PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — Facing your first Sunday Funday of the Winter Olympics and wondering what to watch? Don’t worry, we are here for you. (All times Eastern.)
It aches the knees just to watch, but be sure to catch women’s mogul skiing. The gold medal run will be at 8:10 a.m. The field is open and three of the U.S. contenders managed to qualify for the finals. American Jaelin Kauf, who is the child of two professional mogul skiers, certainly has the genes to perform well.
The women’s snowboarding slopestyle final run is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. All 27 athletes will have a chance to ride for the gold after high winds canceled Sunday’s qualifiers. American Jamie Anderson is the returning champion and the heavy favorite, but she will face stiffer competition than she did in Sochi. Judging in slopestyle is subjective, with nine judges looking at tricks and “impression.”
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For early risers in North America — or those up super late — the men’s 5,000-meter speedskating event starts at 2 a.m. As in track and field, athletes will skate counterclockwise around a 400-meter track 12½ times. Watch how the skaters trade lanes every lap to keep their distances equal. The Netherlands dominates at speedskating and this event is no exception. Even the Canadian contender Ted-Jan Bloemen is a dual citizen who was born in the Netherlands. You can’t miss their enthusiastic fans decked out in orange, the color of the Dutch royal family.
Need even more adrenaline? The first medals in the heart-stopping sliding sport of luge will be awarded after the final men’s single runs, which start at 6 a.m. A favorite is Germany’s Felix Loch. When he won this event in 2010, he was only 20 and became the youngest ever to take home the gold. Watch how the racers use spiked gloves at the start to launch themselves down the track. With speeds hovering around 90 mph, times can be so close that speed is measured to the one-thousandth of a second!
The men’s 10-kilometer biathlon sprint will be at 6:15 a.m. Biathletes need incredible cardiovascular fitness to be able to sprint on cross-country skis and then stop suddenly to shoot targets. Scandinavian countries dominate the sport — the only Winter Olympic event in which the U.S. team has never won a medal.
Prime time in North America will feature more team action with the free skate. The men will take the ice at 8 p.m. and the women at 9:10 p.m., which is actually early Monday in South Korea. The time difference means skaters will be performing at a time they are usually practicing.
After all the focus on the combined team from South and North Korea at the start of the tournament, the favorites in the women’s hockey get underway with the U.S. against Finland and Canada up against the Russians. Canada beat the U.S. women 3-2 in overtime in the final four years ago in Sochi to win the Olympic gold. The puck drops on the U.S.-Finland match at 2:40 a.m. The Canadians will take the Russian team at 7:10 a.m.
China and Norway will play a tiebreaker match in mixed doubles at 6:05 a.m. The early U.S. fan favorites, Wisconsin brother and sister Matt and Becca Hamilton , were eliminated early but will each play with the traditional single-gender teams later in the week.
Bad news for Alpine skiing fans. The men’s downhill was postponed until Thursday because of strong winds on the mountain. Alpine skiing should hand out its first medal Monday in the women’s giant slalom.
More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org/