Men’s downhill marks first day of Olympic medals
BEIJING (AP) — The first medal day at the Beijing Olympics could be the start of another Norwegian gold rush.
Aleksander Aamodt Kilde is among the favorites in the men’s downhill – one of the highlights of NBC’s Saturday prime-time coverage – and fellow Norwegian Therese Johaug looks set to add to the three Olympic medals she has already won in cross-country skiing. Norway led all nations with 39 medals in Pyeongchang four years ago, including 14 golds.
The United States, of course, has its share of suitors. Snowboarder Jamie Anderson is chasing a third straight slopestyle gold medal, and the final is on Saturday night. The team figure skating competition also resumes that evening. Americans run this after a strong start from Nathan Chen and Co.
Here are some things to watch out for (all times Eastern):
The world’s best downhill racers had little time to familiarize yourself with the Rock course after the cancellation of the test events due to the pandemic.
“For everyone, it’s new, us athletes and coaches,” said Swiss Marco Odermatt. “It’s a big challenge for the whole team to find a perfect setup.”
The descent will be broadcast live on NBC and Peacock. It is scheduled to start at 10 p.m.
World Cup leader Kilde is dating American star Mikaela Shiffrin.
So far, the United States leads the mighty Russians and third China in the team competition. Chen won the men’s short program, and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue did the same in the rhythm dance.
Then come the women’s short program and the men’s free program. NBC is broadcasting this portion of the event by tag team live during prime time.
“We have a very strong team, so we have a lot of chess pieces to play with,” Chen said. “Whatever is the strongest piece at that time is the strongest piece at that time. »
USA Network presents men’s and women’s slopestyle live Saturday night. The finals of the women’s competition are followed by the qualifications for the men. NBC will include additional coverage of the women’s final on its late night slate.
The United States swept slopestyle snowboarding in 2018, with Anderson and Red Gerard winning.
The slopestyle course in Zhangjiakou includes an on-snow replica of the Great Wall which serves as the backdrop for the rails and jumps that the athletes will traverse.
Johaug won gold in a relay in 2010 and won two more medals in cross-country skiing in 2014. She missed the 2018 Games following a doping ban, but the 14-time world champion is back now. The skiathlon – an event that includes both classic and freestyle techniques – airs live on USA Network on Saturday mornings with encore coverage on NBC in the afternoon.
Of the 13 gold medals won by China at the Winter Games, 10 were in short track speed skating. The hosts have high hopes again in the sport, and the first short track medal will be awarded in the mixed team relay. USA Network airs this finale during its 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. time slot, and NBC will air it during prime time. … Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury is the defending men’s moguls champion. USA Network will air the qualifiers and the final live Saturday morning, and the final will also air as part of NBC’s late-night coverage. … The U.S. women’s hockey team, which began defending its Olympic title with a win over Finland, takes on the Russians live on USA Network at 8:10 a.m. This match will be rebroadcast at 5 p.m. on the same channel.
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