American snowboarder Chloe Kim, 17, lived up to colossal pre-Olympic hype, winning gold in the halfpipe Monday night. “I told her, today is the day [she] will turn into a dragon,” her dad, Jong Jin, said, as Kim posted a huge 98.25 score in her final run, even though she had already clinched the gold. Kim gained more than 100,000 Twitter followers during her prime-time victory.
The Americans nearly swept the podium, with Arielle Gold landing in the bronze position and Kelly Clark (who is twice Kim’s age) in fourth at what are likely her final Olympics. China’s Liu Jiayu slipped in for silver.
In the men’s Alpine skiing combined event, Austrian Marcel Hirscher won an ambiguous gold medal. American Ted Ligety finished in fifth place, about half a second off the podium.
Tuesday morning saw a flurry of medal events. While there were a few Americans in medal contention (Erin Hamlin and Joey Mantia among them), the United States couldn’t find the podium. The host nation did, however, when South Korea’s Kim Min-seok finished the men’s 1,500-meter speedskating event in bronze position.
The U.S. women beat the Olympic Athletes from Russia in an exploratory round hockey game, 5-0, to secure a spot in the semifinals.
Prime time will look a trio of marquee events tonight. Pairs figure skating gets underway with the short program (8 Eastern on NBC). At 8:15 p.m. alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin tries to defend her gold in the slalom (second run is at 11:45 p.m.). In snowboarding, Shaun White looks for redemption after coming home from Sochi empty-handed. The next set of curling event also gets began, with the U.S. men playing Tuesday night (7:05 p.m.) and the women Wednesday morning (12:05 a.m.).
Also on Wednesday morning, men’s hockey gets underway. At 7:10 a.m., an almost entirely unknown U.S. team takes on Slovenia.
Five-time Olympian Kelly Clark, 34, just missed the women’s halfpipe podium, finishing in fourth place. These are almost certainly Clark’s last Olympics. She recognizes that her sport is progressing rapidly. “If I did the run I won with in Salt Lake [in 2002],” Clark said, “I wouldn’t even make a final today.” Chloe Kim, a snowboarder half her age, won gold for the United States. Fellow American Arielle Gold, 21, took bronze. Playing spoiler to an American sweep, China’s Liu Jiayu, 25, was the silver medalist.
In Austria, Marcel Hirscher is more famous than Kim — and perhaps anyone else. He’s the best male skier in a generation but had never won an Olympic gold until he did so last night in the men’s Alpine combined event. And, with the pressure off, he could very well walk out of PyeongChang with two more golds. Rounding out the podium were Frenchmen Alexis Pinturault (silver) and Victor Muffat-Jeandet (bronze). America’s top finisher was Ted Ligety — the 2006 Olympic champion in the event — in fifth, less than half a second off the podium.
Short-track speedskater Maame Biney didn’t make it out of the quarterfinals in the 500 meters. It was still a solid Olympic debut for the young American, though. She’s the first African American woman to compete in Olympic speedskating for the United States. (Erin Jackson skates in long track Saturday.) Italy’s Arianna Fontana won the gold (her sixth Olympic medal) after Britain’s Elise Christie crashed out and South Korean Choi Min-Jeong was disqualified. “I feel sorry for the fans of Korea,” Choi said.
In speedskating, neither American with a chance at a medal — Joey Mantia or Shani Davis — could make it happen in the men’s 1,500 meters. That left the Dutch to continue their dominance, in gold and silver position, with the host nation, South Korea, getting bronze.
Luger Erin Hamlin, who carried the U.S. flag at the Opening Ceremonies, was sitting in fifth going into the final run, but a few mistakes cost her a shot at the podium. Hamlin’s run came shortly after teammate Emily Sweeney took a gut-wrenching crash in the course’s notorious Turn 9. Sweeney eventually left under her own power. The Germans claimed the top two spots, with Natalie Geisenberger defending her Sochi gold and Dajana Eitberger taking silver. Canadian Alex Gough got bronze.
The snow fell hard on the cross-country course earlier this morning. The American women had a strong showing in the personal sprint — Jessie Diggins made it to the finals (Sophie Caldwell nearly did, too) but couldn’t quite get on the podium. Sweden’s Stina Nilsson was the victor. On the men’s side (also an individual sprint), American Simi Hamilton crashed out in the semifinals with YouTube sensation Johannes Hosflot Klaebo of Norway taking gold.
Mixed doubles curling also wrapped up, with Canada defeating Switzerland, 10-3, to win gold. The Olympic Athletes from Russia got the bronze.
Tonight’s prime-time trio includes Alpine skiing, snowboarding and figure skating.
To get a sense of just how dominant Mikaela Shiffrin is as a skier, check out the “By the numbers” section below. Slalom is her best event, and she has owned the discipline for going on five years. Statistically speaking, it would be surprising if she didn’t win. But the pressure is extremely high and skiing is fickle. If the weather cooperates, the first run is at 8:15 p.m. The second would begin at 11:45 p.m.
Four years ago, Shaun White left Sochi without gold three-peat. In fact, he didn’t get any medal. He’ll try to rectify that Tuesday night in men’s halfpipe. It helps that one of his top rivals, Switzerland’s Iouri Podladtchikov (nicknamed “I-pod”), withdrew from competition with lingering injuries from the X Games. White took benefit of that to win qualifying. But there are two riders right on his heels. Australian Scotty James qualified second. And Japan’s Ayumu Hirano, whose silver in Sochi made him the youngest snowboarder to ever win an Olympic medal, qualified third. The first run starts at 8:30 p.m., with the third and final run at 9:30 p.m.
It’s a rare night when figure skating might play third fiddle, but that could be the case as the pairs event gets underway tonight at 8 on NBC with the short program. The United States will put Alexa and Chris Knierim on the ice. While they helped their country to bronze in the team event, a medal here is likely out of reach. The favorites are Germany (Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot) and China (Sui Wenjing and Han Cong).
Curling’s main events start tonight and into the morning. The U.S. men play at 7:05 tonight and the women at 12:05 a.m. on Wednesday morning.
We get our first look at the U.S. men’s hockey team Wednesday. The NHL is sitting out the Olympics for the first time in 20 years, throwing the PyeongChang tournament into flux. The little-known group of Americans has had only six hours and 15 minutes of official practice time together. The United States will take on Slovenia in preliminary round play (7:10 a.m. on NBCSN). At the same time, The Olympic Athletes from Russia, who are gold medal favorites, face Slovakia on USA Network.
In 1,000-meter speedskating, American Heather Bergsma looks to recover from Monday’s disappointing finish in the 1,500 meters. She is reigning world champion in the event and should contend for gold. But you can never count out the Dutch in speedskating. The event starts at 5 a.m.
Luge doubles begins at 6:20 a.m. Watch for Germany (including defending Olympic champions Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt, the “Two Tobis”) to contend for at least one medal. Matthew Mortensen and Jayson Terdiman are the top team for the United States.
There are also Nordic combined (3:45 a.m.) and biathlon (6:05 a.m.) medal events Wednesday morning.
Mikaela Shiffrin goes for gold tonight in the women’s slalom. We take a look a just how dominant of a skier she is.
22 — Shiffrin’s age (her birthday is March 13).
41 — Total World Cup events Shiffrin has won. That makes her the second-winningest skier in American history (after Lindsey Vonn).
30 — World Cup victories of hers that have come in slalom. That’s more than half of the World Cup slalom events she has ever raced (58).
3.07 — Seconds by which Shiffrin won a 2015 race. It’s the largest margin of victory in the history of World Cup women’s slalom.
4 — Straight World Cup slalom titles.
4 — World championship medals (three slalom gold, one giant slalom silver).
1 — Overall World Cup title (likely another this season, too).
1 — Olympic medal (gold in slalom at the Sochi Games). She looks to add to that Tuesday night.
American Emily Sweeney took a nasty crash in Turn 9 of the luge course. Fortunately, she walked to the medical center under her own power.