What happened on Friday: Evgenia Medvedeva received most of the ladies’ figure skating publicity heading into PyeongChang 2018, but the 18-year-old Russian found herself upstaged by 15-year-old OAR teammate Alina Zagitova the past two days, as both executed stunning Free Skate routines on Friday. Judges gave both athletes a 156.65 score for their long program, but Zagitova’s 1.31 point lead from the Short Program was enough to push her to gold, with Medvedeva claiming silver. Read more about Zagitova’s qualities here.
South Korea’s women’s curling team, nicknamed the “Garlic Girls” because of the garlic-producing region they come from, will be playing for a gold medal after defeating Japan in a tense extra end. They’ll face Sweden, who had an easier time with Great Britain.
The men’s gold medal hockey game is set. OAR shut out the Czech Republic 3-0 to advance to Sunday’s final, while Germany surprised Canada with a 4-3 win in the other semi-final.
It’s been a tough couple of days for Canada on the ice, but they were just fine on the ski cross course, with Kelsey Serwa and Brittany Phelan finishing 1-2 in the big final.
The Netherlands’ Kjeld Nuis won his second gold of these Winter Olympics with a victory in the men’s 1000m speed skating final. He edged Norway’s Havard Lorentzen – the gold medalist in the 500m – by just 0.04 seconds.
Sweden closed out the final biathlon event of the Games with a gold medal in the men’s 4×7.5km Relay. Norway and Germany won silver and bronze.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH ON SATURDAY 24TH FEBRUARY 2018
1. USA vs. Sweden: The American men’s curling team looks to conclude its unlikely run to the finals with an even unlikelier gold medal against Sweden (15:35 local time – Gangneung Curling). They’ll have to perform better than when the two teams faced off in the round robin session, as the Swedes won the earlier game by a 10-4 margin.
2. The debut of the Alpine Team event: One of the new Olympic events for PyeongChang 2018 is the Alpine Team Event (11:00 local time – Jeongseon Alpine Centre), where sixteen teams, consisting of two male and two female skiers, compete in a knockout format on the slalom course. The first woman goes head-to-head against the other team’s first woman, with the winner of the race getting a point. The same goes for subsequent pairings. The team with the most points advances to the next round, unless both teams scored two points, in which the team with the fastest total time progress.
3. Men’s Big Air debut: The Alpine Team Event isn’t the only newcomer on Saturday as the men’s Big Air snowboard competition makes its first appearance in the Olympic program (10:00 local time – Alpensia Ski Jumping – Big Air). Canadian Slopestyle medalists Max Parrot and Mark McMorris have excelled in the discipline in other competitions, so look for them to lead the way in setting the bar for what should be an exciting new Winter Olympic event.
4. Men’s 50km Mass Start: It’s a long trek through the snow for these endurance skiers, who somehow manage to cover this distance in around an hour and 45 minutes. Canada’s Alex Harvey is the world champion in this event (14:00 local time – Alpensia Cross Country Centre), although he’ll likely be pushed by Norway’s Hans Christer Holund and Martin Johnsrud Sundby.
5. Last Olympic race for Pechstein?: Germany’s Claudia Pechstein has been competing in Olympic speed skating since before many of her competitors were born, starting with the Albertville Games in 1992. The 46-year-old will race in the ladies’ Mass Start (20:00 local time – Gangneung Oval) in what could be her final Olympics. Then again, we wouldn’t count out her showing up in Beijing and racing at 50 either.