Day 10: What to watch

February, 20, 2010

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Sunday's North American hockey showdown between Team Canada and Team USA will grab most of the headlines, but it's not the only game in town. Here are our picks for the top events to watch:

Alpine Skiing: Men's Super Combined
This race, which combines the speed of downhill with the precision of slalom, was originally scheduled for this past Tuesday but was postponed because of snow. Sunny skies are in the forecast for Sunday, as skiers gear up for one run of downhill and one run of slalom at Whistler Creekside. American Bode Miller looks to earn his third medal -- and the U.S. Ski team's eighth -- in the event. He'll see stiff competition from Ivica Kostelic of Croatia, Austria's Benjamin Raich, Switzerland's Carlo Janka and super-G winner Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway. American Ted Ligety, who took home a surprise gold in this event in Torino, is also racing.

Two-Man Bobsled
Four more sleds -- from Canada, Australia, Great Britain and Liechtenstein -- crashed in the opening heats of the men's two-man bobsled on Whistler's ultra-fast track on Saturday night. Germany 1, piloted by defending champion Andre Lange, is in first place heading into the medal races Sunday afternoon, with countryman Thomas Florschuetz just 0.11 of a second behind. Russian Alexsandr Zubkov, American Steven Holcomb and Ivo Rueegg of Switzerland round out a tightly stacked top five. Holcomb, who nearly flipped his sled midway through his first run, is just 0.12 of a second out of medal position.

Figure Skating: Ice Dance Original Dance
Two American teams are within striking distance of a medal going into the second phase of the ice dance competition Sunday afternoon at Pacific Coliseum. Meryl Davis and Charlie White are in third place, while teammates Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto are fourth. Russia's Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin are in the lead, with Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada in second. The original dance counts for about 30 percent of each team's overall score, with about 20 percent based on Friday's compulsory dance and about 50 percent on Monday's free skate.

Men's Ski Cross
The fact that U.S. athletes Casey Puckett and Daron Rahlves, the only members of Team USA, are competing Sunday morning is a story in itself. Puckett separated his left shoulder in a World Cup race in January and reinjured himself in a qualifying run at the Winter X Games two weeks later. The next day at Winter X, Rahlves dislocated his right hip for the fourth time in his career. Prior to this injury, Rahlves said the fastest he'd recovered from a hip dislocation was two months. This time, he had 21 days. Coming into the Games, Puckett and Rahlves, both former Olympic alpine skiers over the age of 35, were heavy medal favorites. Surprisingly, they still are.

Men's Ice Hockey: Russia vs. Czech Republic, Canada vs. USA, Sweden vs. Finland
Sunday's tripleheader is the best day of hockey at these Games that won't result in the awarding of a medal. All three tilts are huge rivalries, and they're also rematches of the past three Olympic gold medal games. Canada versus the U.S. and Sweden versus Finland are obvious border wars, while the Russian rivalry with the Czech Republic dates back to the former's occupation of the latter 40 years ago. But forget politics. These games pit skill against skill. Ovechkin vs. Jagr. Brodeur vs. Miller. Forsberg vs. Selanne. Grab your cowbells and hold on to your hats, this is going to be fun.

Speedskating: Women's 1,500m
Canadian fans are expecting nothing less than their first multiple-medal performance in Sunday's race at the Richmond Olympic Oval. Christine Nesbitt, the 1,000-meter gold medalist, is the obvious favorite for gold, but she has a fierce-but-friendly rivalry with countrywoman Kristina Groves in this event. Both have won a pair of 1,500m World Cup races this season. The only other skater to win one is Dutchwoman Ireen Wust, who also took bronze at the 2006 Olympics. She, along with Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic, will try to spoil Canada's party. However, if the home crowd is as inspiring as it's expected to be, a Canadian sweep is not out of the question. Winnipeg's Brittany Schussler is also a threat.

Lindsay Berra is an avid CrossFitter and a national correspondent for Follow her on twitter @lindsayberra.



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