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Daily Olympic Briefing: Team USA seeks ice dance, monobob medals on Day 10

Daily Olympic Briefing: Team USA seeks ice dance, monobob medals on Day 10
Posted at 5:04 PM, Jan 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-13 18:03:50-05

Each day of the 2022 Winter Games, NBC Olympics will run down every sport in action, highlighting the biggest athletes and marquee events. Every single event streams live on NBCOlympics.com, the NBC Sports app and Peacock, and many are also on the TV networks of NBC. Visit the Olympic schedule page for listings sorted by sport and TV network.

On Day 10, medals are determined in ice dance, monobob and women’s aerials, and the U.S. and Canada play for spots in the women’s hockey final.

All times listed below are Eastern Time on the night of Sunday, February 13 or the morning of Monday, February 14.

Figure Skating

Figure Skating: Ice Dance
All events also stream live on Peacock
Event Time (ET) How to Watch
Free Dance 🏅 8:15 p.m. ET NBCOlympics.com, USA

The free dance is seen as a coronation for French duo Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, who believe they would have won gold four years ago if not for a wardrobe malfunction.

Papadakis and Cizeron topped Saturday's rhythm dance by breaking their own world record score. They lead by 1.88 points over Russians Viktoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov.

Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue and Madison Chock and Evan Bates are third and fourth, likely battling for one podium spot. An American couple has won an ice dance medal at four consecutive Olympics.

Back to the French, a spotlight couple ever since they rocketed from 15th at the 2014 European Championships to gold at the 2015 World Championships, their first of four world titles.

Four years ago, they went into the Olympics riding an undefeated season, including a win over the other gold-medal contenders, training partners Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada.

But seconds into their short dance, Papadakis’ dress clasp broke. She skated with it undone for the remainder of the 2-minute, 40-second program, often unable to cover the upper part of her body.

Virtue and Moir outscored the French by 1.74 points. Papadakis and Cizeron answered with a world record free dance score, but it wasn’t enough to make up the deficit. The Canadians won by 0.79.

Papadakis and Cizeron believe they would have won if not for that faulty clasp. Asked to reflect on that short dance, Papadakis gave a two-and-a-half-minute answer.

“You are so prepared when you go into competitions, you know what your costume feels like, you know every detail of everything on your body, everything in your choreography, everything in your costume,” she told NBC Olympics during a fall shoot, “and that just threw it all out.”

Their coaches stood rinkside, helpless.

"What do we do? Do we stop the music? Do we scream?" Marie-France Dubreuil remembered.

Even before the PyeongChang Games, Papadakis and Cizeron were the 2022 Olympic favorites. Virtue and Moir were expected to retire after their third Olympics, which they made official in 2019.

From December 2015 until January 2020, no couple other than Virtue and Moir beat the French. That’s a span of more than 20 events.

Sinitsina and Katsalapov pulled off the upset at the European Championships just before the pandemic shut down sports. But this season, Papadakis and Cizeron have competed three times internationally and posted three of the world’s top-four total scores across all competitions.

What’s more, Katsalapov has struggled with a back injury. Then the Russians were outscored in both team event programs by an American couple, though they rebounded with a personal-best rhythm dance on Friday.

Papadakis and Cizeron, who have skated together for 17 years since they were 9, aren’t as guarded as most figure skaters, especially ice dancers, when it comes to voicing goals. It’s not just about feeling satisfied with their skates, or even personal-best scores.

“We hate losing more than we actually like winning,” Cizeron said. “We know that if we're at our best, no one can beat us.”

Cizeron said they’re “hangry.” Hungry to win France’s second figure skating gold in the last 90 years. Angry about what happened in 2018.

“Not against anyone,” Cizeron said, “but just angry that it didn't go as the way that we wanted.”

Papadakis and Cizeron, known for their raw, rhinestone-less style, emit such emotion that spectators have been known to bawl at the conclusion of their performances.

“They could be blindfolded, and they would still follow each other,” Dubreuil said of their connection.

Yet they are so individualistic that their apartments in the same building were directly on top of and below each other, and they didn’t even know it for a year, Dubreuil said.

“We don’t train for anything less than gold,” said Papadakis, whose mom is an ice dance coach and dad the owner of "Big Fat Greek Gyros," a food truck in Austin, Texas. “It's gold or nothing. And then if it's something else, we'll deal with that later and we'll find a way to accept it.”

And if it’s gold?

“It would be a huge relief,” Cizeron said.

Bobsled

Bobsled
All events also stream live on Peacock
Event Time (ET) How to Watch
Women's Monobob: Run 3 8:30 p.m. NBCOlympics.com
Women's Monobob: Final Run 🏅 10:00 p.m. NBCOlympics.com
Two-Man Bobsled: Run 1 7:00 a.m. NBCOlympics.com, USA
Two-Man Bobsled: Run 2 8:30 a.m. NBCOlympics.com

In monobob's Olympic debut, American Kaillie Humphries has a substantial 1.04-second lead after the first two of four runs. Humphries, who won two-woman bobsled golds for Canada in 2010 and 2014, can become the second athlete to win a Winter Olympic title for two different countries, according to Olympic historian Bill Mallon. The other was short track speed skater Victor Ahn. Humphries, who is married to an American, switched to the U.S. after saying she was verbally and emotionally abused by a Canadian coach (2002 U.S. Olympic bobsled medalist Todd Hays, who denied the allegations). Another American, triple Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor, is in fourth place.

In two-man bobsled, German Francesco Friedrich begins his bid to win double gold at a second Olympics, which no bobsledder has done (only men have been eligible, since women didn’t get a second event until this year). In the last two seasons, Friedrich won 33 of 36 races among World Cups, the world championships and Olympic test events.

SEE MORE: Humphries leads, Meyers Taylor fourth as monobob makes Olympic debut

Freestyle Skiing

Freestyle Skiing: Slopestyle & Aerials
All events also stream live on Peacock
Event Time (ET) How to Watch
Women's Slopestyle Qualifying 9:00 p.m. NBCOlympics.com
Women's Aerials Qualifying 2:00 a.m. NBCOlympics.com
Women's Aerials Final 🏅 6:00 a.m. NBCOlympics.com, USA

Qualifying in women’s aerials and slopestyle were rescheduled from Sunday due to weather. In aerials, all four American women made a World Cup podium last season, but none this season. Winter Vinecki, the first person to run a marathon on every continent before 15, will become the first person with the first name Winter to compete at a Winter Olympics. In slopestyle, Eileen Gu, the 18-year-old Chinese freeskier who won big air, returns for the most challenging of her three events. She’s still a medal favorite in Tuesday’s final.

Ski Jumping

Ski Jumping: Men's Team Event
All events also stream live on Peacock
Event Time (ET) How to Watch
Men's Team Event 🏅 5:00 a.m. NBCOlympics.com

Slovenia has to like its chances after putting four men in the top 12 of the individual large hill. This could also be the Olympic farewell for 40-year-old Simon Ammann of Switzerland, who swept the individual golds in 2002 and 2010. Ammann, who went on Jay Leno and David Letterman after his Salt Lake City triumphs as a Harry Potter doppelganger, was asked last week whether he will go for an eighth Winter Olympics in 2026. He noted that Japan’s Noriaki Kasai, a retired eight-time Olympic ski jumper, is on hand in China. "Maybe he tells me after the Games how I can continue four years,” said Ammann, who was 25th in each individual event last week.

Snowboarding

Snowboard Big Air
All events also stream live on Peacock
Event Time (ET) How to Watch
Women's Qualifying 8:30 p.m. NBCOlympics.com
Men's Qualifying 12:30 a.m. NBCOlympics.com, USA

All of the women’s slopestyle medalists return for big air. Notably, Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, who became New Zealand’s first Winter Olympic champion, and American Julia Marino, the silver medalist. Jamie Anderson, the 2014 and 2018 slopestyle gold medalist, is also entered after taking silver in big air’s debut in 2018. Austrian Anna Gasser is the defending champion in what is expected to be her Olympic farewell. Her last significant big air win was in March 2020.

Hockey

Women's Hockey: Semifinals
All events also stream live on Peacock
Matchup Time (ET) How to Watch
Canada vs Switzerland 11:00 p.m. NBCOlympics.com
USA vs Finland 8:00 a.m. NBCOlympics.com, USA

The U.S. and Canada are a combined 9-1 in Olympic history in semifinals. The U.S. lost to Sweden in a shootout in 2006, the only year the North American rivals didn’t meet in the Olympic final. Canada has looked better than the U.S. so far these Games, including beating the Americans 4-2 in the group-play finale. U.S.-Finland should be the closer semifinal. The Americans won 5-2 in group play and are 28-1-1 against Finland all-time between the Olympics and world championships.

Curling

Women's Curling: Round Robin
All events also stream live on Peacock
Matchup Time (ET) How to Watch
USA vs South Korea 8:00 p.m. ET NBCOlympics.com

The U.S. women (3-2) lost their last two games after winning their first three against three of the less-regarded teams. Their hopes of advancing from the 10-team round robin into the four-team playoffs are on the line in a four-game stretch against powerhouses. After losing to 2018 Olympic gold medalist Sweden, Tabitha Peterson’s team gets 2018 Olympic silver medalist South Korea. Then it’s world champion Switzerland and Canada, skipped by 2014 gold medalist Jennifer Jones. The U.S., which took bronze at least year’s worlds, needs at least one win out of this four-game stretch.