Today at PyeongChang 2018: Wednesday 21 February
The women’s Alpine skiing downhill is one of the highlights of a day awash with medal events, which also includes men’s ski cross, the men’s and women’s team sprint free in cross-country skiing, the men’s and women’s team pursuits in speed skating and the women’s bobsleigh. In women’s ice hockey, there is a bronze medal to be won in the third-place match.
Alpine skiing, women's downhill: 11:00 local time
Who will succeed recently retired Tina Maze and Dominique Gisin, joint gold medallists at Sochi 2014? The USA's Lindsey Vonn has good reason to believe it might be her. Absent four years ago, the 33-year-old took the Olympic title in 2010 and has won more World Cup races than anyone. This promises to be a very open race, however. While Vonn's compatriot and world No1 Mikaela Shiffrin has yet to decide whether to enter the event, despite having scored her first career downhill win this winter, Italy's Sofia Goggia can be expected to mount a compelling challenge. The Italian has been in excellent form of late and recorded a World Cup victory at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre in March 2017. Among the other racers who will fancy their chances are Austria's Cornelia Hütter and Anna Veith, Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather, and the Swiss duo of Switzerland's Lara Gut – a Sochi bronze medallist – and Michelle Gisin, Dominique's younger sister.
Freestyle skiing, men's ski cross: 13:15 local time
France has fond memories of this event at Sochi 2014, when Jean-Frédéric Chapuis, Arnaud Bovolenta and Jonathan Midol swept the medals. Chapuis has remained on top of his game since then, winning three straight FIS crystal globes in the event between 2015 and 2017. The leading challengers are Sweden's Victor Öhling Norberg, who claimed the 2017 world title in Sierra Nevada (ESP), and Switzerland's man of the moment Marc Bischofberger. Yet in an event as unpredictable as ski cross, where taking a tumble is an occupational hazard, it is best to expect the unexpected.
Ice hockey, women's bronze medal match: 16:40 local time
The first women's ice hockey medal of PyeongChang 2018 will be claimed today, as the two losing semi-finalists, Olympic Athletre from Russia and Finland, look for some consolation on the ice at the Gangneung Hockey Centre. Also on the bill today are the four men's ice hockey quarter-finals, with the first of them kicking off at 12:10 local time and the last at 21:10 local time.
Cross-country skiing, men's and women's team sprint free: 17:00 and 19:00 local time
In the six-lap team sprint, each member of the two-skier teams completes two laps at a time, with both competitions beginning with a semi-final and ending with a ten-team final. It would come as a major surprise to see the women's gold go to anyone other than a Norwegian pair. Marit Bjørgen and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg won at Sochi 2014, when the race was run in the classical style, while Østberg and Maiken Caspersen Falla freestyled their way to gold at the 2015 FIS World Championships. Falla and Heidi Weng then won the world crown two years later, in the classical style. Swedish duo Ida Ingemarsdotter and Maja Dahlqvist laid down a marker in the last World Cup race before PyeongChang 2018, however, winning what was a freestyle event. Tipping a winner in the men's race is more difficult, though Italian twosome Dietmar Nöckler and Federico Pellegrino have been in excellent form this winter, triumphing in Dresden less than a month before the Games. The Swedish, Norwegian and Swiss teams will also be worth keeping an eye on.
Speed skating, men's and women's team pursuit: 20:00 local time
The Netherlands dominated the opposition in both competitions at Sochi 2014, with the Dutch men easing to victory against the Republic of Korea in their final and the women doing likewise against Poland. Since then the men have won all three world titles up for grabs, while the women were beaten by the Japanese in 2015 but bounced back to beat them the following two years. That said, Japan have had the edge over the Dutch in every women's World Cup race this season, while the Republic of Korea and Canada have impressed in the men's competition. The home team will not lack support, and the Dutch will be pushed harder than they were four years ago.
Bobsleigh, women's heats 3 and 4: 20:40 local time
Canada's Kaillie Humphries has been in typically fine form this season and is justified in believing she can add a third consecutive Olympic title to the two she won in 2010 and 2014. USA drivers Elana Meyers-Taylor and Jamie Greubel Poser would appear to be her biggest threats. Like the Canadians, Germany will be lining up with three crews, led by Mariama Jamanka, Anna Köhler and Stephanie Schneider, who can all be expected to push for medals.
Elsewhere at the Games…
In curling, the round robin phases come to an end with sessions 11 and 12 in the women's competition and session 12 in the men's. The women's singles figure skating gets underway at 10:00 local time with the short programme. In snowboard, the qualification round of the new men's big air event kicks off at 9:30 local time.