Winter Olympics Viewer's Guide: Wednesday, Feb. 19
Like hockey? Park yourself on the couch and check out all the men's quarterfinal action. The women's figure skating short programs will also commence today.
Trying to watch the Olympics? Even with NBCOlympics.com now streaming every event live online, the wild array of events can make the viewing experience a bit bewildering.
But we're here to help. Here's our chronological list of the events U.S. Olympic fans should consider watching, and where. All times Eastern and all events are live action unless otherwise noted.
If the Olympic hockey format was March Madness, Wednesday would be the opening round of the tournament with four quarterfinal games and non-stop action all morning.
Even if you're not a hockey fan, there are still plenty of other events to get excited about. Most notably, the women's figure skating short program competition kicks off.
At the end of Tuesday's competition, the USA was tied for first with the Netherlands at 20 medals apiece. Look for that to change on Wednesday.
-- Denotes a medal event
3 a.m. ET -- Men's hockey quarterfinals: Sweden vs. Slovenia, NBCSN: Sweden benefitted from a bye to the quarterfinals -- a result of easy group play. Slovenia, on the other hand, rocked Austria 4-0 on Tuesday in the qualifying round, continuing their surprisingly strong showing at the Olympics. Don't expect that same scoring barrage on Wednesday with Sweden's Henrik Lundqvist minding the net.
5:30 a.m. ET -- Men's giant slalom finals, second run, NBCOlympics.com: The first of two runs kicks off earlier in the morning (2 a.m. ET), and this event provides the American's a legitimate shot at an elusive alpine medal. This event is Ted Ligety's bread and butter. He's the defending World Cup champion in this discipline, but has yet to medal in his marquee event. Expect stiff competition from Austria's Marcel Hirscher.
5:35 a.m. ET -- Men's parallel giant slalom snowboard, NBCOlympics.com: Justin Reiter, who missed the last two Olympics due to injuries, has a real chance at bringing back some hardware for the USA. His likely biggest obstacle? Some Canadian boarders. A medal for Reiter would cap an incredible journey, who last year was living out of his Toyota Tundra.
7:30 a.m. ET -- Men's hockey quarterfinals: Finland vs. Russia, NBCSN: Basically, Russia has hardly lived up to expectations in the host country's biggest event. A 4-0 win over Norway on Tuesday certainly helps, but if Russia is going to avoid a national embarassment, it's going to need much more production from Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin in overcoming Finland's staunch defense.
8:30 a.m. ET -- Women's 5,000m speed skating, NBCOlympics.com: The Americans were never expected to challenge in this discipline, and given their very prominent struggles, don't expect a surprise medal here. Your contenders come down to the Dutch or Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic.
9:30 a.m. ET -- Biathlon mixed relay, NBCOlympics.com: It's the first time that men and women will compete together in the biathlon in Olympic history. The four-person teams (two men, two women) will cross-country ski across a course, stopping periodically to shoot their rifles. It's quite a spectacle, if you've never seen it. Norway and Russia are considered contenders.
10:00 a.m. ET -- Ladies' figure skating short program, NBCSN: For many, the ladies' short program is one of the most iconic events in all of the winter Olympics. The USA's best shot at a medal will ultimately be Gracie Gold, whose performance in last week's team competition was encouraging. Another storyline to track: How does 15-year-old Russian star Julia Lipnitskaia deal with all the attention? Lastly, don't discount 2010 gold medal winner Yuna Kim.
Noon ET -- Men's hockey quarterfinals: USA vs. Czech Republic, USANetwork: Team USA is rolling -- the Fighting Oshies garnered top spots on our power rankings -- and should be able to dispatch the Czech Republic, who advanced to Wednesday's game with a 5-3 win over Slovakia. Win and the USA could take on Canada in the semifinals.
Noon ET -- Men's hockey quarterfinals: Canada vs. Latvia, MSNBC: Latvia, after going 0-3-0 in group play, earned a surprising 3-1 win over the Swiss on Tuesday. Canada's offensive prowess may be too much for the Latvians to handle, although they've put up a fight in every game. If the Canadians win, it could set up a seismic semifinal against the Americans.
12:15 p.m. ET -- Women's bobsled finals, runs 3 and 4, NBCOlympics.com: The USA is in prime position to win a gold medal after the team of Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams posted the fastest aggregate time from Tuesday's first two runs. It would make major Olympic history if Williams won the gold medal, becoming the first female to win gold in both the Summer and Winter Games. The duo's 1:54.89 has them .23 seconds ahead of Canada's Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse, while Americans Jamie Greubel and Aja Evans are in third.
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