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What to watch this week in Olympic sports: Shiffrin’s season finale

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Mikalea Shiffrin’s incredible 2018-19 season will come to a close this week at the World Cup Finals in Soldeu, Andorra, where Shiffrin is expected to ski for two more crystal globes. The women’s super-G and giant slalom crystal globes are still up for grabs, with Shiffrin holding point leads in both disciplines.

On Wednesday the men’s and women’s downhill kicks off the event, but Thursday will be the draw for U.S. fans hoping to see Shiffrin clinch her first ever globe in a speed event. She came close at the end of the 2017-18 season when she finished fifth in the World cup downhill standings.

Shiffrin’s second chance at a globe this week comes on Sunday in the women’s giant slalom.

Watch the women’s super-G live on Thursday beginning at 5:30 a.m. ET on TV and streaming on Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold, with an encore presentation airing on NBCSN on TV at 11:00 a.m. ET.

To see if Shiffrin can win the giant slalom crystal globe, watch the first run live on Sunday morning at 4:30 a.m. and the second run at 7:00 a.m. Live first run action will be streaming on OlympicChannel.com and NBC Sports Gold, with the second run airing live on TV and streaming with Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold.

Another huge name in U.S. Olympic sports, gymnast Simone Biles, will make her season debut this week at the World Cup event in Stuttgart, Germany.

At the 2018 World Championships in Doha, the four-time Olympic gold medalist, helped the U.S. win its fourth-straight team title, then became the first woman to win four all-around world titles. Biles also won gold in Doha in the apparatus finals in the floor and vault and took home silver on the uneven bars and bronze on balance beam.

Check out the full schedule below for times, events and where to watch live on TV and streaming.

ALPINE SKIING WORLD CUP FINAL — Soldeu, Andorra

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Wednesday 5:30 a.m. Men’s & Women’s Downhill Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
12:30 p.m. Men’s & Women’s Downhill* NBCSN
Thursday 5:30 a.m. Men’s & Women’s Super-G Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
11:00 p.m. Men’s & Women’s Super-G* NBCSN
Friday 7:00 a.m. Team Event Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Saturday 4:30 a.m. Men’s Giant Slalom (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
5:30 a.m. Women’s Slalom (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
7:00 a.m. Men’s Giant Slalom (Run 2) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
8:00 a.m. Women’s Slalom (Run 2) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 4:30 a.m. Women’s Giant Slalom (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
5:30 a.m. Men’s Slalom (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
7:00 a.m. Women’s Giant Slalom (Run 2) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
8:00 a.m. Men’s Slalom (Run 2) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
3:30 p.m. Women’s Giant Slalom* NBCSN

*Same-day delay

BIATHLON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS — Oestersund, Sweden

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Tuesday 10:30 a.m. Women’s 15km Individual Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Wednesday 12:30 a.m. Women’s 15km Individual* NBCSN
11:00 a.m. Men’s 20km Individual Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
4:00 p.m. Men’s 20km Individual* NBCSN
Thursday 12:00 p.m. Single Mixed Relay Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Friday 1:00 a.m. Single Mixed Relay* NBCSN
Saturday 8:15 a.m. Women’s 4x6km Relay OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
11:30 a.m. Men’s 4×7.5km Relay OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
12:30 p.m. Women’s 4x6km Relay* Olympic Channel
1:30 p.m. Men’s 4×7.5km Relay* Olympic Channel
Sunday 8:15 a.m. Women’s 12.5km Mass Start OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
10:00 a.m. Women’s 12.5km Mass Start* Olympic Channel
11:00 a.m. Men’s 15km Mass Start Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold

*Same-day and next-day delay

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING WORLD CUP — Drammen, Norway; Falun, Sweden

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Tuesday 8:15 a.m. Men’s & Women’s Sprint Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
11:30 p.m. Men’s & Women’s Sprint* NBCSN
Saturday 9:30 a.m. Men’s & Women’s Sprint Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 6:30 a.m. Women’s 10km NBC Sports Gold
9:30 a.m. Men’s 15km NBC Sports Gold
12:30 p.m. Women’s 10km* Olympic Channel
1:00 p.m. Women’s 10km* Olympic Channel
2:00 p.m. Men’s 15km* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

CURLING WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP — Silkeborg, Denmark

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 9:00 a.m. Russia vs. Switzerland OlympicChannel.com
9:00 a.m. Japan vs. Scotland OlympicChannel.com
2:30 p.m. South Korea vs. Canada OlympicChannel.com
2:30 p.m. USA vs. Denmark Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
Sunday 4:00 a.m. Canada vs. Germany OlympicChannel.com
4:00 a.m. USA vs. Japan OlympicChannel.com
9:00 a.m. Germany vs. Japan OlympicChannel.com
9:00 a.m. Switzerland vs. Sweden OlympicChannel.com
2:00 p.m. South Korea vs. USA OlympicChannel.com
2:00 p.m. Latvia vs. Canada OlympicChannel.com
4:30 p.m. USA vs. Japan* Olympic Channel
7:30 p.m. South Korea vs. USA* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

FENCING GRAND PRIX — Anaheim, California

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Sunday 9:30 p.m. From Anaheim, California OlympicChannel.com

FREESTYLE SKIING WORLD CUP — Mammoth Lakes, California; Quebec City, Quebec; Veysonnaz, Switzerland

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Thursday 12:30 a.m. Freeski: Slopestyle – Toyota U.S. Grand Prix* NBCSN
Saturday 4:00 p.m. Big Air OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 6:00 a.m. Ski Cross OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold

*Encore presentation

GYMNASTICS WORLD CUP — Baku, Azerbaijan; Stuttgart, Germany

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 4:00 a.m. Apparatus Finals (Day 1) OlympicChannel.com
7:15 a.m. Men’s Indiv. All-Around OlympicChannel.com
5:30 p.m. Apparatus Finals (Day 1)* Olympic Channel
7:30 p.m. Men’s Indiv. All-Around* Olympic Channel
Sunday 4:00 a.m. Apparatus Finals (Day 2) OlympicChannel.com
7:15 a.m. Women’s Indiv. All-Around OlympicChannel.com
2:00 p.m. Women’s Indiv. All-Around* Olympic Channel
4:30 p.m. Women’s Indiv. All-Around* NBCSN
10:30 p.m. Apparatus Finals (Day 2)* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

NORDIC COMBINED WORLD CUP — Schonach, Germany

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 6:00 a.m. HS106 OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
10:00 a.m. 10km OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 6:00 a.m. HS106 OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
10:00 a.m. 15km OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold

SNOWBOARDING WORLD CUP — Mammoth Lakes, California; Veysonnaz, Switzerland; Quebec City, Quebec

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 9:15 a.m. Snowboard Cross OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 8:00 p.m. Big Air OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
12:00 p.m. Halfpipe – Toyota U.S. Grand Prix* NBC

*Encore presentation

SKI JUMPING WORLD CUP — Nizhny Tagil, Russia; Raw Air Tournament Norway

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Monday 12:30 p.m. Raw Air – Men’s Indiv. (Qualifying) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
Tuesday 12:00 p.m. Raw Air – Men’s Indiv. OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
3:00 p.m. Raw Air – Women’s Indiv. OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
6:30 p.m. Raw Air – Men’s Indiv.* Olympic Channel
8:00 p.m. Raw Air – Women’s Indiv.* Olympic Channel
Wednesday 12:30 p.m. Raw Air – Men’s Indiv. (Qualifying) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
2:30 p.m. Raw Air – Men’s Indiv.* NBCSN
Thursday 9:00 a.m. Raw Air – Women’s Indiv. OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
12:00 p.m. Raw Air – Men’s Indiv. OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
3:00 p.m. Raw Air – Women’s Indiv.* Olympic Channel
4:30 p.m. Raw Air – Men’s Indiv.* Olympic Channel
Friday 12:30 p.m. Raw Air – Men’s Indiv. Ski Flying (Qualifying) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
Saturday 8:00 a.m. Women’s Indiv. OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
12:00 p.m. Raw Air – Men’s Team Ski Flying OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 8:00 a.m. Women’s Indiv. Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
12:00 p.m. Raw Air – Men’s Indiv. Ski Flying OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
5:00 p.m. Women’s Indiv.* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

SPEED SKATING WORLD CUP FINAL — Salt Lake City, Utah

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Monday 11:30 p.m. Day 2* NBCSN

*Same-day delay

SHORT TRACK WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS — Sofia, Bulgaria

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Monday 1:00 a.m. From Sofia, Bulgaria NBCSN

MEN’S WRESTLING WORLD CUP — Yakutsk, Russia

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Friday 10:00 p.m. Session 1 Olympic Channel
Saturday 3:30 a.m. Session 2 Olympic Channel
10:00 p.m. Session 3 Olympic Channel
Sunday 2:15 a.m. Bronze Medal Match Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
4:00 a.m. Gold Medal Match Olympic Channel Olympic Channel

 

How to watch overall World Cup champ Mikaela Shiffrin ski this weekend

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It would seem Mikaela Shiffrin picked the best weekend of the season to take a break after every scheduled event in Sochi, Russia last week had to be cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.

Shiffrin, while training in Italy ahead of this week’s events in the Czech Republic, was still able to make headlines, when her World Cup points total allowed her to clinch her third-consecutive overall title. She has also clinched her fourth-straight slalom crystal globe, and sixth overall, after taking an insurmountable 203-point lead in the standings. 

The women’s World Cup will attempt to get back to racing on Friday with the first run of the giant slalom scheduled for 4:30 a.m. ET. Watch the first run live on OlympicChannel.com or with an NBC Sports Gold Snow Pass. The second run can be seen live on TV and streaming on Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold.

After crisscrossing the globe, the ISU Speed Skating World Cup winds up in Utah for the final event of the season. The U.S.’ Brittany Bowe and Joey Mantia, both recently crowned world champions, will close out their seasons on home ice at the site of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games.

For Bowe, she returns to the track where she set the world record in the 1000m not once, but twice in her career, and is closing out a season where she has landed on 12 World Cup podiums.

Watch speed skating from Salt Lake City beginning on Friday at 11:00 p.m. on TV on Olympic Channel.  

If you’re looking to thaw out from all the winter sports action, some of the best international swimmers in the world convene in Des Moines at the second stop on the TYR Pro Swim Series. Look for the U.S.’ 2016 Olympic gold medalists Caeleb Dressel and Kathleen Baker to be in the pool in Iowa. Watch the first of three days of swimming in primetime beginning on Thursday at 8:00 p.m. ET on TV and streaming on Olympic Channel.

ALPINE SKIING WORLD CUP — Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic; Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Friday 4:30 a.m. Women’s Giant Slalom (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. Women’s Giant Slalom (Run 2) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
12:00 p.m. Women’s Giant Slalom (Run 2)* NBCSN
Saturday 3:30 a.m. Men’s Giant Slalom (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
4:30 a.m. Women’s Slalom (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
6:30 a.m. Men’s Giant Slalom (Run 2) DELAYED start at 8:30 a.m. Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. Women’s Slalom (Run 2) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
6:00 p.m. Women’s Slalom (Run 2)* NBCSN
Sunday 4:30 a.m. Men’s Slalom (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. Men’s Slalom (Run 2) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold

*Same-day delay

BOBSLED AND SKELETON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS — Whistler, British Columbia

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Thursday 12:00 p.m. Men’s Skeleton (Run 1) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
1:45 p.m. Men’s Skeleton (Run 2) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
3:30 p.m. Women’s Skeleton (Run 1) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
5:00 p.m. Women’s Skeleton (Run 2) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
11:30 p.m. Men’s and Women’s Skeleton Day 1* NBCSN
Friday 12:00 p.m. Men’s Skeleton (Run 3) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
1:45 p.m. Men’s Skeleton (Final Run) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
3:30 p.m. Women’s Skeleton (Run 3) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
5:00 p.m. Women’s Skeleton (Final Run) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
8:00 p.m. Four-Man Bobsled (Run 1) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
9:30 p.m. Four-Man Bobsled (Run 2) NBCSN NBCSN
Saturday 8:00 p.m. Four-Man Bobsled (Run 3) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
9:30 p.m. Four-Man Bobsled (Final Run) Olympic Channel Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

BIATHLON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS — Oestersund, Sweden

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Thursday 10:15 a.m. Mixed Relay Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
4:00 p.m. Mixed Relay* NBCSN
Friday 10:15 a.m. Women’s 7.5km Sprint Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
1:00 p.m. Women’s 7.5km Sprint* NBCSN
Saturday 10:30 a.m. Men’s 10km Sprint Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 8:45 a.m. Women’s 10km Pursuit Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
11:30 a.m. Men’s 12.5km Pursuit Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold

*Same-day delay

CROSS-COUNTRY WORLD CUP — Oslo, Norway

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 4:00 a.m. Men’s 50km Mass Start Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 6:45 a.m. Women’s 30km Mass Start OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
1:00 p.m. Women’s 30km Mass Start* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

FENCING GRAND PRIX — Cairo, Egypt; Budapest, Hungary

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Friday 9:00 a.m. From Cairo, Egypt* Olympic Channel
Sunday 4:00 p.m. From Budapest, Hungary OlympicChannel.com

*Pre-recorded

FREESKI AND SNOWBOARDING TOYOTA U.S. GRAND PRIX — Mammoth Lakes, California

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Friday 12:30 p.m. Snowboarding: Slopestyle NBCSports.com/NBC Sports Gold
4:00 p.m. Freeski: Halfpipe NBCSports.com/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 12:30 a.m. Freeski: Halfpipe* NBCSN
12:30 p.m. Freeski: Slopestyle NBCSports.com/NBC Sports Gold
4:00 p.m. Snowboarding: Halfpipe NBCSports.com/NBC Sports Gold
11:30 p.m. Snowboarding: Slopestyle* NBCSN

*Encore presentation

NORDIC COMBINED WORLD CUP — Oslo, Norway

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 3:00 a.m. Men’s HS134 OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. Men’s 10km OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold

SKI JUMPING WORLD CUP RAW AIR TOURNAMENT — Oslo, Norway

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Friday 1:30 p.m. Men’s Qualifying OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
Saturday 8:30 a.m. Men’s Team OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
3:00 p.m. Men’s Team* Olympic Channel
Sunday 5:00 a.m. Women’s Individual OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
9:30 a.m. Men’s Individual OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
3:00 p.m. Women’s Individual* Olympic Channel
4:30 p.m. Men’s Individual* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

SNOWBOARDING WORLD CUP — Scuol, Switzerland

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 7:30 a.m. Parallel Giant Slalom OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold

SPEED SKATING WORLD CUP — Salt Lake City, Utah

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 2:20 p.m. World Cup Final Day 1 NBC Sports Gold
11:00 p.m. World Cup Final Day 1* Olympic Channel
Sunday 3:15 p.m. World Cup Final Day 2 NBC Sports Gold
11:00 p.m. World Cup Final Day 2* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

SHORT TRACK WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS — Sofia, Bulgaria

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 8:00 a.m. Day 2 NBC Sports Gold
6:00 p.m. Day 2* Olympic Channel
Sunday 8:00 a.m. Day 3 NBC Sports Gold
6:00 p.m. Day 3* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

TYR PRO SWIM SERIES — Des Moines, Iowa

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Thursday 8:00 p.m. Day 1 Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
Friday 1:00 a.m. Day 1* NBCSN
8:00 p.m. Day 2 NBCSN NBCSports.com
Saturday 8:00 p.m. Day 3 NBCSports.com

*Next-day delay

Red, white & blueprint: U.S. biathlon forms plan to close gap

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The leader of the U.S. biathlon program sat down for a recent dinner at a bar in Park City, Utah, when he happened to glance at the television.

There, on the screen, was a biathlon competition . On TV. In a bar. In America.

“I’ve waited,” CEO Max Cobb said, “30 years for that moment.”

One day soon, Cobb envisions something even greater: The U.S. leading the charge in a sport that combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting.

To achieve that, Cobb, who’s been with the program since 1989, and his staff initiated a blueprint aimed at capturing the country’s first Olympic biathlon medal. The model includes bringing in coaches from Europe, contracting with a machine shop to test different sorts of metals for better glide performance and partnering with a university professor to analyze shooting mechanics.

“I believe the day an American wins its first Olympic medal in the biathlon, is the day our country discovers the drama and beauty of the biathlon,” said Cobb, whose squad will compete at the world championships beginning this week in Sweden. “It will be a beautiful moment.”

In a sport long dominated by nations such as Norway, Germany and Russia, the Americans remain an “economic underdog,” Cobb said, with an annual budget of about $2.6 million. That’s fractions of what their counterparts spend.

So they need creative ways to close the gap.

The road to an Olympic medal may be the result of using better metal, which is why the team has been working with a machine shop technician in Austria. The goal is to reduce the surface friction for better glide. So far, they’ve tried out 150 different blades.

Anything to help the athletes glide faster while skiing.

In addition, they’ve been working with Dr. Gerold Sattlecker from the University of Salzburg to analyze shooting mechanics. They’ve developed a remote trigger pressure sensor that allows them to see how much pressure an athlete is putting on the trigger.

Anything to help them shoot straighter at the targets under pressure.

“One of those things that I see as a competitive advantage of us is, we innovate and collaborate better than our competitors,” Cobb said. “The fact we know we’re being out-spent and have this clear goal of trying to achieve America’s first Olympic biathlon medal, those are really unifying goals that keeps us all focused.”

The organization began to revamp the business model in early 2016. It was a way to spring forward after a 2014 Sochi Games in which Susan Dunklee came within one missed shot from capturing an elusive medal. The team had breakout performances at the 2017 world championships, with Lowell Bailey earning gold in the 20-kilometer individual race and Dunklee taking silver in the women’s mass start.

It was proof that things were trending in the right direction. Then, at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang , South Korea last winter, something that couldn’t be predicted — sickness. Dunklee got the flu that week. Bailey, who’s now retired, fought an illness leading into the Olympics.

Soon after Pyeongchang, some big biathlon names were brought in to lead the team into the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing:

—Armin Auchentaller, who’s in his second go-around with the squad as he takes over the women’s squad after leading the Swiss team.

—Michael Greis of Germany, who’s overlooking the men’s side following a career that saw him capture three gold medals at the 2006 Turin Games.

—Retired American standout Tim Burke, whose new role is athlete development manager. The New York native competed at four Winter Olympics and earned a silver medal at the 2013 world championships.

“You have to be unafraid to change things, even when you’re going along pretty well,” Cobb said. “Sometimes, you need a new stimulation, to look at different ways of doing things.”

To boost the team’s profile, they’ve hired a marketing firm based in Austria. They’ve added sponsors in Europe (Maloja , a small German clothing brand) and in the U.S. (Ariens , a Wisconsin-based company that manufactures lawn mowers and snow blowers and expanding into Europe).

Europe is simply where the dollars are and the viewers reside.

“If you were to go to Germany and you turn on the television in prime time you’d see biathlon and you’d have 5 million people or so tuning in to watch. It’s like turning on the TV in the states and seeing NFL on ESPN,” the 33-year-old Dunklee explained. “It’s the most popular winter sport there. But you go to the states and you tell someone on the street, ‘Oh, I do the biathlon,’ and they’re like, ‘Is that swimming and running?’ I’m like, ‘Not quite.’ We don’t have much of a following over here.”

Steadily, that’s changing. This season, there will be about 85 hours of original content on NBC’s stable of networks, which is how Cobb was able to watch a World Cup biathlon race in a bar in Utah.

And last month, a biathlon World Cup event was staged on home snow for the first time in three years. The site was Soldier Hollow, where the biathlon events were contested at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. Food trucks were brought in — along with a petting zoo and mechanical bull — to create a festival-style atmosphere.

“The crowds were tremendously impressive,” Dunklee said.

They all do their part, even filling multiple roles. Take Bernd Eisenbichler, one of the program’s visionaries who has gone from wax technician, to high performance director, to chief of sport over the last two decades. He still helps out with making sure the skis are finely tuned.

“Everybody is looking themselves in the mirror and asking, ‘Is there anything else I can do to help the team?’” Cobb said. “When you have that kind of buy-in, it’s inspiring to everybody.”