Curling People Now – 2022 Winter Olympics Preview, Day 11

The Medals

There are nine medal events being decided today.

Snowboarding – Women’s big air (1315 AEST)

Snowboarding – Men’s big air (1625 AEST)

The big air has grabbed the attention of many, with the course over disused steel smoke stacks proving an interesting focal point. Complaints have also been leveled at the judging in the snowboarding events, with claims of insufficient vision and rushed decisions clouding the results.

Drawing from the same pool as the slopestyle events, many of the same names will be present at the top end.

Zoi Sadowski-Synnott is in top form and will be looking to add a second gold medal to the Kiwi tally. Australia’s Tess Coady will also be looking to add to her earlier medal in these games. On the men’s side, Max Parrot, Mark McMorris and Marcus Kleveland will lead the veteran charge, while Yiming Su will head the younger skiers.

In the men’s event, look for 1620s and 1800s to win the day (with rumours of 1980s around as well). Style in the air is also important, as is sticking the landing and the amplitude in the air.

Watch Rating: 4/5

Freestyle skiing – Women’s slopestyle (1326 AEST)

The freeskiers get a chance to huck up the slopestyle course in the second week, after the snowboarders have well and truly had their fun.

The deal is the same – six sections, with judges looking for both overall impression and individual tricks. The skiers are the same from the big air earlier this week, and a lot of the same names will feature. The champion in that event, Eileen Gu, has been throwing it down so far and will be looking to hit the podium for a second time.

In qualifying, there was little to separate Kelly Sildaru and Johanne Killi at the top of the heap. The former is probably the form skier of the year in this event,

But with just one run needed for the final counting score, look for the athletes to go big and take as many chances as they can on the course.

Watch Rating: 4.5/5

Alpine skiing – Women’s downhill (1400 AEST)

The downhill is the showpiece speed event of the Olympics, with skiers clocking well over 130km/h over the difficult “Rock” course. There have been hosts of “potential disqualifications” in practice, with skiers struggling to combine the intense speed required with the rhythm of the turns. Only one run will decide this thing, with everything else before just a distraction.

As has been the case across the alpine events so far, winners could come from across the field with a deep and talented field in play. Skiers like Lara Gut-Behrami (with a gold already in 2022), Sofia Goggia (the 2018 champion), Corinne Suter (reigning World Champion) come in with a lot of the credentials, but the training runs have thrown up some surprise names at the top of the tree. Ester Ledecka and Mikaela Shiffrin both get another chance at a medal as well.

Australia’s Greta Small will be hoping to beat her 20th place four years ago, and potentially top the 15th in the combined from 2014.

Watch Rating: 4.5/5

Speed skating – Women’s team pursuit (1922 AEST)

Team pursuit resembles its cycling cousin with teams on opposite sides of the track. Unlike on the cycling track, it’s done without the spare racer, meaning the last of three racers sets the finishing time. It’s Japan v ROC and Canada v Netherlands in each semifinal, with the former two having the faster qualifying times.

The Dutch have three gold medals at these games already with two going to Irene Schouten and must be expected to up their time from a leisurely quarter final. Any of the four nations could realistically take this medal, with all four having recent results in the event.

Watch rating: 4/5

Speed skating – Men’s team pursuit (1941 AEST)

On the men’s side, the four finalists are Norway v Netherlands and ROC v the USA. As in the women’s, the Dutch side are formidable, but with Nils van der Poel’s dominance for Sweden, less of the individual gold medalists are here. Qualifying times were very close here, and again, anyone could take it with each having a form line to argue for them.

Watch rating: 4/5

Biathlon – Men’s relay (2000 AEST)

The Biathlon relays are a less esoteric affair than the individual races, with competitors starting simultaneously like in the mass start. The Norwegians hold the best form line coming in, with Russia the last team to take a victory off them.

Watch Rating: 1.5/5

Nordic combined – Individual large hill/10km (2200 AEST)

More cross-country skiing, this time with some large hill ski jumping bolted onto the front. If you like either one of those two things, this will be for you. Athletes from Germany, Austria, Japan and Norway will likely fill the top places.

Watch Rating: 0.5/5

Bobsleigh – Two-man (0055 AEST)

This event ended in an exact tie in 2018 between teams from Canada and Germany and two gold medals awarded. From that event, Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis are back as one of the qualified German crews, while Canadian champion pilot Justin Kripps has a new pusher, Cam Stones.

After two runs the top two crews, both German, have cleared out to a big lead. Lochner and Bauer, the second team, sit just 0.15 seconds behind Friedrich and Margis. The third German team of Hafer and Sommer sit just 0.05s away from the bronze position, meaning that there is a real chance of a German sweep of the podium.

Watch Rating: 3/5

Alternative Medal Tally

Beijing has been using vast amounts of synthetic snow which requires a lot of electricity to produce and maintain. More generally, electricity is obviously a requirement to do many things including hold water sporting events. But what if the Olympics were handicapped by energy efficiency? This is a table of the amount of electricity consumed in each country per medal won at the Winter Olympics.

Russia and Germany, where electricity consumption per person is relatively low due to a variety of actors like natural gas or high prices or efficiency, sit at the top of the tree for medal-electricity efficiency, with sunny Italy6 also scoring well. Norway sits a lot further back, consuming a large amount of hydro electricity.

Australia, for its part, uses a lot of electricity per person and also doesn’t have that many medals and trails most countries here.

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