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Winter Olympics: Friday in Beijing – Gu going for third medal

By Sports Desk February 17, 2022 849

Eileen Gu has already delighted China by sealing gold and silver medals at Beijing 2022 in freestyle skiing, and she is looking for a third success on Friday.

If the qualifying performance of the 'Snow Princess' on Thursday is anything to go by, Gu will be a worthy hot favourite for the freeski halfpipe.

Elsewhere, Team GB will find out what colour their first medal of these Games will be in the men's curling final, while Netherlands aim for more speed skating gold and biathlon signs off with its final two events.

The two-woman bobsled heats are also due to take place, along with the pairs short programme in figure skating, and the men's semi-finals of the ice hockey as Finland face Slovakia and the Russian Olympic Committee go up against Sweden.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at Friday's medal events:

Biathlon

The men's 15km mass start takes place on Friday, with France's Quentin Fillon Maillet gunning for his sixth medal.

He became the first biathlete to win five medals at a single Winter Games after securing two golds and three silvers in Beijing, although he has not won a men's World Cup mass start race in the past two seasons.

There will be plenty of competition as six of the last seven World Championship gold medallists in the mass start are competing here, including the Boe brothers of Norway.

In the women's 12.5km mass start, which has been rescheduled from Saturday due to anticipated weather conditions, Norway's Marte Olsbu Roeiseland is looking to match Fillon Maillet's current haul by winning a fifth medal in Beijing.

If she does win a medal, Roeiseland will also become the first biathlete to finish on the podium in all four individual events at a single Winter Games.

The last three world champions in this event, including Roeiseland, will be competing, with Italy's Dorothea Wierer and Austria's Lisa Theresa Hauser looking to overcome the dominant Norwegian.

Curling

Great Britain will win a medal at Beijing 2022, which did not look like it would be the case for the majority of these Games.

Bruce Mouat and his team celebrated a hard-fought 8-4 win against the United States in the semi-final on Thursday, and will face Niklas Edin and his Sweden team in Friday's gold medal match after they beat Canada 6-3.

"I'm really struggling to sum it up, but I guess you saw from our reaction there that it was just pure elation," Mouat said after beating the champions from PyeongChang 2018.

"It's going to be amazing. Niklas and his team have been our rivals for so many years now. We’ve played them in numerous Europeans and World Championships, so it feels really nice to be able to play them in a larger final."

Great Britain beat Sweden 7-6 in the round-robin stage earlier at these Games.

Freestyle skiing

As usual when she competes at these Games, all eyes will be on Gu. She comfortably qualified in first place on Thursday with scores in her two runs of 93.75 and 95.50, with no-one else in the field achieving a score higher than 89.50 from either jump.

"I was journaling last night, I wrote some affirmations, I was like, 'I am fresh. I am not tired. I am excited'," the 18-year-old said after sealing her place in the final.

"The joke is I'm actually exhausted, I'm not fresh, but I was writing in my journal to try to convince myself that I was - and it's working, I slept well last night."

Canada's Rachael Karker, Estonia's Kelly Sildaru, who won bronze in the slopestyle, and Great Britain's Zoe Atkin completed the top four in qualifying and will likely be Gu's biggest competition.

Speed skating

In the men's 1,000m, the Netherlands will be aiming to become the first country to win the event at three consecutive Olympic Winter Games, following Stefan Groothuis (Sochi 2014) and Kjeld Nuis (PyeongChang 2018).

Kai Verbij may be their best hope as the reigning world champion, though Thomas Krol leads the World Cup 1,000m rankings. 

China's Gao Tingyu, who won the 500m, is looking to become only the second skater to win both 500m and 1,000m at the same Winter Games after Eric Heiden of the United States did so in 1980.

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Last modified on Thursday, 17 February 2022 14:42

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