Play It Forward: Happy sledding into two-plus weeks of Winter Games in South Korea
By Tom Hoffarth
Ranking the top 10 sports events Feb. 5-11 you won’t want to miss:
NO. 1: XXIII WINTER OLYMPICS
Details/TV: At PyeongChang, South Korea, Friday, 3 a.m., NBCOlympics.com; 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. (delayed), Channel 4
Greetings from a ski resort we’re still not sure of the correct spelling. Most commonly spelled in English at Pyongchang, it gets confused with the Communist North Korean capital of Pyongyang, hence the capitalization of the middle “c.” South Korea’s Olympic committee decided to change the spelling a bit to make it more distinctive. Or, perhaps add more problems.
In this exercise, Greece enters first, North and South Korea stroll in together last, a group of Russians allowed to participate under a generic flag come second-to-last, and the USA contingent of a Winter Olympic-record 242 members will be 26th out of 92 groups when the actual march of the countries takes place at 8 p.m. local time, so get used to the practice of subtracting 17 hours going forward.
The U.S. squad will include a 39-year-old hockey player (Brian Gionta, who spent 16 seasons and more than 1,000 NHL games and is in good enough shape to be on a team without any NHL participants), a 17-year-old figure skater (Vincent Zhou, from Palo Alto), a pair of five-time Olympians (cross-country skier Kikkan Randall and snowboard halfpipe competitor Kelly Clark) and a four-time gold medalist (speed skater Shani Davis, the 35-year-old Chicago native who became the first black athlete to win an individual gold in Winter Olympic history back in 2006 at Turin, Italy).
There are some 2,400 hours of live coverage on all the NBC platforms, starting Wednesday with the debut of mixed doubles curling and some alpine skiing training runs (NBCSN, 8 p.m.) USA Network has all the hockey starting with the women’s tournament Saturday at 4 a.m.