WHAT HAPPENED SATURDAY: Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla won the first gold medal of the PyeongChang Olympics with her victory in the women’s 15km skiathlon, finishing 7.8 seconds ahead of Norway’s Marit Bjoergen, whose silver gives her 11 total Olympic medals, the most in history for a female winter athlete.
Germany’s Andreas Wellinger took the men’s normal hill individual gold in ski jumping, with Polish defending champion Kamil Stoch finishing a surprise fourth and double world champ Stefan Kraft also outside the medals.
South Korea’s Lim Hyo-jun gave the host country its first gold medal of the Games, setting an Olympic record of 2:10.485 to edge world record holder Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands in the men’s 1500m short track speed skating final. It was an impressive day on the ice for the Dutch, who also swept all three medal spots in the ladies’ 3000m speed skating final. Carlijn Achtereekte took gold.
The unified Korean women’s hockey team took the ice for the first time ever in competition on Saturday, but the result wasn’t very harmonious, as they lost 8-0 to Switzerland.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH ON SUNDAY
1. Men’s downhill skiing final: A pair of Norwegians and a Swiss World Cup champion look to be the likeliest contenders to prevent Austria’s Matthias Meyer from becoming the first repeat winner in Olympic men’s downhill history. Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud and Aksel Lund Svindal, who finished third and fourth in Sochi, both appear to be in peak condition, with Jansrud posting the fastest time at an Olympic test event and Svindal currently second in the World Cup standings. The man he’s behind? 31-year-old Beat Feuz, who won this event at the World Championships in 2017. The cold, windy, and faster course (11:00 local time at Jeongseon Alpine Centre) will likely be a bit more treacherous than the one in Sochi.
2. The return of the Dufour-Lapointe sisters: Canadian siblings Justine, Chloe, and Maxime Dufour-Lapointe were one of the best stories of the Sochi Games, with all three competing in the freestyle skiing ladies’ moguls competition. Oldest sister Maxime, who finished 12th in 2014, didn’t qualify for PyeongChang as a competitor, but returning gold medalist Justine and silver medalist Chloe will continue with their second Olympic appearances on Sunday. Justine’s first qualification placement has already advanced her to the first final (21:00 local time at Phoenix Park), but Chloe will need to finish in the top half of skiers in the second qualification (19:00) to join her sister in the next round.
3. Tucker West’s medal quest: As a child, American luger Tucker West grew up practicing on a homemade track in the backyard of his family home in the state of Connecticut. All of those hours are paying off now, as the 22-year-old looks to translate several World Cup wins this season into Olympic glory. He’ll have tough competition from OAR athletes Semen Pavlichenko and Roman Repilov as well as Italy’s Dominik Fischnaller. The final two runs begin at 20:00 local time from the Olympic Sliding Centre.
4. More team figure skating: The standings in the team event (Canada currently leads after two events with 17 points) will likely be wildly different after three additional events are completed on Sunday. The program kicks off with ice dance short dance (10:00 local time – Gangneung Ice Arena) followed by the ladies single skating short program and pair skating free skate. Canada has a good chance of widening their lead early thanks to 2014 gold medallists Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue’s inclusion in the ice dance program.
5. U.S. and Canada women’s hockey in action: The two women’s hockey powerhouses won’t play each other until Thursday, but Sunday provides the first opportunity for fans to see each of the two teams who have played each other in the gold medal game in four of the past five Winter Olympics. The U.S. starts the action with a game against Finland (16:40 local time – Kwandong Ice Arena) while Canada play the Olympic Athletes from Russia in the second game (21:10 local time).