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16 Feb 2018
Olympic News, PyeongChang 2018
PyeongChang 2018

Today at PyeongChang 2018: Friday 16 February

Seven titles are up for grabs today at PyeongChang, with the men’s skeleton first up, followed by the women’s slalom and men’s super-G in Alpine Skiing. The men’s cross-country skiers will be taking on the 15km freestyle, the women are up in the snowboard cross, ski jumpers will be heading to Phoenix Park and the women’s 5,000m speed skating is on. Also on is the women's freestyle skiing event. The men’s figure skating also kicks off with the short programme.


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Skeleton, men's heats 3 and 4: 9:30 local time

The men's skeleton got underway yesterday with the first two runs of the competition, and the battle for the podium is now heating up. Eight-time IBSF World Cup Overall victor, five-time World Champion and two-time Olympic medallist Martins Dukurs (LAT) is the hot favourite. In addition, watch out for local favourite Yun Sung-bin, who will be looking to cause an upset after a strong season already this year, and Tomass Dukurs, elder brother of Martins, who could make the podium a family affair!

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Alpine skiing, women’s slalom: 10:15 and 13:15 local time

Still just 22, Mikaela Shiffrin is undoubtedly the best female Alpine skier in the world, capable of excelling in each of the five events. She won gold on Thursday, and today’s slalom remains her speciality, however. As defending Olympic champion and three-time reigning world champion, the American is a firm favourite to become the first woman in Winter Games history to retain the slalom title. Yet, as she has shown this season, Slovakia’s Petra Vlhová – a Winter Youth Olympic Games gold medallist in Innsbruck in 2012 – is a genuine threat to Shiffrin; and this is an event where anything can happen


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Alpine skiing, men's super-G: 11:00 local time

The super-G has been on the Olympic Alpine skiing programme since 1988. A cross between giant slalom and downhill, it has been dominated in previous years by Norwegian great Kjetil Andre Aamodt, who won gold in 1992, 2002 and 2006. Norway has retained a firm grip on the super-G since then, with Aksel Lund Svindal, yesterday's downhill winner, succeeding Aamodt as Olympic champion in 2010 and Kjetil Jansrud, who took silver yesterday in downhill, winning in Sochi four years ago. Svindal and Jansrud are genuine contenders for gold this time around, though Austria has several super-G specialists who will be among those out to end Norway's winning streak.


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Cross-country skiing, men's 15km free technique: 15:00 local time

Dario Cologna (SUI), the two-time Olympic champion in the event (freestyle at Vancouver 2010 and classic at Sochi 2014) will be looking to defend his title today after proving his form this season with an unprecedented fourth victory in the Tour de Ski. He will no doubt face a tough challenge from the 21-year-old Norwegian phenomenon Johannes Høsflot Klaebo, who has swept aside the competition this year to win the first seven races of the season, including three 15km races in classic, mass start and pursuit formats. The Frenchman Maurice Manificat, 10 years Klaebo's elder, has also been a formidable force in 15km freestyle races this year and is another potential threat on the trails of Alpensia.


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Freestyle skiing, women's aerials finals: 20;00 local time

Who will pull off the most audacious jumps during three gruelling rounds to become the ninth champion of the oldest freestyle skiing competition on the Olympic schedule? Australia, where aerials is something of a tradition, has two genuine medal chances in Danielle Scott and the ever-present Lydia Lassila, who won gold in 2010 and bronze in 2014. The 2014 Olympic champion, Alla Tsuper of Belarus, is also a contender, along with current world champion Ashley Caldwell of the USA. Finally, Mengtao Xu of China, one of the greatest aerials skiers of the past decade, is missing only an Olympic gold medal from her extensive collection.


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Snowboard, women's snowboard cross: 10:00 and 12:15 local time

This will be the fourth chance for five-time world champion Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) to finally achieve Olympic success after a series of disappointments, most notably her fall just metres from the line at Turin 2006. Yet she is unlikely to have it all her own way, with Czech reigning champion Eva Samkova, French duo Chloé Trespeuch and Nelly Moenne-Loccoz and Michela Moioli of Italy all likely to mount a challenge. But on a course where anything can happen, no one is guaranteed victory before they cross the finish line!


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Speed skating, women's 5,000m: 20:00 local time

The two dominant figures of women's speed skating over the past 15 years, Martina Sablikova (CZE) and Ireen Wüst (NED) will be continuing their rivalry four years after they claimed the top spots in Sochi 2014. Sablikova came out on top in the 5,000m at the 2017 World Single Distance Championships as well as claiming the long-distance World Cup.


Elsewhere at the Games…

The men's figure skating gets underway tonight with the short programme. Meanwhile, the preliminary stages of the men's and women's curling continue, with the fourth and fifth sessions of the men's event and the fourth session of the women's event. In ice hockey, the preliminary round matches will take place in both the men's and women's tournaments. Group B are on the ice tonight in the men's, with Slovakia vs. Olympic Athletes from Russia and USA vs. Slovenia. Group B are also up in the women's tournament, as Sweden takes on Switzerland and Korea faces Japan. In the men's ski jumping, it's the night for the normal hill individual qualification.

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