Press "Enter" to skip to content

7 to Watch Friday: Curling, Closing and Who's Already Bolted?

The U.S. men’s curling team, coming off back-to-back Olympics finishing near the bottom of the tournament, looks to complete a stunning turnaround by winning its first-ever gold medal.Teenager Red Gerard, who won America’s first gold in Pyeongchang, looks to add more hardware to his collection. Must See Olympic Video: Chloe Kim Lands Back-to-Back 1080s, Wins Olympic Gold Snowboarder Ester Ledecka, who shocked everyone (including herself) by winning a skiing gold medal, will try to match it with a medal in her native sport.There will be plenty of excitement in Pyeongchang on Saturday (starting Friday night in the U.S.). Here are our must-watch events:  Must See Olympic Video: Snowboarder Lands on Back in Crash 1.  Team USA’s Curlers Sweep on for GoldFour days ago, the men’s U.S. curling team was near the bottom of the round robin standings with a 2-4 record, needing three consecutive wins — including a win against arch-rival Canada, a team they’d never beat in the Olympics — to have a chance at advancement. Must See Olympic Video: Watch All 3 of Shaun White’s Gold Medal Runs What a difference four days make.The Americans beat Canada, won their next two games, then beat Canada again to advance to the gold medal match for the first time ever.The United States will face Sweden for the gold.“It’s unbelievable,” said John Landsteiner, one of Team USA’s four curlers. “I think we are going to play even better (in the gold medal game), because there’s pressure of ‘what if we get fourth?’ (or) ‘what if we walk away with nothing?’ With that pressure gone and the desire to get gold over silver, I’m excited for what that game is going to be like.”Sweden will be a tough match. The Swedes beat Switzerland 9-3 in their semifinal to reach this game and beat the Americans 10-4 early in round robin play.No matter what happens, this will be American’s best-ever finish in Olympic curling. Team USA won bronze in 2006 but finished 10th and ninth in the last two Olympics.Watch live at 10:35 p.m. PT Friday on NBCSN and digital platforms at this link.2. Red Gerard Tries to Bookend Pyeongchang in GoldRed Gerard won America’s first gold medal. Can he win one of America’s last, too?Gerard won gold in the men’s slopestyle on Feb. 11. He then flew back to the United States, appeared on a handful of national TV programs, flew back to South Korea, and qualified for the big air snowboarding final.“There were a ton of people coming up to me in the States, that’s when I realized the viewing is much more than just the snowboarding community,” Gerard told USA Today. “It’s a world thing.”Can the 17-year-old win another gold?Canadians Max Parrot and Mark McMorris, who finished just behind Gerard for silver and bronze in slopestyle, will be his biggest competition in the big air, an event making its Olympic debut in Pyeongchang. Parrot was the first ever to land a quad underfed in a competition. McMorris, back after a horrific, life-threatening crash into a tree while snowboarding, won bronze medals in slopestyle in Sochi and Pyeongchang.Chris Corning, a silver medalist at last year’s world championships, and Kyle Mack, who won bronze medals in both slopestyle and big air at the 2015 World Championships, could also make the podium for the United States.Watch live on NBC 7’s primetime coverage beginning Friday at 5 p.m. PT or on digital platforms at this link.3. Make Way for the Mass of SkatersSpeedskating takes on a whole new look with the Olympic debut of the mass start.Out is the usual format, in which pairs of skaters race around the oval. In is the mass start, of up to 24 competitors race at the same time.“Mass start’s amazing because as soon as you cross the line, you know who first, second and third are,” said Joey Mantia, a medal favorite for Team USA in the men’s event. “It’s easy to follow. It’s just traditional racing.”Mantia won the event at the 2017 world championships, but he should get stiff competition from South Korea’s Lee Seung-hoon, a three-time Olympic medalist who switched from short track.In the women’s race, Americans Heather Bergsma and Mia Manganello, who both won bronze in the team pursuit, will be competing. South Korea’s Kim Bo-reum, who also switched from short track, and Germany’s Claudia Pechstein could also contend for medals.“I really enjoy it because you have to have a tactic with it,” Bergsma said. “Not only the fastest person wins. Someone can break away from the group, or it can be an end sprint. You never know.”Watch live on digital platforms at 3 a.m. Saturday PT at this link or watch coverage on NBCSN at 6:30 a.m. PT Saturday.4. Shiffrin, Vonn, Ligety? Nope, Not This TimeA new Olympic event teams up each country’s best skiers, letting them compete as a team to try to win gold.One problem: The sport’s biggest stars are passing on it.Americans Mikaela Shiffrin (gold and silver medals in Pyeongchang), Lindsey Vonn (bronze medal) and Ted Ligety all said they will not compete in the alpine team event. Austria’s Marcel Hirscher (two gold medals) is passing. Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal (gold medal) and Kjetil Jansrud (silver, bronze) are skipping it too.The reason why? The skiing World Cup season resumes in Europe next week and most of the top skiers have bolted from Pyeongchang to prep for it.In the team event, 16 countries are represented by four skiers each, and they compete head-to-head in an elimination-style tournament.Instead of Shiffrin, Vonn and Ligety, who have eight Olympic medals between them in their careers, the U.S. will be represented by the likes of Tricia Mangan. The Dartmouth student was a late addition to the U.S. Olympic team, and fell in her only event, the giant slalom. The rest of the U.S. team hasn’t been announced.Watch live during NBC 7’s primetime coverage beginning at 5 p.m. PT Friday, or on digital platforms at 6 p.m. PT at this link.5. Ledecka Goes for Historic Double GoldEster Ledecka entered Pyeongchang hoping to become the first woman to compete in both skiing and snowboarding at the Olympics. She could leave as the first woman to win gold medals in both.Ledecka, from the Czech Republic, has won world championships in parallel slalom and parallel giant slalom snowboarding. But she didn’t begin skiing competitively until 2016, and entering these Olympics, she wasn’t expected to compete for a medal. She entered the super-G ranked No. 43 in the world, and then shocked everyone – including herself – but winning it, finishing .01 seconds ahead of defending golding medalist Anna Veith.During her victory press conference, she refused to remove her ski goggles.“I was not prepared to be at this ceremony, and I don’t have any makeup,” she explained.It would shock nobody if she medals in the parallel giant slalom, though. She’s been one of the best in the world at this event for years, winning a gold medal at last year’s world championship.Russia’s Alena Zavarzina, who won bronze in Sochi in 2014, and Germany’s Ramona Hofmeister will be among Ledecka’s biggest competition. No Americans are competing in the event.Watch the qualifying rounds live on Friday at 4 p.m. PT on digital platforms at this link.Watch the elimination rounds live on Friday at 8:30 p.m. PT on digital platforms at this link.6. Nagasu Thought of Skate as ‘Dancing With the Stars’ AuditionAfter making Olympic history as the first U.S. woman to land a triple axel during the figure skating competition, Mirai Nagasu is looking forward to new opportunities, which might include “Dancing With the Stars.”The figure skater who helped win a bronze in the team event mentioned to reporters how she went into her free skate program thinking of it as an audition for “Dancing With the Stars,” which has featured other American figure skaters, like Evan Lysacek.”I thought of today as my ‘Dancing with the Stars’ audition, that’s what [teammate] Adam [Rippon] told me to do,” Nagasu said. “So I tried to smile as much as I could even though I popped the triple axel.7. Jessie Diggins Named US Flag Bearer for Closing CeremonyJessie Diggins has one more big Olympic moment awaiting her. Diggins — who thrust herself across the finish line to give the Americans a dazzling gold medal in the cross-country team sprint — has been selected as the U.S. flagbearer for Sunday night’s closing ceremony at the Pyeongchang Games. She’s the first cross-country skier to carry the U.S. flag into an Olympic ceremony since Bill Koch did the honors at Albertville’s opening in 1992.Watch her interview on Today here.Photo Credit: NBCOlympics 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

Be First to Comment


    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Call Us