Olympic Preview: February 10

Olympics: Figure Skating
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The United States picked up their first gold medal at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games on Wednesday, thanks to Lindsey Jacobellis in the women’s snowboardcross, and another gold medal could come on Wednesday evening at 8:30 pm ET (Thursday morning in Beijing) courtesy of Nathan Chen of Salt Lake City, Utah. Even if Chen is unable to have a clean men’s free skate, that should be OK, based on the fact he has a 5.85 point lead over Yuma Kagiyama of Japan.

Unless disaster strikes at the Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing, Chen will be the seventh American men’s figure skater to win Olympic gold. He will have followed Dick Button of Einarson, Inglewood, New Jersey (1948 Olympic Winter Games in St. Moritz and the 1952 Olympic Winter Games in Oslo), Hayes Alan Jenkins of Akron, Ohio (1956 Olympic Winter Games in Cortina D’Ampezzo), David Jenkins of Akron, Ohio (1960 Olympic Winter Games in Squaw Valley), Scott Hamilton of Bowling Green, Ohio (1984 Olympic Winter Games in Sarajevo), Brian Boitano of Mountain View, California (1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary), and Evan Lysacek of Chicago, Illinois (2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver).

The United States have an excellent chance for a second gold medal in the women’s halfpipe snowboarding, which will come at the same time as the men’s free skate (8:30 p.m. ET). Here, Chloe Kim of Long Beach, California is the gold medal favourite as she is the reigning Olympic champion, two-time World Champion, and five-time Winter X Games gold medallist. Oh, and she was first in qualifying with a score of 87.75 points.

In women’s cross country skiing, Jessie Diggins of Saint Paul, Minnesota won her first individual Olympic medal on Tuesday (a bronze) in the women’s 1.1 kilometre sprint. Heading into the women’s 10 kilometre classical race on Thursday (2 a.m. ET), Diggins will be in contention again. During the 2021-22 World Cup season, she won a women’s 10 kilometre mass start freestyle Stage World Cup in Oberstdorf, Germany on New Year’s Eve, and also placed second in a 10 kilometre World Cup in Davos, Switzerland on December 12. One thing to keep in mind is the fact that those two aforementioned podium results were in freestyle events, while Thursday’s Olympic race in the women’s 10 kilometres is classical.

In freestyle skiing, the United States will be in contention for a medal on Thursday in mixed team aerials in an event that will be making its Olympic debut (6:50 a.m. ET). At a World Cup in Ruka, Finland, the Americans finished in second place behind the Olympic gold medal favourite in China. The United States also grabbed bronze in the mixed aerials team event at the 2021 World Freestyle Skiing Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

On Thursday, there will also be medals determined in men’s snowboardcross (2:20 a.m. ET), team relay luge (8:30 a.m. ET), women’s 5000 metre speed skating (7 a.m. ET), and men’s alpine combined (9:30 p.m. ET Wednesday evening). Women’s curling gets underway with the United States playing the Russian Olympic Committee (8 p.m. ET Wednesday evening) and Denmark (7 a.m. ET on Thursday). The American men (1-0) play their second game in men’s curling on Thursday (1 a.m. ET) against the reigning Olympic silver medalist and world champion, Sweden. Finally in men’s hockey, the United States will play host China (8 a.m. ET) to open the tournament.

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