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Olympics Primetime Primer: Tuesday, February 20

Olympics Primetime Primer: Tuesday, February 20
Posted at 2:35 PM, Feb 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-20 15:35:12-05

Here are the Olympians to watch in NBC's primetime coverage on Tuesday, February 20 at 7:00 p.m.

 Figure Skating — Women's Short Program
For the last two seasons, Yevgenia Medvedeva, who will compete as an Olympic athlete from Russia, has dominated ladies’ skating with two world titles. Given her momentum and unmatched consistency, the 18-year-old, who enjoys anime cartoons and Korean pop music (“K-pop”), is the favorite to win gold in PyeongChang. Her training mate and compatriot, 15-year-old 2017 world junior champion Alina Zagitova, is one of the few skaters who can match Medvedeva’s technical ability, and ended Medvedeva’s two-year win streak at the European Championships in January. The U.S. team is made up of first-time Olympian Bradie Tennell , the reigning U.S. champion and an exceptional jumper, as well as 2010 Olympian Mirai Nagasu and 2017 national champion Karen Chen. The last American to stand on the ladies’ podium was Sasha Cohen, who claimed silver in 2006.  Also in the mix are Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond, the 2017 world silver medalist, and 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Carolina Kostner of Italy.  

•  Bobsled — Women (Runs 1 & 2)
Elana Meyers Taylor has won two world titles since claiming silver in Sochi behind her training mate and best friend, two-time reigning Olympic gold medalist Kaillie Humphries of Canada. Meyers Taylor should vie for gold, but she isn’t the only American with medal potential: 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Jamie Greubel Poser won the overall World Cup title in 2017. It is likely that the PyeongChang podium will feature the same three pilots who won medals in Sochi.

•  Short Track — Women's 3000M Relay (Final)
South Korea has won five of the seven gold medals awarded in this event and that trend is expected to continue in PyeongChang. The host nation boasts the deepest women’s team, which includes Choi Min-Jeong and Shim Suk-Hee. China has the potential to spoil South Korea’s hope of a sixth gold medal in this event. The two countries have combined to win every world and Olympic title since 2005. The U.S. did not qualify a women’s relay team for the Games.

•  Short Track — Women's 1000M (Qualifying)
Four years ago in Sochi, Great Britain’s Elise Christie was controversially disqualified from all three of her individual events. She rebounded last season, becoming the first woman from a country other than South Korea or China to claim the overall world title since 1994. But so far in PyeongChang, she has had an equally treacherous start to her Games. After crashing in the final of the women’s 500m, she got injured in the women’s 1500m and may not compete in this event. South Korea should have two contenders in Choi Min-Jeong and Shim-Suk Hee. Shim won bronze in this event in 2014. The U.S. will be represented by 2014 Olympian Jessica Kooreman (nee Smith) and 2010 Olympic relay medalist Lana Gehring, but neither is expected to contend for a medal.

•  Short Track — Men's 500M (Qualifying)
Three-time Olympic medalist J.R. Celski holds the world record in this event, but he failed to qualify for it at U.S. Olympic Trials in December. The American team will instead by represented by three first-time Olympians: John-Henry Krueger, Aaron Tran, and Thomas Hong . Krueger won silver in the men’s 1000m earlier in the Games and is the best American hope for reaching the podium in this event. PyeongChang will be a home-away-from-home Olympics for Thomas Hong. Born in South Korea, Hong moved to Maryland with his mom and sister at the age of four. Many of his family members — including his father — still live in South Korea. The favorite entering PyeongChang is China’s Wu Dajing. Since claiming silver in this event in Sochi, he has won a medal in the distance at each of the last four world championships, including back-to-back world titles in 2014 and 2015. Netherlands’ Sjinkie Knegt enters PyeongChang as the reigning world champion in this event. It is possible that Knegt could claim his nation’s first short track gold medal in PyeongChang.

•  Alpine Skiing — Women's Downhill
Lindsey Vonn could win her second Gold in Downhill tonight. She won Olympic gold in this event in Vancouver, but she missed the Sochi Games due to injury and didn’t have the chance to defend her title. The PyeongChang course suits her strengths: she finished second in the Olympic test event in March 2017. The top international threat will likely be Italy’s Sofia Goggia, who won the downhill at last year’s Olympic test event. Goggia and Vonn are close friends, due in part to their shared experience with serious injuries. Like Vonn, Goggia also missed the 2014 Sochi Olympics due to an ACL tear that she sustained in the lead-up to the Games. American Mikaela Shiffrin announced that she will not enter this event.

Be sure to tune in for another big day for Team USA. Coverage begins at 7:00 p.m.