5 N. California Olympians to Watch in Sochi
Update: Monday, Feb. 10: It’s been a good weekend for Northern California athletes at Sochi. Julia Mancuso is now the most decorated women’s Alpine skier in Olympic history. She took bronze on Monday in the super-combined, which adds times from two events: the downhill and slalom. Mancuso says the Olympics are her thing.
“I try to stand on the podium in every competition, but there’s just something about the Olympics that is even more special to me and when I try, it seems to pay off,” Mancuso said.
Mancuso could win more medals. She’s expected to compete later this week in the downhill, and next week, in the giant slalom.
Update: Sunday, Feb. 9: One of our “five to watch” is coming home with a gold. South Lake Tahoe’s Jamie Anderson managed a nearly perfect run on a course that felled one competitor after another. Here’s the details: South Lake Tahoe’s Jamie Anderson Wins Slopestyle Gold.
Note: All event times Pacific.
California is well-represented during the Winter Olympics. About a third of the 30 or so Golden State hopefuls have Bay Area ties. Five of the locals are considered podium contenders over the next two weeks of sliding, gliding, leaping, and pratfalling.
Polina Edmunds, San Jose: Figure Skating
The 15-year-old Archbishop Mitty High School sophomore placed second in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston last month. She hopes to unseat 2010 Olympic champion Kim Yuna of South Korea and fellow Californian Gracie Gold.
- Wednesday, Feb. 19: Women’s Short Program, 8-11:30 p.m., NBC
- Thursday, Feb. 20: Women’s Free Skate, 8-11:30 p.m., NBC
Jamie Anderson, South Lake Tahoe: Slopestyle
New to the Winter Olympics in 2014 is slopestyle. It’s an event born in the world of extreme sports, and combines a steep downhill run with huge jumps. The result: huge air and crazy, complex moves at high speed. On Thursday, Anderson scored an impressive 93.5 to advance to the final round of the women’s competition. She’ll face Austrian Anna Gasser, Switzerland’s Elena Koenz and fellow American Karly Shorr in Sunday’s final.
- Sunday, Feb. 9: Women’s Slopestyle Final, 7-11 p.m., NBC
Joe Pavelski, San Jose: Hockey
Sure, the San Jose Sharks center is a Wisconsin native, but we’ll claim him for our Bay Area squad. He’s a favorite at the Shark Tank and is enjoying his best NHL season, scoring 29 goals in the team’s first 58 games. In his second Olympic appearance, he’ll lead the first line for a team trying to avenge its overtime loss to Canada in the 2010 Vancouver games. To get back to the final, Pavelski will need to steer the Americans past a formidable Russian team in Group A, which features Alexander Ovechkin, a three time-NHL most valuable player.
- Thursday, Feb. 13: Men’s Group Qualifying: USA vs. Slovakia, 4:30-10 a.m., NBCSN
- Saturday, Feb. 15: Men’s Group Qualifying: USA vs. Russia, 4-7 a.m., NBCSN
- Sunday, Feb. 16: Men’s Group Qualifying: USA vs. Slovenia, 4:15-7 a.m., NBCSN
Julia Mancuso, Squaw Valley: Downhill, combined, giant slalom, slalom
Although she’s the only American woman to win three Olympic medals in alpine skiing, Mancuso wasn’t happy to settle for silver in the downhill and combined events she ran in Vancouver, and has been furiously motivated to redeem herself ever since.With 2010 downhill gold medalist Lindsey Vonn sidelined with an injured knee, Mancuso will have plenty of opportunities to make it back onto the podium as she competes in four events. Look for the 29-year old to deliver an inspired performance, particularly in the downhill races, where she ranks among this year’s favorites.
- Monday, Feb. 10: Women’s Combined Super Downhill, 8-11:30 p.m., NBC
- Wednesday, Feb. 12: Women’s Downhill, 8-11:30 p.m., NBC
- Tuesday, Feb. 18; Women’s Giant Slalom, 8-11:30 p.m., NBC
- Friday, Feb. 21: Women’s Slalom, 8-11 p.m., NBC
Nick Cunningham, Monterey: Bobsled
A former track star from Monterey High School and Monterey Peninsula College, Cunningham competed in his first Olympics four years ago as brakeman in both the two- and four-man bobsled events. He’s since switched positions and now ranks as the world’s sixth-best two-man bobsled driver. To win a medal, Cunningham’s two- and four-man squads will have to get past teams from Germany and Russia — as well as sleds piloted by defending Olympic four-man bobsled champion Steve Holcomb of Utah.
- Sunday, Feb. 16: Two-man Bobsled, 7-11 p.m., NBC
- Monday, Feb. 17: Two-man Bobsled: Gold Medal Run, 1-2 a.m., NBC
- Saturday, Feb. 22: Four-man Bobsled, 8-11:07 p.m., NBC
- Sunday, Feb. 23: Four-man Bobsled: Gold Medal Run, 7-10 p.m., NBC
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