A guide to the Vancouver Olympic events: Los Angeles Times favors Gretchen Bleiler to win Ladies Halfpipe
A listing of dates, venues, key competitors and predictions on who will bring home the medals.
Men, Feb. 16-27
Best of the U.S.: John Shuster is the only returning member to the U.S. team, which won the bronze four years ago. The U.S. finished fifth at the world championships; most expect them to finish in the middle of the pack.
Best of the rest: Curling is a niche sport almost everywhere but Canada. But the Brits won the world championship last year and could unseat the defending champions.
Prediction: 1. Canada. 2. Britain. 3. Norway.
Women, Feb. 16-27
Best of the U.S.: Look for the women to also finish in the middle of the 10-team round-robin tournament.
Best of the rest: If the Canadians waver, the up-and-coming Chinese will be ready to pounce.
Prediction: 1. Canada. 2. China. 3. Sweden.
— Chris Erskine
Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver
Men, Feb. 16, 18
Best of the U.S.: One of strongest U.S. men’s team’s ever, with 2006 veterans Evan Lysacek and Johnny Weir, who finished fourth and fifth in Turin, and Jeremy Abbott, winner of last two U.S. titles. Lysacek is reigning world champion and Grand Prix Final winner.
Best of the rest: Three former world champions from Europe (Evgeny Plushenko of Russia, Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland and Brian Joubert of France), plus 2009 world silver medalist Patrick Chan of Canada and two strong Japanese, Daisuke Takahashi and Nobunari Oda, join the U.S. trio in making this an extraordinarily competitive event.
Prediction: 1. Plushenko, Russia. 2. Lysacek, U.S. 3. Takahashi, Japan.
WOMEN, FEB. 23, 25
Best of the U.S.: For the first time since 1994, the U.S. women earned only two Olympic spots based on results at the previous year’s worlds. Rachael Flatt, 17, and Mirai Nagasu, 16, won those spots, but neither is favored for a medal.
Best of the rest: If Kim Yuna of South Korea skates error-free, this will be a walkover. Her rivals include two Japanese world champions, Miki Ando (2007) and Mao Asada (2008), the only woman here doing triple axels.
Prediction: 1. Kim, South Korea. 2. Ando, Japan. 3. Asada, Japan.
PAIRS, FEB. 14, 15
Best of the U.S.: Two teams from Florida are representing the United States. No chance for either to win the first U.S. pairs medal since 1988; if either Caydee Denney/Jeremy Barrett or Amana Evora/Mark Ladwig make the top eight, that would be a triumph.
Best of the rest: Germans Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, winners of last two world titles, looked like a lock when the season began, but they struggled to second at recent European Championships. Could legendary Russian coach Tamara Moskvina have her fifth Olympic champion team in emigre Yuko Kavaguti (known as Kawaguchi in her native Japan) and Alexander Smirnov, extending Russia’s Olympic pairs win streak to 13?
Prediction: 1. Shen/Zhao, China. 2. Savchenko/Szoklowy, Germany. 3. Kavaguti/ Smirnov, Russia.
DANCE, FEB. 19, 21, 22
Best of the U.S.: The country that has won just two ice-dance medals in the nine Olympics the event has been on the program suddenly is a power. In Meryl Davis/Charlie White, the reigning Grand Prix champions, and Tanith Belbin/Ben Agosto, reigning Olympic and world silver medalists, the U.S. has a shot at its first Olympic gold.
Best of the rest: All eyes will be on reigning world champs Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin to see if they have changed their controversial “aboriginal” costume in the short program (one report has them doing so). In this most subjective discipline of a subjective sport, look for the judges to give love to the hometown team of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.
Prediction: 1. Davis/White, U.S. 2. Virtue/Moir, Canada. 3. Domnina/Shabalin, Russia.
— Philip Hersh
Pacific Coliseum (Vancouver)
Best of the U.S.: Apolo Anton Ohno wants to add more gold to his “Dancing With the Stars” title. He won the 1,500 (2002) and 500 (2006) as well as three other medals and looks solid again. J.R. Celski, back from a horrifying September accident when his leg was slashed by his own blade, looked like a contender before the mishap. Katherine Reutter could become the first U.S. individual women’s medalist since 1994.
Best of the rest: China’s Wang Meng, who won medals of each color in 2006, wants to add one in the lone event where she was shut out: the relay. With Korean An Hyeon-Su’s career derailed by a knee injury two years after his three-gold, one-bronze effort in Turin, Korean Lee Jung-Su is favored to win three medals. Canada’s Hamelin brothers, Charles and Francois, and Francois-Louis Tremblay continue a strong Quebecois short-track tradition.
Men’s 1,500: 1. Lee Jung-Su, South Korea. 2. Lee Ho-Suk, South Korea. 3. Charles Hamelin, Canada.
Women’s 500: 1. Wang Meng, China. 2. Zhao Nannan, China. 3. Kalyna Roberge, Canada.
Men’s 1,000: 1. Apolo Anton Ohno, U.S. 2. Lee Jung-Su, South Korea. 3. Sung Si-Bak, South Korea.
Women’s 1,500: 1. Wang Meng, China. 2. Katherine Reutter, U.S. 3. Zhou Yang, China.
Women’s 3,000 relay: 1. China. 2. South Korea. 3. United States.
Women’s 1,000: 1. Wang Meng, China. 2. Cho Ha-Ri, South Korea. 3. Zhou Yang, China.
Men’s 500: 1. Francois Louis-Tremblay, Canada. 2. Sung Si-Bak, South Korea. 3. Ohno, U.S.
Men’s 5,000 relay: 1. Canada. 2. South Korea. 3. China.
— Philip Hersh
Canada Hockey Place and UBC Thunderbird Arena
MEN, FEB. 16-28
Best of the U.S.: Goaltender Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres holds the key to Team USA’s hopes. If he’s on, he’s equal to anyone in the world. He will have to excel because the defense has holes. Only Brian Rafalski, Chris Drury and Jamie Langenbrunner have Olympic experience. Youngsters such as Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Colorado’s Paul Stastny must produce.
Best of the rest: Canada smartly added some young blood, including Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, and should get scoring from the San Jose line of Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley. Defenseman Scott Niedermayer has had a tough season with the Ducks but should thrive with better players around him. Russia is stacked up front with Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, and goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. Defending champion Sweden could repeat if Peter Forsberg has recovered from his latest injury, to his ribs.
Prediction: 1. Canada. 2. Russia. 3. Sweden.
WOMEN, FEB. 14-25
Best of the U.S.: Defenseman Angela Ruggiero and forward Jenny Potter have a full set of Olympic medals: gold from Nagano, silver from Salt Lake City and bronze from Turin. Goaltender Jesse Vetter of Cottage Grove, Wis., was stellar during pre-Olympic play, and the intuitive play between Joceylne and Monique Lamoureux of Grand Forks, N.D., is what you would expect from twins.
Best of the rest: Canada lost the last two world titles to the U.S. but has been gearing up for this for years. Hayley Wickenheiser remains one of the best forwards in the women’s game at age 31 and Canada will have skill and experience up front.
Prediction: 1. Canada. 2. U.S. 3. Finland.
— Helene Elliott
Best of the U.S.: Shani Davis is the name everyone will remember and is the favorite in both the 1,000 and 1,500. In 2006 in the 1,000-meter race, Davis became the first African American athlete to win gold in an individual Winter Games sport. He won the silver in the 1,500. Tucker Fredricks had podium finishes in each of the World Cups he skated in 2009-10 in the 500. Chad Hedrick and Trevor Marsciano lead the U.S. team pursuit squad, with Davis not participating as expected. Three-time Olympian Jen Rodriguez will lead the U.S. women’s team.
Best of the rest: Canada’s Christine Nesbitt was the 2009 world champion and won the overall World Cup title in the 1,000. Germany’s Monique Angermueller could make an impact in her Olympic debut. Canada’s Denny Morrison set a world record in the 1,500 in 2008, since broken by Davis. Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic is the world-record holder in the 5,000. Sven Kramer of the Netherlands is the world-record holder in the 10,000. Kramer’s countryman, Bob de Jong, is the defending Olympic champion.
Men’s 500: 1. Lee Kyou-Hyuk, South Korea. 2. Joji Kato, Japan. 3. Fredricks, U.S.
Women’s 500: 1. Jenny Wolf, Germany. 2. Annette Gerritsen, Netherlands. 3. Wang Beixing, China.
Men’s 1,000: 1. Davis, U.S. 2. Mark Tuitert, Netherlands. 3. Lee, South Korea.
Women’s 1,000: 1. Nesbitt, Canada. 2. Annette Gerritsen, Netherlands. 3. Angermueller, Germany.
Men’s 1,500: 1. Davis, U.S. 2. Morrison, Canada. 3. Hedrick, U.S.
Women’s 1,500: 1. Groves, Canada. 2. Nesbitt, Canada. 3. Ireen Wust, Netherlands.
Men’s 10,000: 1. Kramer, Netherlands. 2. De Jong, Netherlands. 3. Havard Bokko, Norway.
Women’s 5,000: 1. Sablikova, Czech Republic. 2. Groves, Canada. 3. Stephanie Beckert, Germany.
Men’s team: 1. Canada. 2. Italy. 3. Netherlands.
Women’s team: 1. Canada. 2. Netherlands. 3. Germany.
— Brian Hamilton Alpine skiing
MEN, FEB. 13
WOMEN, FEB. 17
Best of the U.S.: Lindsey Vonn has won five of the six women’s World Cup downhill races and may be the most prohibitive favorite in Winter Olympics history. She has 31 World Cup victories but is seeking her first Olympic medal. Julia Mancuso ranks No. 9 in the world with two top-10 finishes. Bode Miller missed a men’s downhill medal in Italy four years ago by .11, has rejoined the U.S. Team and may be rounding into form. Manuel Osborne-Paradis of Canada has the home-mountain advantage.
Best of the rest: Vonn’s biggest challenger will be close friend, Maria Riesch of Germany. And don’t count out Swedish superstar Anja Paerson. In the men’s race, Switzerland boasts the 1-2 punch of Didier Cuche, who just won the famed Hahnenkamm in Austria, and Carlo Janka. Cuche will be skiing with seven screws and a plate protecting the right thumb he injured in a late-January crash.
Men: 1. Osborne-Paradis, Canada. 2. Janka, Switzerland. 3. Miller, U.S.
Women: 1. Vonn, U.S. 2. Riesch, Germany. 3. Paerson, Sweden.
MEN, FEB. 17
WOMEN, FEB 14
Best of the U.S.: Ted Ligety won gold four years ago in Italy, but the Olympic format has been switched to a downhill and only one slalom run, which should benefit the speed skiers.
Best of the rest: Austria’s Benjamin Raich would have also won in combined had he not skied out in slalom 15 seconds from the finish line. Croatia’s Ivica Kostelic is also a strong contender here.
Men: 1. Miller, U.S. 2. Kostelic, Croatia. 3. Raich, Austria.
Women: 1. Paerson, Sweden. 2. Riesch, Germany. 3. Vonn, U.S.
SUPER GIANT SLALOM
MEN, FEB. 19
WOMEN, FEB. 20
Best of the U.S.: It’s Lindsey’s to lose. Vonn has already clinched the World Cup event title and her last victory on tour was the super-G in St. Moritz. The only other remotely ranking American is Julia Mancuso at No. 20.
Best of the rest: Austria’s Elisabeth Goergl and Fraenzi Aufdenblatten of Switzerland. Retirement of super-G stars Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt and Hermann Maier of Austria leaves men’s field open for Norway’s Aksel-Lund Svindal, Austria’s Walchhofer, Canada’s Erik Guay or Manuel Osborne-Paradis.
Men: 1. Svindal, Norway. 2. Walchhofer, Austria. 3. Guay, Canada.
Women: 1. Vonn, U.S. 2. Goergl, Austria. 3. Aufdenblatten, Switzerland.
MEN, FEB. 21
WOMEN, FEB. 24
Best of the U.S.: Ted Ligety leads the World Cup rankings and won the GS title in 2008. Julia Mancuso was a gold medalist four years ago but has no top 10 finishes this season.
Best of the rest: Austria’s Benjamin Raich is the defending Olympic champion, but teammate Marcel Hirscher is the only racer with two GS wins this season. Favorites for the women: Kathrin Hoelzl from Germany and Austria’s Kathrin Zettel.
Men: 1. Ligety, U.S. 2. Marcel Hirscher, Austria. 3. Benjamin Raich, Austria.
Women: 1. Hoelzl, Germany. 2. Zettel, Austria. 3. Tanja Poutiainen, Finland.
MEN, FEB. 27
WOMEN, FEB. 26
Best of the U.S.: Slim hopes probably rest with Jimmy Cochran or Ligety. Vonn’s arm injury leaves her medal hopes a mystery.
Best of the rest: Austria swept this event in Turin. Reinfried Herbst has four slalom victories this year –three more than any racer. Pencil in Germany’s Riesch for the women’s gold.
Men: 1. Herbst, Austria. 2. Kostelic, Croatia. 3. Raich, Austria.
Women: 1. Riesch, Germany. 2. Zettel, Austria. 3. Aubert, France.
— Chris Dufresne Biathlon
10 events, from
Best of the U.S.: This season, Tim Burke became the first U.S. biathlete to wear the World Cup overall leader jersey and has made three World Cup podiums. Jay Hakkinen’s 10th in 20-kilometer event at 2006 Olympics was the best-ever finish for U.S. in individual race.
Best of the rest: Five-time Olympian Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway is unquestionably the greatest biathlete ever, with nine Olympic medals (five gold) and an astonishing 32 world championship medals (13 gold). Suspicions of doping haunt top Russian and Austrian athletes. Russia’s Olga Medvetseva is back after being nabbed in 2006 Olympics. Watch for a possible Chinese surprise in women’s relay.
Women 7.5 km sprint: 1. Helena Jonsson, Sweden. 2. Olga Medvetseva, Russia. 3. Magdalena Neuner, Germany.
Men 10 km sprint: 1. Emil Hegle Svendsen, Norway. 2. Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, Norway. 3. Michael Greis, Germany.
Women 10km pursuit: 1. Neuner. 2. Jonsson. 3. Svetlana Sleptsova, Russia.
Men 10km pursuit: 1. Bjoerndalen. 2. Svendsen. 3. Evgeny Ustyugov, Russia.
Women 15 km individual: 1. Jonsson. 2. Kati Wilhelm, Germany. 3. Neuner.
Men 20km individual: 1. Christoph Sumann, Austria. 2. Simon Fourcade, France. 3. Tim Burke, U.S.
Men 15km mass start: 1. Bjoerndalen. 2. Svendsen. 3. Ustyugov.
Women 12.5km mass start: 1. Andrea Henkel, Germany. 2. Jonsson. 3. Neuner.
Women 4x6km relay: 1. Germany. 2. Russia. 3. Sweden.
Men 4×7.5km relay: 1. Norway. 2. Russia. 3. France.
— Philip Hersh
Best of the U.S.: Three-time Olympian Kikkan Randall became the first U.S. female medalist at a major championship when she placed second at the 2009 World Championships in individual sprint. Andy Newell has participated in four World Championships and is one of the top U.S. hopes for a medal in the 1.5-kilometer sprint.
Best of the rest: Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland won two golds and a bronze at the 2009 World Championships. Norway’s Petter Northug and the Czech Republic’s Lukas Bauer figure to battle it out for individual supremacy in the men’s 15 kilometer. Lukas Bauer of the Czech Republic took home a silver medal in the 15-kilometer classical in Turin. Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk has eight career World Cup titles in that event.
Women’s 10km: 1. Kowalczyk, Poland. 2. Charlotte Kalla, Sweden. 3. Marit Bjoergen, Norway.
Men’s 15km: 1. Bauer, Czech Republic. 2. Northug, Norway. 3. Matti Heikkenen, Finland.
Men’s individual sprint 1.5km: 1. Emil Joensson, Sweden. 2. Ola Vigen Hattestad, Norway. 3. John Kristian Dahl, Norway.
Women’s individual sprint 1.5 km: 1. Petra Majdic, Slovenia. 2. Kowalczyk, Poland. 3. Alena Prochazkova, Russia.
Men’s 2x15km: 1. Northug, Norway. 2. Bauer, Czech Republic. 3. Dario Cologna, Switzerland.
Women’s 2×7.5km: 1. Kowalczyk, Poland. 2. Bjoergen, Norway. 3. Evgenia Medvedeva, Russia.
Men’s team sprint: Sweden. 2. Russia. 3. Norway.
Women’s team sprint: 1. Sweden. 2. Norway. 3. Russia.
Men’s relay: 1. Norway. 2. Russia. 3. Sweden.
Women’s relay: 1. Norway. 2. Russia. 3. Finland.
Men’s 50 km: 1. Tobias Angerer, Germany. 2. Maxim Vylegzhanin, Russia. 3. Jens Arne Svartedal, Norway.
Women’s 30 km: 1. Majdic, Slovenia. 2. Virpi Kuitunen, Finland. 3. Saarinen, Finland.
— Chris Kuc Nordic combined
FEB. 14, 23, 25
Best of the U.S.: The Americans are gunning for their first Olympic medal and it’s no pipe dream. Led by the “Big Three” — Billy Demong, Johnny Spillane and five-time Olympian Todd Lodwick — this team possesses the necessary talent and experience.
Best of the rest: No surprise to see Germans, Norwegians and Austrians at the top of the World Cup standings this season. The American-born Jason Lamy Chappuis, competing for France, stands at No. 1 and is a favorite in Vancouver on the normal hill.
Individual normal hill: 1. Lamy Chappuis, France. 2. Felix Gottwald, Austria. 3. Magnus Moan, Norway.
Individual large hill: 1. Moan, Norway. 2. Lamy Chappuis, France. 3. Demong, U.S.
Team: 1. U.S. 2. Germany. 3. Norway.
— David Wharton
FEB, 12, 13, 19, 20, 22
Best of the U.S.: Anders Johnson made the team for the 2006 Olympic Games as a 16-year-old and now returns as a veteran. Neither he nor any other American figures to be in the running for a medal.
Best of the rest: In a sport where youth rules, Gregor Schlierenzauer of Austria captured handfuls of World Cup victories before turning 20 last month. The wunderkind is a strong favorite on the normal hill. Switzerland’s Simon Ammann, who won both individual events eight years ago in Salt Lake City, Austrians Thomas Morgenstern and Wolfgang Loitzl should also press for spots on the podium.
Normal hill: 1. Schlierenzauer, Austria. 2. Wolfgang Loitzl, Austria. 3. Simon Ammann, Switzerland.
Large hill: 1. Ammann, Switzerland. 2. Schlierenzauer, Austria. 3. Thomas Morgenstern, Austria.
Team: 1. Austria. 2. Finland. 3. Switzerland.
— David Wharton Bobsled
FEB. 20, 21, 23, 24, 26,27
Best of the U.S.: The U.S. qualified three sleds in both the two-man and four-man. The big dog, Steve Holcomb, drives USA 1. John Napier pilots USA 2 and Mike Kohn is at the controls of USA 3. While they would like to do well, all three drivers will be focused on the four-man competition — the main event. In the women’s competition, driver Shauna Rohbock, the 2006 Olympic silver medalist, has won 26 World Cup and four world championship medals. She set the track record at Igls, Germany, this season on her way to a second World Cup win.
Best of the rest: Germany’s Andre Lange has won the last two Olympic gold medals in the four-man and has 46 World Cup victories. Janis Minnis finished the season in second and he won the World Cup race in Whistler last season. For the women, reigning Olympic champion Sandra Kiriasis earned the World Cup title without winning a single race, while Kaillie Humphries was second and Germany’s Cathleen Martini was third.
Two man: 1. Lange, Germany. 2. Thomas Florschuetz, Germany. 3. Lyndon Rush, Canada.
Four-man: 1. Holcomb, U.S. 2. Lange, Germany. 3. Janis Minnis, Latvia.
Women: 1. Rohbock, U.S. 2. Humphries, Canada. 3. Kiriasis, Germany.
— Candus Thomson
Best of the U.S.: Katie Uhlaender and Noelle Pikus-Pace have seven world championship medals among them and two sound legs. Pikus-Pace, the 2007 champion, broke her right leg in 2005, when a runaway bobsled slammed into her as she stood along the track. Uhlaender shattered her left kneecap in a snowmobile accident in April and has been slow to recover. In the men’s competition, 2006 Olympian Eric Bernotas won a gold medal in Igls, Germany, the penultimate World Cup race of this season.
Best of the rest: There are two Dukurs on the Latvian men’s team. Bet on the younger one, Martins, ranked No. 1 in the world, to continue his hot streak. Frank Rommel has finished the last two seasons in second place. It’s tough to imagine that anyone can beat Canadian Mellisa Hollingsworth, the 2006 Olympic bronze medalist ranked No. 1 in the world, at home. But if anyone can, it’s Marion Trott claiming the world title and the World Cup title (including a victory in Whistler).
Men: 1.Martins Dukurs, Latvia. 2. Rommel, Germany. 3. Jon Montgomery, Canada.
Women:1. Hollingsworth, Canada. 2. Trott, Germany. 3. Shelley Rudman, Great Britain.
— Candus Thomson
Best of the U.S.: The best chance for a medal is Erin Hamlin, the reigning world champion with three bronze medals on the World Cup circuit this season. In each case, she was faster than German Anke Wischnewski, most likely the woman she will have to beat at Whistler.
Best of the rest: Amin Zoggeler has two Olympic gold medals, a silver and a bronze, and 49 World Cup victories. The 2006 Olympic silver medalist, Albert Demchenko, is equally capable of throwing down four great runs or making a breathtakingly stupid mistake (26th place in Whistler last season). On the women’s side, Tatjana Hufner is the closest thing to a lock on the gold.
Men: 1.Zoggeler, Italy. 2. Demchenko, Russia. 3. David Moeller, Germany.
Women: 1. Hufner, Germany. 2. Natalie Geisenberger, Germany. 3. Hamlin, U.S.
Doubles: 1. Florschuetz-Wustlich, Germany. 2. Leitner-Alexander, Germany. 3. Wendl-Arlt, Germany.
— Candus Thomson
FEB. 13, 14
Best of the U.S.: Speedy Patrick Deneen is the reigning world champion, and veteran Hannah Kearney beat defending Olympic gold medalist Jennifer Heil this season at Lake Placid.
Best of the rest: You might say Vancouver-born Dale Begg-Smith, a gold medalist in 2006, hasn’t been truly embraced by his adopted country, Australia. One scribe from Sydney wrote about him on Twitter: “As Aussie as maybe syrup or ice hockey. It’s like registering your boat in Panama.”
Men: 1. Begg-Smith, Australia. 2. Guilbaut Colas, France. 3. Deneen, U.S.
Women: 1. Heil, Canada. 2. Kearney, U.S. 3. Shannon Bahrke, U.S.
Feb. 24, 25
Best of the U.S.: Jeret Peterson, who will be competing in his third Olympics, could push his way on to the men’s podium should he land his vaunted “Hurricane” trick.
Best of the rest: Steve Omischl has found success nearly everywhere — except at the Olympics, finishing 11th in 2002 and 20th in 2006. Anton Kushnir has won three of five World Cup events this season.
Men: 1. Omischl, Canada. 2. Kushnir, Belarus. 3. Qi Guangpu, China.
Women: 1. Lydia Lassila, Australia. 2. Li Nina, China. 3. Xu Mengtao, China.
FEB. 21, 23
Best of the U.S.: Bring on another new Olympic sport, and, with the fresh look, comes a couple of familiar faces. The best two hopes happen to be former Alpine stars, Daron Rahlves and Casey Puckett, both men having taken their share of physical punishment, of late, in ski cross.
Best of the rest: Ophelie David, Ashleigh McIvor and Kelsey Serwa went one-two-three at the recent X Games. Colorado-raised Del Bosco won at Aspen on the men’s side. Former Alpine skier Tomas Kraus is a two-time world champion in ski cross.
Men: 1. Del Bosco, Canada. 2. Kraus, Czech Republic. 3. Michael Schmid, Switzerland.
Women: 1. McIvor, Canada. 2. David, France. 3. Serwa, Canada.
— Lisa Dillman
FEB. 15, 16
Best of the U.S.: Funny how it works out, but Lindsey Jacobellis probably became more famous for not winning gold in 2006, crashing into the snow when she attempted a bit of show. Nate Holland and Seth Wescott went one-two at the recent Winter X Games in Aspen.
Best of the rest: Olafsen put an early scare into Jacobellis at the X Games with a strong start, and Ricker, a native of West Vancouver, will be shouldering, oh, just a bit of hometown pressure. On the men’s side, Pierre Vaultier is listed as the favorite from the British betting shop William Hill.
Men: 1. Holland, U.S. 2. Vaultier, France. 3. Wescott, U.S.
Women: 1. Jacobellis, U.S.; 2. Maelle Ricker, Canada; 3. Olafsen, Norway.
FEB. 17, 18
Best of the U.S.: Two possible threats to defending gold medalist Shaun White were in hospitals in Salt Lake City in January. Kevin Pearce suffered a severe brain injury in training and Danny Davis fractured his back and pelvis in a non-snowboarding accident. Louie Vito and Scott Lago, however, are both capable of a podium finish. Gretchen Bleiler and Kelly Clark produced a riveting duel at the X Games, with Bleiler winning by 0.66
Best of the rest: Switzerland’s Iouri Podladtchikov, fondly and conveniently known as I-Pod, is considered the biggest international threat to White. There are obvious question marks about Australia’s Torah Bright, who suffered two concussions in Aspen in the days leading up to the X Games and withdrew from that competition.
Men: 1. White, U.S. 2. Podladtchikov, Switzerland. 3. Vito, U.S.
Women: . Bleiler, U.S. 2. Clark, U.S. 3. Hannah Teter, U.S.
FEB. 26, 27
Best of the U.S.: One of the better stories on the men’s side involves the resurgence of Chris Klug, who won a bronze medalist in 2002, a mere 19 months after his liver transplant.
Best of the rest: Andreas Prommegger and Amelie Kober won the last major Olympic tune-up race on the World Cup circuit on Saturday in Germany.
Men: 1. Jasey Jay Anderson, Canada. 2. Prommegger, Austria. 3. Philipp Schoch, Switzerland.
Women: 1. Kober, Germany. 2. Fraenzi Maegert-Kohli, Switzerland. 3. Nicolien Sauerbreij, Netherlands.
For more on this story, please visit LATimes.com