Sunday , February 11, 2018 - 10:00 PM
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — Don’t let the Monday blues get you down — the Olympics are going strong in Pyeongchang. Here are some things to watch for to take your mind off the weekday grind. All times Eastern:
The women will hit the halfpipe at 8 p.m. with the gold medal final run scheduled for 9 p.m. The heavy favorite is Korean-American Chloe Kim , who couldn’t compete in Sochi because she was too young. Just 17, she is the only X Games athlete to win three gold medals before the age of 16. Teammate Maddie Mastro also is only 17. They will be joined by veteran Kelly Clark, who is the most decorated Olympic snowboarder ever. At 34, she is competing in her fifth games. She just squeaked into the final, placing 11th of only 12 spots. Watch for the way the riders execute tricks, including rotations and grabs, while they propel themselves up off the 22-foot-high halfpipe wall . Judging is subjective, based on height, technique and degree of difficulty. There are six judges and the highest and lowest scores are dropped. Ranking is based on the highest score after two rides.
The men will hit the mogul hill looking for gold starting at 8:10 a.m. Mogul skiing is judged on style and skill as well as speed. Skiers use the bumps to make sharp turns while keeping to a fall line. Watch for flips, grabs or rotations in their two jumps off the “air bumps” on the slope. Current No. 1 Mikael Kingsbury of Canada finished first in qualifying. American Troy Murphy is in the medal hunt, coming in fourth in qualifying.
The women’s 1,500-meter race is at 7:30 a.m. The dominant Dutch painted the podium orange and swept the 3,000 on Sunday, but there are other contenders at the shorter distances, especially Japan’s Miho Takagi. Watch for the way the skaters kick their skates out at the finish. Times are marked when their skates, not their bodies, cross the line, so they push their feet forward instead of their chests like a sprinter would.
Women will take to the normal hill with the final round starting at 8:45 a.m. Jumpers are scored on two rounds and going the farthest isn’t enough — there are also points awarded for style. Women’s ski jumping became an Olympic sport four years ago in Sochi when American Sarah Hendrickson fought back from injury to get up onto the hill. She has endured four knee surgeries since then, but still hopes to contend.
In windy Pyeongchang, watch for points being added or deducted based on the wind. It is so windy on the ski jump hill that organizers put up giant netting at the back and side of the venue to cut it down. Ski jumpers want wind velocity below three meters per second, but the winds here are often three times that.
Both the men and women will race for medals in the pursuits. The women race at 5:10 a.m. and the men at 7 a.m. Pursuit begins with staggered start times, which are based on the results from earlier sprint races. After stunning upsets in the men’s race on Sunday, overall gold medal favorite Martin Fourcade will start the race 24 seconds behind the sprint winner. Johannes Thingnes Boe, who is ranked No. 2 in the world, had a terrible night so he will start the race 1:24 behind, essentially putting him out of medal contention. Racers shoot four times during the race, twice from the ground and twice standing. They take five shots per round. Watch for skiers to hit the 150-meter penalty loop if they miss a shot.
The first-ever medal in mixed doubles will be awarded after the 7 p.m. bronze-medal match.
Alpine fans may finally get a taste of Olympic racing when the men hit the hill for the downhill portion of the combined starting at 9:30 p.m. Medals in that event will be awarded after the slalom portion, which is set to start at 3 a.m. Tuesday.
Unfortunately for U.S. fans, Mikaela Shiffrin and the rest of the women were prevented from racing Monday because of high winds. The giant slalom has been rescheduled for Thursday. Shiffrin will now make her Pyeongchang debut on Wednesday in the slalom, in which she is the defending Olympic champion.
More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org
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