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7 to Watch: Battle for Gold

For Americans, Friday in Pyeongchang is full of questions:Can Mirai Nagasu, Bradie Tennell and Karen Chen recover from a disastrous opening night in the women’s individual figure skating competition? Can 35-year-old Shani Davis turn back the clock and deliver one more golden performance in his signature event? If the best hockey players in the world were in the Olympics, would Team USA still be playing? Must See Olympic Video: Chloe Kim Lands Back-to-Back 1080s, Wins Olympic Gold Here are the events you need to see over the next 24 hours in Pyeongchang: 1.  Russians Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva Battle for Gold Must See Olympic Video: Snowboarder Lands on Back in Crash Heading into the women’s individual figure skating competition, most people thought a Russian would win. Halfway through, the question is, which one?Eugenia Medvedeva won the last two world championships and was expected to win gold in Pyeongchang. But after the short program, she trails 15-year-old teammate Alina Zagitova, who dazzled with a record-setting 82.92-point performance. Medvedeva’s routine earned 81.61 points, good for second place. Both Russian athletes are competing as Olympic Athletes from Russia because Russia is not allowed to compete as a team due to a doping scandal. Must See Olympic Video: Watch All 3 of Shaun White’s Gold Medal Runs If Zagitova keeps the top spot, she’ll become the second youngest woman to win figure skating gold. Tara Lipinski was also 15 when she won the gold medal at the Nagano Olympics, but Zagitova is 25 days older than Lipinski was on Feb. 20, 1998.The Americans will try to play spoiler, but they’ll have to recover from a disastrous night during the short program. Mirai Nagasu, who became only the third woman to land a triple axel in Olympic history earlier in the Pyeongchang Games, fell when she tried the jump on Tuesday. Her teammate Bradie Tennell fell on a triple lutz to triple toeloop combination, while Karen Chen placed a hand on the ice to brace herself coming out of a triple lutz. Nagasu, Chen and Tennell finished ninth, 10th and 11th.The combined scores in the two programs will determine the medals.Watch live during NBC 7’s primetime coverage beginning at 5 p.m. PT Thursday or on digital platforms at this link. 2. In Shani Davis’ Signature Event, Netherlands Expected to DominateThe 1000-meter sprint is Shani Davis’ event. He won gold medals in the event in 2006 and 2010. His world record time of 1:06.42, set in 2009, still stands.But it’s been nearly a decade since Davis, one of America’s greatest speedskaters ever, turned in those record-setting performances. Does the 35-year-old have one magical performance left?The favorite is not Davis but Kjeld Nuis of the Netherlands, the gold medalist in the 1,500-meter last week and winner of two world titles in 2017. Nuis made his Olympic debut in Pyeongchang.In fact, Davis isn’t even America’s best hope. Joey Mantia is considered America’s contender. Mantia finished 8th in the 1500-meter last week, and edged out Davis in the Olympic qualifying race in January.Watch live on NBCSN at 2 a.m. PT or on digital platforms at this link.3. France’s Greatest Olympian Aims for Another GoldIn Pyeongchang, Martin Fourcade has established himself as France’s most successful Olympian ever.When he anchored the mixed biathlon relay team to a come-from-behind victory on Tuesday, he became only the second athlete from France to win three gold medals at a single Winter Games. His five gold medals overall — the mixed relay, a photo finish in the 15-kilometer mass start and the 12.5-kilometer pursuit, plus gold in the individual and pursuit events in 2014 — are the most ever by a Frenchman.He has a chance to add one more gold to the list, in the men’s 4×7.5km biathlon relay.After Tuesday’s win, according to Reuters, he sent a message to French skier Mathieu Faivre, who was sent home by the French Alpine team for saying he did not care about the medals won by his teammates.“I wanted this team medal, it’s such a different emotion from an individual medal,” he told French television. “This is an individual sport, and to win as a team is something beautiful, even if everyone cannot participate.”In the final relay, France will face stiff competition from Norway, led by Johannes Thingnes Boe and Tarjei Boe. Germany and Austria could also be in contention.Watch live at 3:15 a.m. PT Friday on digital platforms at this link, or watch on NBC’s daytime coverage on Friday at noon PT. 4. “Red Machine” Battles for First Medal in 16 YearsWhen NHL players started competing in the Olympics, it was a boon for many countries.Superstar goaltender Dominik Hasek led the Czech Republic to gold in 1998, the first Olympics with NHL players.Mario Lemieux, Eric Lindros and Chris Pronger played on Canadian teams, and the country won gold in three of the last four Olympics.Teemu Selanne led Finland to medals in three consecutive Olympics.But it hurt the Russians, who managed a silver in 1998, a bronze in 2002 and nothing since.Now, with the NHL out of the Olympics, the Russians are looking to get back in the medal race — even if they can’t compete under their own flag. Playing as the Olympic Athletes from Russia because Russia is not allowed to compete as a team due to a doping scandal, the Russians have reached the semifinals. A win against Czech Republic will clinch at least a silver medal. Two more wins will give the Russia its first gold since it played as the post-Soviet Unified Team in 1992.The Czech Republic knocked out the United States in the quarterfinals, 3-2. Canada, going for its third consecutive gold medal, faces Germany in other semifinal.Watch OAR vs. the Czech Republic live at 11:40 p.m. PT on Thursday on NBCSN or on digital platforms at this link.Watch Canada vs. Germany live at 4:10 a.m. PT on Friday at on NBCSN or on digital platforms at this link.5. Four Months From Major Injury, Canadian Skier Looks for Repeat GoldWhen Marielle Thompson ruptured her ACL and MCL ligaments in her right knee in an October training accident, she thought her season was done, along with her hopes of a repeat Olympic gold medal.Thompson won gold in the women’s ski cross in Sochi four years ago. Now, just four months after having her knee surgically repaired, Thompson is trying to win gold again. Nobody knows if she’ll be able to do it.On Monday, she took a few training run on the Olympic course at Phoenix Snow Park in Pyeongchang. She said they were her first serious runs since the accident in October.“I couldn’t take the smile off my face, from the bottom, all the way up the lift,” she told the National Post. “It was nice just to get back out there and put down a couple of solid runs.”Still, without any real competition for four months, Thompson isn’t considered a medal favorite; Sweden’s Sandra Naeslund and Switzerland’s Fanny Smith are the favorites. No Americans are expected to contend for a medal. But you can’t count out the defending champion.Watch live on Thursday at 5 p.m. PT on digital platforms at this link. 6. Curling Explained with LegosThe U.S. has never contended for an Olympic gold or silver medal in curling as they now will against Sweden on Feb. 24.Team USA is headed to its first-ever men’s curling gold medal game, following a historic upset victory against Canada, the three-time defending Olympic champions and 2017 World Champions.For those who didn’t practice curling by throwing rocks in their back yard as a child, the rules around the game can be confusing. We asked Team USA’s Matt Hamilton to bring the sport down to its basic level by explaining it using Legos. Watch the clip and impress your friends with all of your new-found curling knowledge! 7. Poor Sportsmanship or Passionate Reaction? The most controversial moment at an Olympic medal ceremony in the 2018 Winter Games came Thursday when a Canadian hockey player took off the silver medal just seconds after it was placed around her neck.U.S. women had just beaten Canada Thursday 3-2 in the first shootout in an Olympic women’s hockey final, snapping the Americans’ 20-year gold medal drought and ending Canada’s bid for a fifth straight title.Defender Jocelyne Larocque was criticized on Twitter for poor sportsmanship while some felt sorry for her.Watch the clip and judge for yourself. Photo Credit: Getty Images This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.
Source: NBC San Diego

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