Beijing Preview, Feb. 12: Twizzle alert! Ice dancing returns and monobob debuts

Two U.S. ice dancing teams have a chance at a second medal at the Beijing Winter Olympics and another new event makes its debut.

BEIJING, China — A week after finally leaving isolation, American bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor is coming to prime time. There will be live coverage Saturday night when women’s monobob makes its Olympic debut.

Meyers Taylor has dominated the solo discipline, in which drivers work without a brakeman, but she is also coming off a week in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 on Jan. 29. The time away cost the three-time Olympic medalist her spot as a flagbearer for the opening ceremony.

Bobsled coverage will be paired in prime time with the start of the men’s giant slalom event, where American super-G silver medalist Ryan Cochran-Siegle is pursuing a second medal at these Games.

Elsewhere, the U.S. men’s curling team has a date with Canada in round-robin play, and the always popular ice dance competition opens with rhythm dance.

Women's monobob debuts, giving women a second medal chance

Monobob’s Olympic debut brings several new wrinkles to a sport that’s been on the Olympic program since 1924. Not only are competitors sliding alone, but they’re doing so in standardized sleds provided by organizers, making the discipline a purer test of athleticism and skill while removing the advantage gained by teams using aerospace science to perfect their vehicles.

Credit: AP
Elana Meyers Taylor, of the United States, drives her bobsled during a women's monobob training heat at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, in the Yanqing district of Beijing. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Meyers Taylor has been the world’s top monobobber, but it’s unclear what effect her isolation might have. She finally got onto the Yanqing Sliding Center track for the first official practice session Thursday, while others had several unofficial runs before then.

Meyers Taylor passed her time alone by doing makeshift workouts in her room with weights and other equipment the team brought over. If she’s not up to the task, U.S. teammate and fellow three-time Olympic medalist Kaillie Humphries could take gold.

The first and second of four heats for the women’s monobob will be shown live beginning at 8:30 p.m.

Men's giant slalom

The opening run of the men's giant slalom will start at 9:15 p.m. and be carried live with the second and final round airing around 1 a.m.

Cochran-Siegle and teammate Tommy Ford will compete for the U.S. Ford, a three-time Olympian, was ranked 13th in World Cup giant slalom and is the more likely bet to medal.

Credit: AP
Ryan Cochran-Siegle of the United States makes a jump during the men's super-G at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, in the Yanqing district of Beijing. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)

U.S. men face rival Canada in curling

John Shuster and the American men's curling team faces rival Canada, and CNBC will carry the match live at 8 p.m. EST

Shuster was a flagbearer for the U.S. at the Beijing opening ceremony after skipping his country to a breakthrough gold in Pyeongchang four years ago. The U.S. knocked out powerhouse Canada in the semifinals of that tournament.

Twizzle alert! Ice dancing is back

The Americans have a chance to earn two ice dance medals in the same Games for the first time. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue finished fourth at Pyeongchang and second at last year's world championships. Madison Chock and Evan Bates were fourth at worlds.

Both couples had the highest scores in the rhythm dance and free dance portions of the team figure skating event last week, helping the U.S. to a silver medal.

Credit: AP
Madison Chock and Evan Bates, of the United States, compete in the team ice dance program during the figure skating competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Americans Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker will also compete.

Four-time world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France are heavy favorites. They finished second in Pyeongchang to Canadian duo Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who have since retired.

Also of note

American-born Eileen Gu begins her push for a second gold medal for host China when the women’s freestyle skiers open qualifying in slopestyle. USA Network will carry qualifying live when it begins at 9 p.m. 

Women's skeleton also has its final runs and women's downhill training continues with Mikaela Shiffrin.

Travis Pittman contributed to this report.

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