Today at PyeongChang 2018: Tuesday 13 February
No fewer than eight Olympic champions will be crowned during the course of the day: in the men’s combined in Alpine skiing, the men’s and women’s sprint classic in cross-country skiing, the women’s snowboard halfpipe, the women’s 500m short track, the men’s 1,500m in speed skating, the all new curling mixed doubles event and the women’s luge singles.
Snowboard, women’s halfpipe: 10:00 local time
It should be quite a contest at the Bokwang Snow Park, where the USA’s Chloé Kim is sure to receive plenty of support. Born in California to Korean parents, the 17-year-old won halfpipe and slopestyle gold at the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016 and has since reigned supreme. A US clean sweep of the podium is a possibility, with Kelly Clark, the 2002 Olympic champion and a bronze medallist in 2010 and 2014, and another 17-year-old, Maddie Mastro, both harbouring high hopes of a medal.
Curling, mixed doubles medal matches: 09:05 and 20:05 local time
The two losing semi-finalists, Olympic Athlete from Russia and Norway in this eight-team competition will battle it out for bronze in the morning, while Canada and Switzerland, the teams that beat them, will face off in the evening with the aim of becoming the event’s first ever Olympic champions.
Alpine skiing, men’s combined: 11:30 and 15:00 local time
The combined is the ultimate test of downhill and slalom skills, with competitors striving for consistency over the two legs. Switzerland’s Sando Viletta landed a surprise gold in the event at Sochi 2014, while fellow countryman Luca Aerni is the reigning world champion. France’s Alexis Pinturault should also feature prominently, having claimed the last two FIS crystal globes in the event, with a total of six World Cup wins since 2014.
Cross-country skiing, men’s and women’s sprint classic: 17:30 and 20:00 local time
While the free technique was adopted for the sprint races at Sochi 2014, the classic technique has been chosen on this occasion. Instead of skating their way to the line, competitors will be “double poling” along pre-prepared tracks and keeping their skis parallel. The switch in style should prove no obstacle for the finest sprinters, with the Norwegians tipped for success in both events, which feature a qualifying round, quarter-finals, semi-finals and a six-athlete final. The women race over a distance of 1,000m, while the men compete over 1,500m.
Short track speed skating, women’s 500m: 19:00 local time
The highlight of the day’s session at the Gangneung Ice Arena, which also features the preliminaries of the men’s 1,000m and 5,000m relay events, is the final of the women’s 500m. The pretenders to the crown include Canadian duo Kim Boutin and Marianne St-Gelais (the 2017/18 FIL World Cup champion), the Republic of Korea’s Shim Suk-hee and Choi Min-jeong, Great Britain’s Elise Christie and Italy’s flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony, Arianna Fontana. With only four berths available in the final, the competition is sure to be fierce.
Luge, women’s singles, heats 3 and 4: 19:30 local time
Defending champion Natalie Geisenberger is sure to be in the hunt as the event reaches its conclusion at the Alpensia Sliding Centre. A two-time world champion in 2015 and 2016, the German also has five FIL World Cup crowns to her name. However, Geisenberger relinquished her world title to compatriot Tatjana Hüfner last year. An Olympic gold medallist at Vancouver 2010, Hüfner finished second to her team-mate in Sochi four years ago, and all the indications are that the German duo will be battling it out for gold again.
Speed skating, men’s 1,500m: 20:00 local time
Racing in pairs, skaters will complete 3.75 laps of the Gangneung Oval. At Sochi 2014, the gold went to Poland’s Zbigniew Bródka, who prevented the Netherlands men from completing a clean sweep of the speed skating titles. Could we see another surprise winner at the Gangneung Oval?
Elsewhere at the Games…
The preliminary round of the women’s ice hockey competition continues, with Canada taking on Finland and the USA crossing sticks with the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) in Group A.