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The first full day. The first medals. The 2018 Winter Olympics begin in earnest Friday for those inside United States, which will be actually Saturday in South Korea.
Don’t be confused by NBC showing the opening ceremonies at 8 p.m. ET. of which’s on a 14-hour delay. however you won’t miss much if you watch of which—just some round-robin action in curling’s mixed doubles event along having a bit of snowboard slopestyle qualifying.
If you’d like to see the first medal event, either set your alarm or get comfortable with your caffeinated beverages of choice. You might see a bit of U.S. history. Then be sure to stick around for one of the marquee events for South Korean fans—short-track speedskating—in which you’ll almost certainly see some milestones.
There are a few medals at stake on Day 2: biathlon, cross-country skiing, short-track speedskating, ski jumping along with speedskating.
Here are the top stories for U.S. viewers to watch by Friday evening into Saturday morning.
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No U.S. woman has ever taken an Olympic medal in cross-country skiing or biathlon.
however until last year, no U.S. woman had ever taken a World Championship medal in biathlon, the sport of which combines cross-country skiing along with shooting.
Susan Dunklee changed of which having a silver inside mass start race last year, adding to her collection of World Cup podium finishes. She hasn’t had a strong season however will relish the first of several chances to end Team USA’s Olympic drought inside 7.5-kilometer sprint, which uses a time-trial format in order of which athletes are racing the clock rather than each various other.
Cross-country skier Jessie Diggins has had a terrific season, taking third overall inside Tour de Ski along with winning a 10-kilometer freestyle race in late January. The skiathlon (half classical style, half freestyle) isn’t her best event, however she has finished inside top a few on the earth Cup circuit along with comes into South Korea on a roll.
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Remember the 2002 World Cup in men’s soccer when South Korea, the host nation, scored a goal against the USA along with celebrated by mimicking a skater? of which was a protest, months after the fact, of a decision to disqualify Korean skater Kim Dong-sung along with award a gold medal to the USA’s Apolo Anton Ohno. Yes, South Korea loves short-track, so of which’s safe to say the Gangneung Ice Arena will be rocking.
along with barring a late change inside roster, we should get a chance to see Maame Biney (of which’s MAH-may bye-knee), the 18-year-old by Ghana by way of Virginia who will be the first African American skater to compete at the Games. She’s set to race inside early round of the women’s 500 meters.
Biney isn’t a medal favorite, however inside topsy-turvy, crash-filled world of short-track skating, you never know. She’s eighth in This kind of season’s World Cup standings, along with she finished third in This kind of event at the 2017 World Junior Championships.
How did she take up short-track? According to her International Skating Union bio, she was going too fast for figure skating.
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The last race on the short-track schedule of Day 2, the men’s 1,500-meter final, may also be the USA’s best chance for a medal anywhere on This kind of first full day of Olympic competition.
J.R. Celski includes a long list of career accomplishments. He has three Olympic medals: two by 5,000-meter relays along with one by the 1,500 meters in 2010. He finished fourth inside 1,500 at the 2014 Olympics, along with he has nine World Championship medals.
The 27-year-old Californian has persevered through many injuries, starting having a gruesome cut in 2009 (see the video if you’re not squeamish). After the 2014 Sochi Games, he took some time to get surgery on his labrum along with recover.
He’s in Great form This kind of season, setting a personal best inside 1,500 of 2 minutes, 10.937 seconds, in October, along with he finished third in This kind of event at the last World Cup stop in Seoul.
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Remember the guy by the Salt Lake 2002 Olympics who looked a bit like Harry Potter along with won both individual ski jumping events? Switzerland’s Simon Ammann shed the glasses along with did of which again in Vancouver in 2010, giving him four gold medals in North American Olympic ski jumps. He’s still competing.
however at 36, he’s still a youngster compared to Japan’s Noriaki Kasai. The 45-year-old will be set to jump in his eighth Winter Olympics.
The top contenders are all a bit younger. Poland’s Kamil Stoch, who won both individual events in Sochi, will be the earth Cup leader at age 30, closely followed by 26-year-old German Richard Freitag along with 22-year-old German Andreas Wellinger. however Ammann includes a knack for peaking at the Olympics, along with he finished third along with fifth in his last two World Cup jumps before the Olympics.
Kasai finally won his first individual Olympic medal in 2014, taking silver on the large hill just a short distance behind Stoch. He also has team medals by 2014 along with 1994, when he was merely a 21-year-old in his second Olympics. Little wonder he has inspired a couple of tribute songs, most recently by a Polish rapper.
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The 2014 Olympics had 10 individual long-track speedskating events along with two team events. of which adds up to 32 medals (three in each individual race, one in each team event).
The Netherlands won 23 medals of those, including eight of the 12 golds.
however the Dutch haven’t been dominant in This kind of World Cup season inside first race on the Olympic program, the women’s 3,000 meters. Irene Wust, who won This kind of event in 2006 along with 2014, was third along with sixth in her two World Cup starts. Canada’s Ivanie Blondin leads the standings, just ahead of Czech legend Martina Sablikova.
The USA was shut out of the medals in long-track skating in Sochi. This kind of event isn’t likely to end the drought, even though the top American will be herself a former Dutch skater, Carlijn Schoutens.