What to watch: Day 11

February, 21, 2010

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- On this, George Washington's birthday, the American team has medal hopes in ice dance. The second week of Olympic competition also kicks off with women's hockey semifinals, where the U.S. and Canada look to continue their dominance.

Hockey: Women's Semifinals, USA vs. Sweden and Canada vs. Finland
The women's hockey tournament moves from the small arena at the University of British Columbia to the big arena at Canada Hockey Place for Monday's semifinals. The two 800-pound gorillas in this tournament, Team Canada and Team USA, have thus far outscored their opponents 41-2 and 31-1, respectively, in three games of pool play. It seems they are on a collision course, but in this short tournament, anything can happen. In Torino, Sweden conjured a semifinal shootout victory over the U.S. to earn a spot in the final against Team Canada. Tomorrow, Team USA is hoping for redemption, while Team Canada will try to earn the right to defend its gold on home soil.

Figure Skating: Ice Dance Free Dance
Russian pair Oksana Domnina and Maksim Shabalin led the competition after the compulsory dance. That was no surprise. Teams from Russia or the former Soviet Union have won seven of the nine Olympic gold medals awarded in ice dancing. But for the first time in Olympic history, a trio of North American pairs is threatening the Russian dominance of the sport. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada are in first place after Sunday's original dance competition, while U.S. pairs Meryl Davis and Charlie White, and Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, sit in second and fourth. With the competition this close, all four teams are likely to pull out all the stops on the final night of competition. But with the competition this close, they have little room for mistakes.

Freestyle Skiing: Men's Aerials Qualification
On Monday, the U.S. team begins its attempt to redeem itself after the first medal-less performance since the event was added to the Olympic lineup in 1994. In Torino, medal hopes Ryan St. Onge and Jeret "Speedy" Peterson failed to land on the podium, but they return in hopes of reclaiming the medals they dropped in Torino. Peterson hopes to finally land his signature trick, the Hurricane, in Olympic competition. He attempted the much-talked-about trick -- a dizzying combination of five spins and three flips -- in his final run in 2006, but failed to land it and was knocked from third to seventh place. This is Peterson's third Olympics and he hopes, for the first time, he does not leave empty-handed.

Ski Jumping: Men's Team Finals
Four years ago in Torino, the Austrian team won its first gold medal in ski jumping. Now, fielding its strongest team yet, it is favored to repeat here in Vancouver. Led by Gregor Schlierenzauer, who won a record 13 World Cup events and the 2009 World Cup title, the Austrian team will be tough to out-jump. Finland, Norway and Japapn also brought strong teams here to Vancouver and could surprise the Austrians. The U.S. has won only one Olympic ski jumping medal -- a bronze in 1924 -- and is one athlete short of the four required to compete in this event.

Alyssa Roenigk

ESPN The Magazine senior writer
Alyssa Roenigk is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com whose assignments covering action sports, Olympics and football have taken her to six continents and caused her to commit countless acts of recklessness. (follow @ESPN_Alyssa on Twitter).




You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?