The last full day of events at the Sochi Winter Olympics will feature men's slalom and American Ted Ligety's pursuit of another gold medal. Other highlights for American viewers will be the men's hockey bronze medal game (USA vs. Finland), the first two runs of the four-man bobsled, the last day of snowboarding and speed skating competitions.
NBC will air a tape-delayed afternoon broadcast from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST and a prime-time broadcast at 8 p.m. EST. Its affiliate networks, including NBC Sports, MSNBC, and CNBC, will broadcast events throughout the day, and all events can be live-streamed by cable subscribers at nbcolympics.com.
American Ted Ligety goes for his second gold medal of Sochi and Bode Miller is also hoping for some Olympic hardware in the only alpine skiing event in which he hasn’t won an Olympic medal. The Americans have won five medals in Alpine Skiing at Sochi, including two golds, one by Ligety and the other from 18-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin in the slalom. Marcel Hirscher of Austria is favored to medal in this event because Hirscher is the World Cup leader in the event and also won it at the 2013 world championships.
Team USA wanted gold, but couldn't get past Canada. But a medal win on Saturday would be just the third time since 1980 that the United States has left the Olympics with a medal in men's hockey. Still, Finland won't be a pushover. This is the team that knocked Russia out of the competition in the quarterfinals. Finland will have Tuukka Rask (of the Boston Bruins) back in net again, and his performance (after a day off due to illness), is likely to be key to the outcome. 10 a.m. EST
Russia's Alexander Zubkov is the pilot on the team favored to win this event. Zubkov was the two-man gold medalist earlier in the Sochi Games. Russia has never won Olympic gold in four-man.
But American Steve Holcomb will also be pursuing a medal. You'll remember that Holcomb won gold in Vancouver, the first for the US in the four-man bobsled race since 1948. While the last two runs are on Sunday, it's likely that the winner will be clear Saturday. NBC coverage begins at 11:30 a.m. EST.
In 11 of the last 13 Olympic four-man competitions, the sled that has held the first-run lead has ultimately gone on to win the gold medal. A Slate magazine article calling the bobsled competition the "worst-designed sport of all time," observes:
The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation keeps detailed statistics back to 2005 for all Olympic and world championship events. In this time period, for all four-man, two-man, and two-woman bobsled competitions, the team ahead after the third run has won 100 percent of the time. The fourth run of an international bobsled competition, then, is the most meaningless event in all of sports—or at least tied for first in the meaninglessness rankings with every preseason NFL game. The team that’s leading after two runs has gone on to win 85 percent of the time, and even after one run the leading team wins 70 percent of competitions.
Team Pursuit Speed Skating
The good news for other nations is that it's impossible for the Dutch to sweep this event. The Netherlands has turned the individual speed skating races at the Sochi Olympics into a huge orange victory parade, winning 21 long-track medals. On Saturday, they are the favorites to add two more golds - one in men's and one in women's - team pursuit speed skating.
Figure Skating Gala
The competition is over, but for those who want to watch Charlie White and Meryl Davis skate at Sochi one last time, tune in at 12:30 p.m., EST.