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Date
17 Feb 2018
Tags
Olympic News, PyeongChang 2018
PyeongChang 2018

Today at PyeongChang 2018: Saturday 17 February

On a day with something to suit everyone, the medal action kicks off with the free programme in the men’s figure skating and the women’s super-G, and draws to a close with the men’s large hill individual at the Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre. In between these exciting events come the women’s biathlon mass start, the women’s 4x5km relay in cross-country skiing, the women’s ski slopestyle and the final two rounds of the women’s skeleton. Meanwhile, home fans will be looking forward to the women’s 1,500m and men’s 1,000m short track finals.

 

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Figure skating, men's free programme: 10:00 local time

The men's free programme is always one of the high points of the Olympic Winter Games. The reigning world champion, Yuzuru Hanyu, will be defending the title he won in Sochi at the age of 19. The Japanese skater can expect stiff competition from the USA's Nathan Chen, the most in-form skater of the season and the winner of December's ISU Grand Prix final in Nagoya (JPN). Japan's Shoma Uno has also proved to be a formidable contender, while Spain's Javier Fernandez will be hoping to add to his excellent results of the last four years. Nothing less than a brilliant performance will be needed to claim this particular gold medal.

 

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Alpine skiing, women's super-G: 12:00 local time

This is a wide-open race, with a number of skiers harbouring genuine hopes of a place at the top of the podium. Austria's Anna Veith (formerly Fenninger), is the defending champion and is back to her best after a two-season injury layoff. Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather ended 2017 atop the FIS standings in the event; Switzerland has three skiers who could challenge for gold in Lara Gut, Jasmine Flury and Michelle Gisin; while Italy's Sofia Goggia is also a serious contender. Then there is the USA's Lindsey Vonn, the winner of 28 World Cup super-G races, three World Championship medals and a bronze in the event at Vancouver 2010, and her compatriot Mikaela Shiffrin - the reigning overall World Cup champion.

 

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Freestyle skiing, women's slopestyle: 11:00 and 13:00 local time.

Talented teenagers are expected to have a major say in the destiny of the medals in this event. France's reigning world champion Tess Ledeux is only 16, while Sweden's Jennie-Lee Burmansson, one of Ledeux's leading rivals this winter, is a few months her junior. Headed by Maggie Voisin, the first American woman to win X Games slopestyle skiing gold, a strong USA contingent will also be pushing for glory in an event that requires a lot of imagination on the rails and in the air, as well as the ability to nail the cleanest of landings.

 

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Cross-country skiing, women's 4x5km relay: 18:30 local time

Though this event has not featured on the World Cup programme this season, if the 2016/17 campaign is anything to go by, the Norwegians will be the quartet to beat in PyeongChang. The Scandinavians went unchallenged throughout the previous season, lifting both the World Cup and the world title in Lahti (FIN), with Marit Bjørgen and Heidi Weng playing a part in all those wins. Reigning Olympic champions Sweden will also have designs on victory, as will Finland, Germany and Poland.

 

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Short track speed skating, women's 1,500m and men's 1,000m: 19:00 local time

In the first of the day's two finals at the Gangneung Ice Arena, Choi Min Jeong and Sochi 2014 silver medallist Shim Suk-hee will hope to get the home fans out of their seats. Between them, the Republic of Korea duo have won every women's 1,500m race in this season's World Cup and have featured on every podium. The biggest challenge to them should come from Canada's Kim Boutin and Marianne St-Gelais. In the men's 1,000m, flying the flag for the host nation will be Lim Hyo-Jun, Hwang Dae-Heon and Seo Yi-ra. Hungary's Shaolin Sandor Liu, a two-time winner of the distance this winter, will be out to make his mark too, as will China's Wu Dajing and Canada's three-time Olympic gold medallist Charles Hamelin.

 

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Biathlon, women's mass start: 20:15 local time

This 12.5km race, which made its Olympic debut at Turin 2006, features four shooting rounds (two prone and two standing), with competitors having to complete a 150m loop for every target missed. Belarus' Darya Domracheva is the defending champion, while Germany's Laura Dahlmeier won the world title in 2017. In an event with so many variables, however, predicting the outcome is no easy task.

 

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Skeleton, women's, heats 3 and 4: 20:20 local time

The women's skeleton title has been the sole preserve of Great Britain since 2010, as first Amy Williams in Vancouver and then Lizzy Yarnold in Sochi claimed the gold. All that could change, however, at the Alpensia Sliding Centre, with Germany's world No1 Jacqueline Lölling now the dominant force in the event. Victorious on the same track in the final round of the 2016/17 IBSF World Cup, Lölling currently tops this season's standings and is a firm favourite to land her country's first ever Olympic gold medal in the discipline. 

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Ski jumping, men's large hill individual: 21:30 local time

There should be no shortage of excitement on the HS140 hill at the Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre, where defending champion and Sochi 2014 double gold medallist Kamil Stoch (POL) will be hoping to continue the rich vein of form that brought him a grand slam at the Four Hills Tournament in January. Among those trying to stop the Pole will be Germany's Richard Freitag and Andreas Wellinger, Austria's Stefan Kraft, the Norwegians Daniel-Andre Tande and Anders Fannemel, Japan's Junshiro Kobayashi, and Slovenian brothers Domen and Peter Prevc. The top 30 jumpers after the first round of the 50-man final go forward to the second round, with competitors awarded points for the length of their jumps, style in the air and quality of their landings.

 

Elsewhere at the Games…

The preliminary round matches continue at the Gangneung Curling Centre with sessions four and five for the men and session four for the women. Over at the Gangneung Hockey Centre, there are two women's quarter-finals on the card and four round robin matches in the men's competition: Canada-Czech Republic and Republic of Korea-Switzerland in Group A, and Olympic Athletes from Russia-USA and Slovenia-Slovakia in Group B.

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