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2014 Getty Images
Date
18 Feb 2018
Tags
Olympic News, PyeongChang 2018
PyeongChang 2018

Today at PyeongChang 2018: Sunday 18 February

Men's snow events dominate the programme today, with Alpine skiing's giant slalom, biathlon's 15km mass start, freestyle skiing’s slopestyle and aerials, and the cross-country skiing relay. The only women’s medal event is the high-octane 500m speed skating.

 

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Alpine skiing, men's giant slalom: 10:15 and 13:45 local time 

Will Marcel Hirscher – arguably the greatest male Alpine skier of the last decade – be third-time lucky after two failed attempts for gold? Dominant in slalom as well as giant slalom, the Austrian reigning world champion and six-time FIS crystal globe winner also heads this season's giant slalom World Cup standings and will be aiming to improve on fourth-place finishes at Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014. Looking to challenge him for gold in PyeongChang will be Alexis Pinterault (FRA), Henrik Kristoffersen (NOR), Stefan Luits (GER) and Mats Olsson (SWE), as well as reigning Olympic champion Ted Ligety (USA), who, despite a quiet year, is always capable of producing a medal-winning performance.

 

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Biathlon, men's 15km mass start: 20:15 local time

At Sochi 2014 this event concluded in a sprint between Norway's Emil Hegle Svendsen and France's Martin Fourcade, with the former just edging ahead at the finish line. Such a dramatic climax is rare, however, given that the competitors must complete four visits to the shooting lane (twice prone, twice standing), with 150m penalty laps for each target missed, and the need to conserve energy throughout the long race. This winter's leading male biathlete is 2016 world champion and gold medal winner of Thursday's 20km, Johannes Thingnes Bø of Norway, although Germany's Simon Schempp took the world title in 2017, while Fourcade will again be among the favourites. 

 

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Cross-country skiing, men's 4x10km relay: 15:15 local time 

Sweden are the reigning champions, with Lars Nelson, Daniel Richardsson, Johan Olsson and Marcus Hellner securing a comfortable victory at Sochi 2014. However, Norway have dominated the event ever since, winning both world titles in 2015 and 2017 and every World Cup event during the same period, though there have been no major 4x10km relays on the international circuit this season. Aside from the two Scandinavian quartets, Italy, France and Canada will also have high hopes of a podium finish.

 

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Freestyle skiing, men's ski slopestyle: 13:15 local time

When the event took its Olympic bow on the Rosa Khutor course at Sochi 2014, it produced an American clean sweep, thanks to Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper. Competition for places on the US roster this time around was particularly intense and selection went down to the wire in late January. Sochi silver and bronze medallists Goepper and Kenworthy will be joined by McRae Williams and Alex Hall. Their main rivals will be James Woods (GBR), Oystein Braaten (NOR), Andri Ragettli (SUI), Henrik Harlaut (SWE) and Alex Bellemare (CAN).

 

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Freestyle skiing, men's aerials: 20:00 local time

Anton Kushnir of Belarus, who won gold at Sochi 2014 with the highest score since Calgary 1988, also claimed victory at the World Cup event in PyeongChang in February 2017. Competing at his fourth Olympic Winter Games, Kushnir will be defending his crown against some determined Chinese competitors, including Sochi bronze medallist Qi Guangpu and Jia Zongyang, who won this season's first two World Cup events. Meanwhile, 2014 silver medallist David Morris of Australia and 2017 world champion Jonathon Lillis from the USA are also likely to be in contention. The final takes place across three rounds, with 12 participants in round one, eight in round two and four in the super final.

 

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Speed skating, women's 500m: 20:00 local time 

Speed skating's shortest event is a pure sprint, with skaters racing in pairs against the clock over one-and-a-quarter laps of the Gangneung Oval. Japan's Nao Kodaira went unbeaten in the first four rounds of the 2017-2018 ISU World Cup, also winning the 500m world title at the Single Distance World Championships in February 2017. Double Olympic champion Lee Sang-Hwa and local favourite is hot on her heels, so today's event will be tightly contested and is guaranteed to generate plenty of interest.

 

Elsewhere at the Games...

The men's bobsleigh gets underway with heats 1 and 2 at the Olympic Sliding Centre, while the curling round robin continues with the seventh and eighth sessions for the men, and the seventh session for the women. In ice hockey, two women's classification matches take place at the Kwandong Hockey Centre, while the men's preliminary round comes to a close in Gangneung with Czech Republic-Switzerland and Canada-Republic of Korea in Group A, and Germany-Norway and Sweden-Finland in Group C.

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