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Daily Olympic Briefing: Skiing, snowboarding events highlight Day 2 viewing schedule

Daily Olympic Briefing: Skiing, snowboarding events highlight Day 2 viewing schedule
Posted at 5:00 PM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-05 19:21:10-05

Each day of the 2022 Winter Games, NBC Olympics will run down every sport in action, highlighting the biggest athletes and marquee events. Every single event streams live on NBCOlympics.com, the NBC Sports app and Peacock, and many are also on the TV networks of NBC. Visit the Olympic schedule page for listings sorted by sport and TV network. All times listed below are Eastern Time on the night of Saturday, Feb. 5 or the morning of Sunday, Feb. 6.

Alpine Skiing

Alpine Skiing: Men's Downhill
All events also stream live on Peacock
Event Time (ET) How to Watch
Men's Downhill 🏅 10:00 p.m. NBCOlympics.com, NBC

Norwegian Aleksander Aamodt Kilde is the favorite in the men’s downhill, one of the marquee events of the Winter Olympics.

Traditional Alpine powers also boast medal contenders: Austria (2014 Olympic champ Matthias Mayer and 2021 World champ Vincent Kriechmayr) and Switzerland (Beat Feuz and Marco Odermatt).

The U.S. has long-shot podium threats in Ryan Cochran-Siegle, Bryce Bennett and Travis Ganong on a track nobody has raced before.

But between this race and the first men’s cross-country skiing event, this should be a day that Norway accelerates its march to yet again top the medal standings.

Norway, with the population of South Carolina, is widely seen as the model winter sports nation. Media have cited its unique sport development philosophy – parent-supported local clubs where kids aren’t ranked nor encouraged to specialize until middle-school age.

But Norway hasn’t always been the best. The Olympic nadir came in 1988. It won zero gold medals, and just five total medals, at the Calgary Games.

“I remember it very well, because I had one of the best days of my life. I got a bronze medal there,” said Vegard Ulvang, who cross-country skied at the Olympics in 1988, 1992 and 1994. “I was very happy with my own results, but the team was called a disaster.”

I asked Ulvang, who since retiring in 1997 held roles with the International Ski Federation, how Norway became the world’s best winter sports nation.

“That’s a long question with a lot of answers,” he said.

One of them came later in 1988. The charming village of Lillehammer was awarded the 1994 Winter Olympics over Östersund, Sweden, and Anchorage, Alaska.

That was huge for Norway, which doesn’t have the university sports system of the U.S. nor the government or military athlete backing of Central European nations.

“When I remember my preparation for the 1988 Olympics, there's no question we were amateurs,” Ulvang said. “We were waxing our skis ourselves. We had one coach.”

Money began pouring in. A program called Olympiatoppen – loosely translated to Olympic Summit – centralized elite sport.

The snowball kept rolling. The Soviet Union and East Germany earned the most medals at the 1988 Winter Games, but were gone by the next Olympics in 1992.

Norway thrived, particularly in cross-country skiing. Ulvang and Bjorn Daehlie each won three golds and a silver in Albertville, France. Those were also the first Olympics for Alpine skier Kjetil Andre Aamodt and speed skater Johann Olav Koss, who similarly became icons.

“Heroes,” Ulvang said. “A lot of guys showing the way, which again is bringing us new skills and new recruitment.”

Starting in 1992, Norway’s rankings in total medal standings at the Winter Olympics: 4, 1, 2, 3, 6, 4, 3, 1.

Kilde, the world’s top male downhill skier, is a product of the Nor-way. He skied daily after school, venturing out to a hill next to his house. He played soccer until 16 and even now plays hockey in the offseason with Aamodt.

Cross-country skier Johannes Hosflot Klaebo, who could win a record six medals, comes from a parent-run sports club. He has a legendary coach: Kaare Hosflo, his grandfather.

Klaebo also represents a shift, Ulvang said. He is from Norway’s fourth-largest city of Trondheim. As are recently retired Olympic champions Petter Northug and Emil Hegle Svendsen.

“If I go back to the ‘80s, the biggest recruitment to skiing came from the countryside,” said Ulvang, who is from a town 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle. “Most of the best skiers now come from the big cities. We need snow production systems. We need facilities to train. We need all this stuff, which you don't find in the small villages.”

Every single athlete mentioned so far in this story is a man. In 1992 and 1994, Norwegian men won 40 of the nation’s 46 medals. A recent surge from women put the nation over the top.

By 2014, Norway won 12 of its 26 medals in women’s events. In 2018, its biggest star was a woman – cross-country skier Marit Bjorgen, who broke the record for most career Winter Olympic medals (held by another Norwegian).

Figure Skating

Figure Skating: Team Event
All events also stream live on Peacock
Event Time (ET) How to Watch
Women's Short Program 8:30 p.m. NBCOlympics.com, NBC
Men's Free Skate 10:45 p.m. NBCOlympics.com, NBC

The U.S. surprisingly leads the team event through three of eight programs and could stay ahead of the favored Russian Olympic Committee after the women’s short program and men’s free skate.

ROC is expected to top the women’s short with individual gold-medal favorite Kamila Valieva. But American Karen Chen, fourth at last season’s world championships, could finish second to keep a one-point lead.

The U.S. has yet to name its men’s free skate entry, but Nathan Chen and Vincent Zhou are ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in the world this season. The U.S. needs a cushion because ROC has the edge over the last three programs on Monday.

Snowboard Slopestyle

Snowboard Slopestyle
All events also stream live on Peacock
Event Time (ET) How to Watch
Women's Final 🏅 8:30 p.m. NBCOlympics.com, USA
Men's Qualifying 11:30 p.m. NBCOlympics.com, USA

Jamie Anderson bids to become the first snowboarder to win three consecutive gold medals. At 31, she would also be the oldest Olympic snowboarding champion. Anderson is one of three Americans in the 12-woman final, joined by Julia Marino and Hailey Langland.

But the favorite and top qualifier is Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, who can become New Zealand’s first Winter Olympic gold medalist. Two weeks ago, she became the first woman to land back-to-back 1080s in slopestyle.

Freestyle Skiing

Freestyle Skiing: Women's Moguls
All events also stream live on Peacock
Matchup Time (ET) How to Watch
Women's Qualifying 5:00 a.m. NBCOlympics.com
Women's Finals 🏅 6:30 a.m. NBCOlympics.com, USA

France’s Perrine Laffont looks to avoid the fate of fellow defending moguls gold medalist Canadian Mikael Kingsbury, who was relegated to silver. Like Kingsbury, Laffont has recently been challenged after years of dominance.

Japan’s Anri Kawamura, 17, leads the World Cup in moguls wins this season and hopes to break Laffont’s record as the youngest Olympic freestyle skiing champion. Australian Jakara Anthony is the other podium favorite, though the entire American team is right behind.

Luge

Luge: Men's Singles
All events also stream live on Peacock
Event Time (ET) How to Watch
Run 3 6:30 a.m. NBCOlympics.com
Final Run 🏅 8:15 a.m. NBCOlympics.com

Favored German Johannes Ludwig leads after the first two of four runs by a scant .039 of a second over Wolfgang Kindl. Kindl looks to make it two straight Olympic men’s luge golds for Austria after David Gleirscher’s upset title in 2018.

Felix Loch's bid for a third Olympic singles gold shifted to a fight for bronze. He's a significant .382 seconds behind countryman Ludwig, and .078 seconds behind Italian Dominik Fischnaller for third.

American Chris Mazdzer, the surprise silver medalist in 2018, is out of the medal mix in 9th.

Cross Country Skiing & Ski Jumping

Cross-Country Skiing / Ski Jumping
All events also stream live on Peacock
Event Time (ET) How to Watch
Cross-Country: Men's Skiathlon 🏅 2:00 a.m. NBCOlympics.com, USA
Ski Jumping: Men's Normal Hill Final 🏅 5:00 a.m. NBCOlympics.com

In 2018, the men’s skiathlon set the tone for Norway’s overall dominance. Simen Hegstad Kruger fell and broke a ski pole one minute into the race. He passed some 60 skiers to take gold as part of a Norwegian medals sweep.

Krüger will not defend his title after a COVID-19 positive last week. The stage is instead set for the first showdown of these Games between friendly rivals Klaebo and Alexandr Bolshunov of the Russian Olympic Committee.

Norwegians Marius Lindvik and Robert Johansson went 1-2 in the men’s normal hill qualifying round heading into the final. Japan’s Ryoyu Kobayashi, who won this season’s prestigious Four Hills Tournament, had the best jump in the trial round. World Cup leader Karl Geiger struggled through training and qualifying rounds.

Casey Larson was the top American in qualifying, making the final in 41st place (triple Olympic champion Kamil Stoch of Poland was only five spots higher). The U.S.’ lone Olympic ski jumping medal is from the first Winter Games in 1924.

Speed Skating

Speed Skating
All events also stream live on Peacock
Event Time (ET) How to Watch
Men's 5000m 🏅 3:30 a.m. NBCOlympics.com, USA

Dutchman Sven Kramer won the 5000m at the last three Olympics, but he’s an underdog to make the podium, let alone become the first Winter Olympian to win an individual event four times. Kramer, a 35-year-old in his last Olympics, had back surgery last year and was third at the Dutch Olympic Trials.

The new favorite is Swede Nils van der Poel, who has two things going for him in speed skating: the world record and a Dutch grandfather. After placing 14th in 2018, he went nearly three years between racing, enlisting in the military and doing ultra running.

Curling

Mixed Doubles Curling: Round Robin
All events also stream live on Peacock
Matchup Time (ET) How to Watch
USA vs Czech Republic 8:00 p.m. NBCOlympics.com, CNBC
USA vs Switzerland 7:00 a.m. NBCOlympics.com

Americans Vicky Persinger and Chris Plys are 3-3 with three round-robin games left. The top four of 10 nations qualify for the semifinals, so even a 5-4 record might not cut it. The U.S.’ three remaining round-robin opponents include the 2018 Olympic silver medalist (Switzerland) and 2021 World champion (Great Britain).

Hockey

Women's Hockey: Preliminary Round
All events also stream live on Peacock
Matchup Time (ET) How to Watch
China vs Japan 3:30 a.m. NBCOlympics.com
USA vs Switzerland 8:00 a.m. NBCOlympics.com, USA

The U.S. women will clinch one of the top two spots in their group with a win over Switzerland. Canada will also clinch a top-two spot if it beats Russia on Monday. That would guarantee that the U.S. and Canada, which meet in group play Tuesday, would not play each other in the playoff round until the final.

SEE MORE: Knight takes charge as U.S. shuts out ROC to stay unbeaten at 2022 Winter Olympics