PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) – Figure skating may be over at the Pyeongchang Games, but don’t worry, there is still curling! And lots of other events to watch Friday at the Olympics. We’ve got the lowdown on what to look out for. (All times Eastern.)
Men’s Big Air final runs are at 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Watch for Mark McMorris of Canada , who suffered near-fatal injuries after hitting a tree on his snowboard less than a year ago and came back to win a bronze medal in slopestyle. Three Americans also qualified for the Big Air final: Kyle Mack, Chris Corning and Red Gerard , who won slopestyle gold.
Redmond Gerard, of the United States, jumps during the men’s Big Air snowboard qualification competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
In Big Air, the rider launches off just one very large jump and does tricks for the judges. Don’t worry if you don’t know a backside triple cork 1440 when you see it; most of us don’t either. (It means turning backward at takeoff, making three complete vertical flips in the air and rotating the snowboard four times, for the record.) Judges also are looking for how high riders get and whether they have a clean landing.
Fans of Alpine skiing will get to see a new race this year with the team event. Teams of four will ski parallel slalom courses in a knock-out format, alternating men and women. If both racers crash out, the one who made it the farthest down the hill will be declared the winner of that round. If each team wins two rounds, the winner will be named based on the fastest times. The final runs start at 9 p.m., with the medal race set for 10:34 p.m.
If you haven’t been watching biathlon, don’t miss it before the Olympics end. The men’s 4×7.5-kilometer relay will be at 6:15 a.m. Try to imagine the fitness required to sprint on skis, stop and lower your heart rate enough to shoot straight at five targets. Then do it all over again! There are mics at the shooting stations and you can hear how the athletes breathe in order to steady their hands. In the relays, athletes get three extra bullets, which they have to load by hand. If after using all eight they still haven’t hit all five targets, they must ski a 150-meter penalty loop. They hand off by making contact within a 30-meter transition zone.
The first two heats of the men’s four-man bobsled final will be at 7:30 p.m. and 9:07 p.m. In the bobsled, racers have to combine brawn with agility as they work to push the sled at the start and then pile in for the bumpy ride down the hill at speeds reaching 90 mph. The pilot in the front steers and the man in the back is in charge of slamming on the brakes at the finish. The other two just keep their heads down. All four runs count for the final score. Fun fact: The sleds go so fast that the course finishes on a steep uphill to slow them down.
After being shocked by a doping scandal , the curlers are trying to focus on the business of competition as the semifinals begin. Still unsure exactly what they are doing on the ice? In a nutshell, the teams are trying to get one of their stones closest to the center of the rings while blocking their opponents’. The team with the closest stone will get a point for each stone in the rings. Only one side can earn points in an “end,” or round. The brooms are used to reduce friction on the ice, which will make the stones move farther or in a specific direction. The women’s semifinals will be at 6:05 a.m. when South Korea faces Japan and Sweden faces the British team.
After a thriller of a finish in the women’s gold-medal game , when the U.S. beat defending Olympic champion Canada in a shootout, the men will take to the ice for the semifinals. The puck drops for Canada vs. Germany at 7:10 a.m.
The men’s 1,000-meter race will be held at 5 a.m. While the Dutch dominate in speedskating, they did not win gold medals in the team pursuit. You can still expect a lot of orange in the stands as their enthusiastic fans wave the color of their royal family. Watch for U.S. star Shani Davis . He was the first African-American to make the U.S. speedskating team and won gold at this distance in 2006 and 2010.
More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org
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