday, world silver medalist Loena Hendrickx of Belgium led the women’s short with 74.88 points, edging Mai Mihara of Japan by 1.3. Hendrickx and Mihara are in position to qualify for the Grand Prix Final. World champion Kaori Sakamoto of Japan, South Korea’s Yelim Kim and American Isabeau Levito already have spots in the Final.

The world’s top ice dance couple this season, Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, improved on their world-leading rhythm dance score by tallying 87.80 points. They lead Americans Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker by 6.87, with both couples in position to qualify for the Grand Prix Final.

Italians Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini topped the pairs’ short program by 4.3 points over Americans Anastasiia Smirnova and Danil Siianytsia. The Italians rank fourth in the world this season behind three teams that aren’t in the Finland field but will be at the Grand Prix Final, including world champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier of the U.S.

Smirnova and Silanytsia are competing in their lone Grand Prix this season after withdrawing before Skate America, making them ineligible for Grand Prix Final qualification. Their short program score ranks fourth among American pairs this season, putting them in contention for one of three spots on the team for worlds, to be decided after January’s national championships.

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