Archive for the ‘What to Watch’ Category

The IOC might be feeling the wrath of the world’s top snowboarders if they don’t change the halfpipe in time for Tuesday’s event. The Russians are giving Norway a run for their money with new curling pants, and U.S. skier Julia Mancuso ended up with a bronze in combined. Here is what you missed while you were sleeping.

Snowboarders upset by condition of Olympic halfpipe
Interesting story from Yahoo Sports: Snowboarders are calling the Olympic halfpipe “garbage” and “unsalvageable” ahead of the men’s qualification on Tuesday. These riders chose to stay anonymous, but Danny Davis of the United States did not waste any time letting the world know how he feels, calling it a “lame showcase” of the sport. The IOC had to postpone their practice, according to Yahoo, because of the halfpipe issues after temperatures in Sochi began to climb.

“The IOC probably didn’t want to pay the right guys to do it,” Davis said to Yahoo. “I’m pretty sure what they’re focused on is keeping as much money in their hands as possible. That’s the shame of it all. All these kids, myself included, worked very hard to get here. And then the pipe is just no fun and boring and [expletive]. Halfpipe is super fun. But riding a crappy pipe and having to perform in it is the worst.”

Gold-medal favorite Shaun White also weighed in, albeit with less intense words.

“Today, they made the walls better so everybody lands [correctly],” he said, USA Today. ”But in the flat bottom, where they cut it, it’s like a bump, so everyone is riding along and then hits the bump, and that’s really not very good.”

Canadian men start Olympic curling defense on a winning note
Germany was initially giving the Canadian rink led by Brad Jacobs a run for their money, but the defending Olympic champions (who were led by Kevin Martin in 2010) ended up with the 11-8 win. At least we were all introduced to Germany fourth Felix Schulze who looks like Ben Affleck/Matt Damon/Seth McFarlane depending on who you ask.

Which is great, and everything, but let’s talk pants. Specifically Russia’s pants. Even though they did not win, they are winning the pants war. At least until Norway shows up to play the U.S. at 10 a.m. ET.

Jennifer Jones and the Canadians also won their first game of the Olympics, defeating China 9-2, while the United States was not so lucky and fell to Switzerland.

Mancuso settles for bronze in combined
After an impressive downhill portion of the super combined, it looked like Julia Mancuso was going to get a shot at gold, if all went well in the slalom. But defending world and Olympic champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch, who was sitting in fifth in the downhill, ended up posting a 50.90 run in the second half to take gold. Mancuso was awarded the bronze after posting a 52.47 run, 2.37 seconds behind the best slalom time.

Canada’s Marie-Michele Gagnon fell during her run after hitting a gate left for a clinic, her arm in a sling, with an apparent shoulder injury.

Coming up
For the rest of the day, here are events you don’t want to miss:

9 a.m. ET (NBCSN, TSN2)

The three medalists from 2010 are all back in the race: South Korea’s Mo Tae-bum (who won gold last time), Japan’s Keiichiro Nagashima (silver) and teammate Joji Kato (bronze).

American Shani Davis is a pro at 1,000m and already has two gold medals from 2010 and 2006, but the 500m could be a challenge for him. He only ended up with a spot in the event because Jonathan Garcia was disqualified at the trials for forgetting to put on his timing transponders. And in Vancouver, he decided not to race in the 500.

10 a.m. ET (CBC)

Finland was expected to put up more of a fight against the United States in their opener on Saturday, but then the Americans scored 53 seconds in and never looked back en route to a 3-1 victory. Considering Finland came into the tournament as the underdog, their game against Canada on Monday will be very telling when it comes to their Olympic future.

1 p.m. ET (CBC)

Canada could see another gold and silver run at the podium in the men’s moguls on Monday. Defending champion Alex Bilodeau is facing some stiff competition from teammate Mikael Kingsbury, who won the world championship last year.

Find the daily schedule of events here.

View the full TV schedule: U.S., Canada.

Reuters/Dylan Martinez

The United States claimed the first gold of the Olympics, thanks to snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg. Finland was expected to put up a fight in women’s hockey, but that didn’t really happen. And is there another figure skating scandal on the horizon? Here is what happened while you were sleeping.

U.S. wins gold in snowboard slopestyle debut
And we have our first medal of the Olympics. U.S. snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg won gold on his first slopestyle run of the final with a 93.50 score. Canada’s Mark McMorris struggled at the beginning, but bounced back with a performance worthy of the bronze medal. The 20-year-old came in as the gold-medal favorite, but also broke his rib a week before the Olympics. So not too bad, considering. Norway’s Staale Sandbech finished with silver after a second-run score of 91.75.

Saturday also simultaneously marked the debut of Olympic knitting. Just a heads up. Sharpen those needles.

Finland can’t handle U.S. in women’s hockey opener This was over quickly. The U.S. team managed to score a mere 53 seconds in on the first shot of the game against Finland and held on to a 3-1 victory. It was a very different result than Finland’s 3-1 upset of the U.S. at the Four Nations Cup last year, when goaltender Noora Raty made 58 saves. Raty was still on her game Saturday, making 40 saves, but the rest of the Finnish team only managed 15 shots on goal. And the U.S. managed to win despite apparently being harassed by the Sochi bear mascot.



L’Equipe report claims Russia, U.S. has a deal to fix figure skating
It’s not the Olympics without some sort of strange figure skating controversy. Even if this ends up being some kind of hoax, it’s a little strange. French newspaper L’Equipe says a senior Russian coach told them that the United States and Russia have banded together to fix the results of the figure skating in Sochi. The source said, via Google Translate, that the U.S. would help the Russians win the team trophy with their vote, and in return, the Americans would get help with the ice dance. Judges are not allowed to talk to the media when these events are going on, so it will be difficult to get a confirmation (or more likely, a denial) from anyone involved. This could get weird.
Coming up
For the rest of the day, here are three events you don’t want to miss:

6:30 a.m. ET
Dutch speed skater Sven Kramer is the defending gold medalist and always worth watching – just last Olympics, he was disqualified from the 10,000m after a lane change gaffe, which cost him the gold medal. Now he is back for his third Olympics and looking for three gold medals.

9:30 a.m. ET
It’s a busy day for the team event – we have the ice dance short, ladies short and pairs free. It will also be the Sochi debut of Canada’s favorite figure skaters, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. Ashley Wagner will also skate for the United States in the ladies short, and the team event is apparently part of the reason why the U.S. decided to pick her for the last spot instead of third-place nationals finisher Mirai Nagasu.

1 p.m. ET
U.S. skier Hannah Kearney is the favorite for gold, but she has the  Dufour- Lapointe sisters on her back, and they are making the moguls final extra interesting this year. Imagine an all-sister sweep. In reality, it looks like Chloe and Justine are expected to finish second and third, respectively, but you never know with the Olympics. The last sister, Maxime, qualified in eighth place.


6:30 a.m.
Speed skating: M 5000m

8 a.m.
Hockey: W (CAN-SWI – Q)

8:45 a.m.
Freestyle skiing: W Moguls

9:30 a.m.
Figure skating: Dance short, L short, Pairs free (Team)

9:30 a.m.
Biathlon: M 10km Sprint

11 p.m.
Freestyle skiing: W Moguls

Find the daily schedule of events here.