What to watch on Day 4 of Sochi Olympics
Here’s a look at the compelling events, athletes and storylines of the Sochi Olympics on Tuesday, Feb. 11. A complete list of every Tuesday event can be found here.
WHAT TO STAY UP LATE FOR ...
Women’s ski slopestyle final, 4 a.m. ET -- CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE EVENT LIVE
Canada is favored in the Olympic debut of ski slopestyle with Kaya Turski and Dara Howell, who went one-two at the 2013 World Championships.
Turski won the Winter X Games in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and tore an ACL for the third time in August. She came back to win the 2014 Winter X Games in January. Howell was third and fourth at the last two X Games.
The top U.S. skier at this year’s X Games, Maggie Voisin, withdrew from the Olympics after breaking her fibula in training last week and was set to be the youngest U.S. Winter Olympian since 1972. The rest of the U.S. contingent includes X Games silver medalists Keri Herman and Devin Logan, as well as Julia Krass.
Qualification starts at 1 a.m. for the 12-woman final.
WHAT TO WAKE UP EARLY FOR ...
Speed skating, women’s 500m, 7:45 a.m. ET -- CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE
American Heather Richardson is among a few women who appear to be in the running for silver and bronze in the shortest distance on the program. If she wins a medal, it would be the first for a U.S. women’s speed skater since the 2002 Olympics.
The heavy favorite for gold is reigning Olympic and world champion Lee Sang-hwa of South Korea, who is also the world-record holder. Richardson, who finished sixth in the 500m in her 2010 Olympic debut, has made the podium three times in eight World Cup races this season.
The other contenders are Russian Olga Fatkulina, the 2013 world 1000m champion, German Jenny Wolf, who took silver to Lee in Vancouver, and China’s Wang Beixing, the reigning world silver medalist and Olympic bronze medalist.
The 500m is raced twice with a skater’s times added together for a final standing. Richardson is joined by Americans Brittany Bowe, Sugar Todd and Lauren Cholewinski. Richardson and Bowe are better medal contenders in the 1000m, which comes Thursday.
Women’s cross-country skiing freestyle sprint final, 8:22 a.m. ET -- CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE
Four-time Olympian Kikkan Randall is favored to win the second-ever U.S. Olympic cross-country skiing medal, first by a woman and first gold by a man or woman.
It could be a showdown with Norway’s Marit Bjoergen in the six-woman final. Bjoergen is the defending Olympic champion and has a chance to become the first Winter Olympian to win six medals in a single Games.
Randall and Bjoergen have split victories in the four World Cup freestyle sprints they’ve entered together this year. Randall will have another shot at a medal in the team sprint Feb. 19.
WHAT YOU CAN’T MISS DURING THE DAY ...
Women’s luge runs 3 and 4, 9:30 a.m. ET -- CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE
American Erin Hamlin is in position for the first U.S. Olympic singles luge medal ever. She sits third behind two favored Germans after two of four runs at the Sanki Sliding Center.
Hamlin, the 2009 world champion, is .216 ahead of the fourth-place luger but only .052 out of second-place Tatjana Huefner. Hamlin finished 12th and 16th at the 2006 and 2010 Olympics.
Natalie Geisenberger leads and is expected to slide to her second straight Olympic title. The other two Americans, Kate Hansen and Summer Britcher, are 10th and 15th.
Figure skating pairs short program, 10 a.m. ET -- CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE
Russia begins its quest to regain dominance in an event in which Soviet, Unified Team and Russian skaters won gold at every Olympics from 1964 through 2006. The 2010 Olympic podium included zero Russians.
This year, Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov are the gold-medal favorites, though not by as big of a margin as a few months ago. Stumbles at the Grand Prix Final and European Championships opened the door for Germans Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, the 2010 Olympic bronze medalists.
Savchenko and Szolkowy skate their short program at 12:25 p.m. ET. Volosozhar and Trankov go at 1.
The U.S. sends two pairs, Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir (10:55 a.m.) and Felicia Zhang and Nate Bartholomay (11:01 a,m.). Neither is expected to win a medal following the free skate Wednesday, extending an American pairs drought dating to 1988.
Women’s curling, U.S. vs. Great Britain, 10 a.m. ET -- CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE
The U.S. faces a measuring stick game against the gold-medal favorites skipped by Scot Eve Muirhead. Curling was founded in Scotland.
Erika Brown, 41, skips a U.S. rink on a mission for the first Olympic medal by an American women’s curling team. She competed in the 1988 Olympics at age 15, when curling was a demonstration sport.
Muirhead and Scotland are the reigning world champions and looking to win Great Britain’s first curling gold since 2002.
Men’s snowboard halfpipe, 12:30 p.m. ET -- CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE
Shaun White will attempt to become the first U.S. man to win the same Winter Olympic event three times. His biggest competition could come from Russian-born Swiss Iouri Podladtchikov, if they make it through earlier qualifying to the 12-man final.
White has dealt with crashes and injuries in the run-up to Sochi and in training at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, putting a little doubt into his favorite status.
Podladtchikov attempts a trick called the YOLO Flip, a cab double cork 1440, that White has added to his repertoire in the last year. However, Podladtchikov has not had a great success rate landing the trick cleanly. If he goes before White in the final start order and can’t put it down, perhaps White won’t have to attempt his 1440.
The other three Americans are medal threats -- Greg Bretz, who was 12th in Vancouver; Danny Davis, the reigning Winter X Games champion; and Taylor Gold, the older brother of women’s snowboarder Arielle Gold.
Keep an eye on Japan’s Ayumu Hirano, who took second to White at the 2013 Winter X Games as a 14-year-old.
Women’s ski jumping normal hill, 1:45 p.m. ET -- CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE
At long last, women will jump at the Olympics. A group of 30 will contest the final round under the lights at the RusSki Gorki Jumping Center, following a decade-long fight for inclusion alongside the men, who have been jumping at the Winter Games since the first edition in 1924.
The clear favorite is Japan’s Sara Takanashi, who is 5 feet, 100 pounds and 17 years old. She has won 10 of 13 World Cup events this season after taking silver at last year’s World Championships.
The gold medalist at those worlds was American Sarah Hendrickson, who blew out her right knee in a crash Aug. 21 and furiously rehabbed to make it back in time to compete. This will be her first competition this season, making her medal chances a bit unclear.
The other Americans are 2009 world champion Lindsey Van and U.S. Olympic Trials winner Jessica Jerome.