Day Five: Five things to watch in Sochi

by Dave Zarum, Sportsnet Magazine

OLY HKO Canada Women 20131223

1) It’s back: Hockey’s fiercest rivalry returns in time for breakfast, as the women’s sides of Teams Canada and USA face off in what is sure to be a preview of the gold medal game. Both undefeated thus far after two games apiece, the United States leads the tourney in goals (12) thanks to a 9–1 drubbing of Switzerland, while Canada is yet to allow a goal while scoring 8 on a ridiculous 111 shots on net. This is as close to must-watch as it gets. 7:30 a.m. EST

2) Yurkiw’s downhill debut: Nobody can accuse Owen Sound’s Larisa Yurkiw of taking the easy road to Sochi. After blowing out her left knee in ’09 just a year after winning the FIS junior championships, Yurkiw lost her spot on the Canadian ski team. It wasn’t until a month ago that she rejoined. After overcoming injury and independently raising funds for travel and training, she is looking to make a mark at her first Olympic Games. Of 42 participants, Yurkiw is the lone Canadian competing in the downhill, which is considered her strongest alpine discipline. 2 a.m. EST.

3) Curl on: After dropping two of their first three round robin matchups, Brad Jacobs’s rink will look to right the ship against the host Russians. On the women’s side, Jennifer Jones & Co. will square off against the impressive team from Great Britain in a matchup of undefeated rinks. 5 a.m. EST (women)/ 10 a.m. EST (men)

4) Crashpipe: After several snowboarders voiced concerns about the conditions and construction of the half-pipe at Rosa Khutor extreme park in Sochi’s Mountain Cluster ahead of yesterday’s men’s event, a whopping 34 riders crashed during competition (which, to be fair, didn’t hamper the entertainment value whatsoever). We’ll see how the women manage as they take to the park for qualifications, semifinals, and finals. All three medallists from the Vancouver Olympics—Australia’s Torah Bright (gold), and Americans Hannah Teter (silver) and Kelly Clark (bronze) will be competing. 5 a.m. EST

5) Pairs medals: Canada’s best hope for the podium in pairs figure skating, Meagan Duhamel and Scott Radford, currently sit in fifth, following Tuesday’s short program. Two other Canadian pairs will appear in the free skate finale: Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch (in sixth spot), as well Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers (in 13th).




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