W2W4: Medvedeva vs. Zagitova in women's figure skating, Fourcade eyes fourth Pyeongchang gold

Alina Zagitova, above, and Russian teammate Evgenia Medvedeva are the two heavy favorites to win the women's singles figuring skating competition. Joosep Martinson/ISU via Getty Images

The Russian athletes dominated the women's figure skating short program. Teenagers Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva broke world records back-to-back to comfortably take the first and second positions going into the free program. They will duel for gold on the last day of figure skating at the Pyeongchang Olympics. Mirai Nagasu and Bradie Tennell of the U.S. will look to redeem themselves after a shaky start to their individual Olympic campaigns.

French biathlete Martin Fourcade became the first Olympian to win three gold medals in Pyeongchang. He will look to lead France to another gold, this time in the men's relay event.

Here are all the important events to look out for Friday (Thursday evening in the U.S.):

Figure skating

Women's singles, free program (Thursday, 8 p.m. ET/Friday, 10 a.m. local time): As expected, the fight for gold in women's figure skating is between Russian athletes Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva, who have been competing on a different level. Medvedeva, 18, broke the world record with her poignant and near-perfect free skate (she scored 81.61). But that milestone lasted only minutes, as 15-year-old Zagitova skated to another world record right afterward, scoring a 82.92. The gold medal could go either way in the free program, but unless something bizarre happens, the two athletes should win the top two medals.

At least six skaters have a shot at the bronze. Team USA did not have a great start to its campaign; both Mirai Nagasu and Bradie Tennell fell on jumps and are in ninth and 11th positions, respectively, while Karen Chen is 10th. Canada's Kaetlyn Osmond is in the third position, followed by Japan's Satoko Miyahara and Kaori Sakamoto.

Freestyle skiing

Women's skicross final (Thursday, 9:20 p.m. ET/Friday, 11:20 a.m. local time): The gold and silver medalists from the Sochi Olympics -- Canada's Marielle Thompson and Kelsey Serwa -- will look to repeat their feat, but they are coming off major injuries. Thompson will be competing in her first major race since tearing the ACL and MCL in her right knee during training in December; Serwa sustained a knee injury in 2016. Both have undergone rigorous rehab in the past four months.

In the meantime, a new world champion has emerged in the event in the Netherlands' Sandra Näslund, who is seeking her first Olympic medal.

Ice hockey

Men's ice hockey semifinal, Czech Republic vs. OAR and Canada vs. Germany (from Friday, 2:40 a.m. ET/4:40 p.m. local time): Defending gold medalist Canada made its third straight Olympic semifinal with a 1-0 win over Finland. Maxim Noreau scored the only goal. Germany upset top-seeded Sweden 4-3 in overtime to book a semifinal berth.

The Russian athletes crushed Norway 6-1 to make it to the other semifinal. They scored three times in the first period and never gave Norway, in its first-ever Olympic quarterfinal, a chance to get back in the game. The OAR will face the Czech Republic, which kept the U.S. from reaching the medal round.


Men's 1,000 meters (Friday, 5 a.m. ET/7 p.m. local time): Netherlands has dominated this sport at the Pyeongchang Olympics. Going into the men's 1,000, the country has won eight of the past 10 speedskating events in these Games. Kjeld Nuis has played a big role in that dominance, winning the men's 1,500. He will be back on Friday for his other marquee event, the 1,000, as a heavy favorite to win gold. He is the current world champion at both distances.

HUNGRY FOR MORE🔥 @olympics

A post shared by Kjeld Nuis (@kjeldnuis) on

Fighting for a place on the top of the podium will be Nuis' teammate Kai Verbij. He won bronze at the world championships and will look to win his first Olympic medal in the event. Also watch out for Canada's Vincent De Haître, the silver medalist at the world championships.


Men's 4x7.5-kilometer relay (Friday, 6:15 a.m. ET/8:15 p.m. local time): On Tuesday, France's Martin Fourcade became the first Olympian to win three gold medals in Pyeongchang. On Friday, he will have a shot at winning another, this time in the men's relay event.

If there is one team that can stop France, it is Norway. Led by Johannes Thingnes Bø, Norway beat France in a World Cup competition in January. Bø has also had a great Olympic run so far. He won gold in the 20-kilometer individual and silver in the mixed relay event.


Men's bronze-medal match (Friday, 1:35 a.m. ET/3:35 p.m. local time): The Canadian men's curling team came into Pyeongchang having won three straight Olympic gold medals. But after falling 5-3 to the U.S. (on the same day Canada fell to the U.S. in women's ice hockey), the Canadians will have to settle for a chance at the bronze medal. They will face Switzerland, which was crushed 9-3 by Sweden. Canada lost a close match to Switzerland (8-6) in the round-robin stage. This is the first time since the event was introduced in the 1998 Winter Olympics that Canada did not make the final.