PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — There is a lot going on in Pyeongchang on Day 6 of Olympic competition. We’re breaking down the highlights so you won’t miss the best parts. All times Eastern.
The men will take the ice just in time for prime time in North America at 8 p.m. No, that is not a coincidence. The men’s short program has a number of strong contenders this year, but whatever you do, do not miss U.S. phenom Nathan Chen . The 18-year-old is being touted as perhaps the greatest athlete to don figure skates — ever. Speculation has swirled around him since he was 10, but this is his first Olympics.
What makes him so spectacular? It is all about the quads, or quadruple jumps. Watch how the men take off from one foot and make four full rotations before landing. Chen has been landing five quads in his long program this year. For reference, the top four men in 2014 each landed one. In 2010? Not one. That said, he is not unbeatable. He has stumbled in competition and is not noted for his artistic performance, which is still a key element in how figure skating is judged.
Watch how the racers jockey for position through tight turns and jumps to be the first one to the bottom. The motocross feel has given the sport a dangerous reputation since crashes are common. U.S. racer Nick Baumgartner is competing in this event for the third consecutive Olympics. The women will take the course and start their seeding and elimination runs until a 10:56 p.m. final.
If that doesn’t seem dangerous enough for you, the team relay luge will be run at 7:30 a.m. Each team runs three sleds: a women’s single, a men’s single and a men’s double. Watch for the riders to touch a target overhead to open the gates for the next sled. It is trickier than it sounds considering they are wearing spiked gloves and it is not part of a normal luge run. Everyone begins at the women’s start and timing is continuous.
And for the true thrill seekers, there is skeleton. Unlike in luge, racers begin the course standing and gather speed by running alongside their sleds. Then they jump on head first, tucking their arms back and hurl themselves down the track in the ultimate “Look, Ma, no hands!” move. They steer with subtle moves of their feet. Look for the racers’ colorful helmets and the suits the British racers are wearing, which some have said put them at an advantage. The final heat will be at 9:15 p.m.
Don’t worry — there is more curling. The women play at 6:05 a.m. with the U.S. facing Switzerland and Canada up against Sweden. Watch for any extra tension between historical rivals South Korea and Japan. At 7:05 p.m., the men play with the U.S. facing Sweden. The Norwegians and their fancy pants will face host South Korea. The women will play again just after midnight Saturday.
Will they or won’t they? The frigid start to the Pyeongchang Games forced a compressed schedule for Alpine skiing. If they ski Thursday, there will be lots to watch with the women’s slalom first run at 8 p.m. and the final at 11:15 p.m. Watch for the tight, sharp turns around single poles that distinguish this event. The men’s super-G, which uses the wider double gates, is set for 9 p.m.
The men’s 10,000 meters is at 6 a.m. Watch the way the racers take long sweeping strides to keep their skates in contact with the ice as much as possible. They bend almost in half and keep their arms behind their back to maximize aerodynamics. After all that, though, they kick their skates out across the finish at the very end because that is how their time is calculated. The Dutch will be looking to maintain their sweep of the gold medals.
The preliminary round of the men’s hockey tournament continues after some upsets in early play. Host South Korea will take on the Czech Republic and Canada plays the Swiss at 7:10 a.m. The U.S. men play Slovakia at 10:10 p.m.
For more AP Olympic coverage: https://www.wintergames.ap.org
This story has been corrected to show that men’s 10,000-kilometer speedskating race is at 6 a.m. Eastern time, not 10 a.m. Eastern.