What happened Wednesday: Shaun White earned redemption after a disappointing showing in Sochi, winning his third Olympic gold in the men’s halfpipe thanks to a final run that saw him execute back-to-back 1440s, the trick that landed him in hospital in October.
German lugers Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt won a second straight gold medal in the doubles. They’ll anchor a stacked roster in the team relay (see below) on Thursday. It was a solid night on the podium for the Germans, who added another gold to their tally when Eric Frenzel beat Japan’s Akito Watabe by 4.8 seconds to successfully defend the men’s Nordic combined title.
Speaking of impressive national performances, the Dutch added yet another speed skating medal to their collection as Jorien ter Mors set an Olympic record of 1:13.56 in the women’s 1000m. Her victory gives the Netherlands nine speed skating medals (five gold, two silver, and two bronze) from five events so far.
And the unified Korean women’s ice hockey team finished its Olympic schedule with a 4-1 loss to Japan. The combined North and South Korean team didn’t win any of its three games but will be remembered more for its combination of players than their performance on the ice.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH ON THURSDAY 15TH FEBRUARY 2018
1. Mikaela Shiffrin makes her PyeongChang debut, maybe?: The multiple medal favorite was supposed to make her 2018 Winter Olympic debut in the giant slalom on Monday. After strong winds on the course, the event was postponed to Thursday, leaving her to due to debut in the slalom on Wednesday. That didn’t happen either, once again due to adverse weather conditions that forced it to be rescheduled for Friday. So now we’re back to Shiffrin and the rest of the women’s field once again debuting in the giant slalom (10:00 local time – Yongpyong Alpine Centre). Unless of course, the weather decides not to cooperate again.
2. USA vs Canada women’s ice hockey: The two teams look to be on course for a third straight meeting in the gold medal game (and fourth in five Olympics). The stakes aren’t as high in their preliminary round matchup (12:10 local time – Kwandong Hockey Centre) as both teams will advance to the quarter-finals thanks to their two prior wins. In the two other Olympic tournaments where the U.S. and Canada played each other during the preliminary round, Canada won both games and then went on to win gold.
3. The conclusion of pairs figure skating: China’s Weinjing Sui and Con Hang own a small lead over OAR’s Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov following Wednesday’s short program. The 16 remaining pairs will take the ice again on Thursday for the free skate (10:30 local time – Gangneung Ice Arena), which will determine the medal winners. Look for Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, who currently sit in third place, to make a big push in this part of the competition. The duo won the pairs free skate during the team event earlier this week. The North Korean pair are also worth watching out for after making it through Wednesday with a personal best score to progress.
4. Team relay luge: This event debuted in 2014, with Germany winning the inaugural gold in Sochi. How does it work? The ladies’ single rider starts off and as soon as she hits a pad at the finish line, the male singer rider is given a signal that he must start. He repeats the process and then a doubles team takes off. The team with the fastest total time gets the gold medal. Germany are strong favorites to repeat, as Natalie Geisenberger won the women’s singles event earlier this week and teammate Felix Loch will be looking to avenge a mistake on his final run that pushed him out of medal contention in the men’s.
5. Women’s 10km cross country final: Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla won silver (2010) and gold (2014) in this event the past two Winter Games and will certainly be in the mix to medal again this time around. Look out for 37-year-old Marit Bjorgen of Norway, who will attempt to set another record and win the 12th Olympic medal of her illustrious career.