Beijing Preview, Feb. 11: Mixed snowboardcross debuts and more US-Canada hockey

One of the new sports at the Beijing Winter Olympics happening Friday could be among the most exciting, heart-pounding sports at the Games.

BEIJING, China — Mixed team snowboardcross is a variation on that chaotic event that is making its Olympic debut this year. Each team consists of one man and one woman. The men go first, then the women start in a staggered fashion, based on how the men finished in their race.

A majority of the Winter Olympic sports now have events in which men and women compete as teammates. The mixed snowboardcross starts with the quarterfinals at 9 p.m. EST Friday with the final shown live in primetime.

The U.S. has already won multiple gold medals in snowboarding — Lindsey Jacobellis in snowboardcross and Chloe Kim in the halfpipe.

Another US vs. Canada hockey matchup

The U.S. men's hockey team opened the Olympic tournament with an 8-0 rout of host China. Now the Americans face a Canadian team that always has high hopes. That game happens at 11 p.m. EST.

Canada started fast with a 5-1 win over Germany, the 2018 silver medalist.

“It was a great start and it was everything you hope for happens," said Canada's Alex Grant, who scored the opening goal in that game. "Anytime you get a start like that it is nice. It was overall a solid performance.”

Canada's women's team faces Sweden in the quarterfinals and the Russian Olympic Committee faces Switzerland.

Credit: AP
China's Wei Ruike (Ethan Werek) (61) and United States' Brock Faber (14) chase the puck during a preliminary round men's hockey game at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

5,000-meter speedskating bad blood

Sweden's Nils van der Poel, the 5,000-meter speedskating champion last weekend, had some choice words for the Dutch, saying he'd read an article on a Dutch website that suggested the world’s strongest team was using a scientist to try to make sure the Ice Ribbon oval was set up to its advantage.

Van der Poel said he wasn't criticizing his Dutch rivals, but it remains to be seen if there's any lingering animosity in the 10,000, which includes van der Poel and Dutch standouts Jorrit Bergsma and Patrick Roest.

Head-first at 80 miles per hour: Men's skeleton crowns a champ

Christopheer Grotheer of Germany was the fastest in both heats Thursday, giving himself a lead of 0.7 seconds over fellow German Axel Jungk heading into the final two slides. 

The lone American in the field, Andrew Blaser, is 3.55 seconds back in 21st place.

Credit: AP
Nathan Crumpton, of American Samoa, slides during men's skeleton run 1 at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, in the Yanqing district of Beijing. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

More events

Arianna Fontana of Italy, the 500-meter champion in short track speedskating, races again in the 1,000 meters, which will have quarterfinals, semifinals and final. Men's 500-meter heats and 5,000-meter relay semifinal will also happen in short track.

On the curling sheet, the U.S. men face Norway in round robin play.

Travis Pittman contributed to this report.

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