Olympics rundown: Gushin’ over the Russians and a U.S. medals disappointment

Figure skating may be over at the Pyeongchang Games, but don’t worry, there is still curling! And lots of other events to watch Friday at the Olympics. We’ve got the lowdown on what to look out for. 

Sports executives in America targeted  Team USA to win 37 medals at the Pyeongchang Games in a meeting with the U.S. Olympic Committee last year.

Heading into the final 48 hours of action, the United States had 21. Even if things were to go well over the handful of remaining events, the team will fall more than 10 medals short of the goal.

The USOC’s chief of sport performance, Alan Ashley, acknowledged the 2018 team will not reach its goal, while also saying “we’re doing fine.”

“I look at it and I go, ‘OK, medals are one story, but if you look at the depth of everything that’s going on, and the number of people who are fourth and fifth place, and the commitment level and intensity of the athletes, you can’t ask for more than that,” Ashley told AP.

Heading into Friday night’s action, 21 U.S. teams or athletes — including Mikaela Shiffrin , Nathan Chen and Lindsey Jacobellis — had finished fourth or fifth in their events, which accounts for part of the gap between expectations and reality.

Lindsey Vonn was one of the Americans with the most medal potential. She finished third in the downhill, tied for sixth in the super-G and DNF in the combined. 

“The expectation of winning gold medals is pretty out of whack and I think we need to be proud of all of our athletes for how much they’ve sacrificed and put in to be here,” she said. “Medals — they’re not necessarily what the Olympics are all about. … To quantify it in how many medals you have is not appropriate and doesn’t respect the athletes and what they’ve put in to be in these games.”

(AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Nice line by speedskating analyst Apolo Ohno, explaining how the only way to beat Choi Min-Jeong was to get in front of her when she tries to pass on the outside. “That’s the only way you stop a Ferrari if you are a Civic,” he said. Ultimately, Choi collided with a fellow South Korean skater in the final and finished out of the money .

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Olympic fatigue may be setting in. NBC was set up for a big night on Wednesday, with a broadcast full of exciting, medal-winning performance by Americans and an Alpine skiing competition featuring both Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin (Shiffrin took the silver). Yet the 16.4 million viewers who watched NBC, NBCSN and streaming services in prime time was the second lowest of the Olympics so far, and down 19 percent from the corresponding night in Sochi. For NBC alone, the drop was 30 percent. The skiing competition wasn’t decided until after 1:30 a.m. on the U.S. East Coast, and the gripping gold-medal hockey game between the U.S. women and Canada lasted past 2 a.m. NBC estimated 3.7 million people watched the game live.

(AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Smart move by NBCSN to rebroadcast the hockey game late Thursday afternoon. It’s an instant classic, and deserves as many airings as possible. NBC’s Kenny Albert, AJ Mleczko and Pierre McGuire were sharp and low-key, recognizing the game needed no hype. It was amusing when McGuire quickly corrected himself after saying there were “too many men on the ice.” Mleczko forgave him. “I do that myself,” she admitted.

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

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Figure skating may be over at the Pyeongchang Games, but don’t worry, there is still curling! And lots of other events to watch Friday at the Olympics.

Men’s Big Air final runs are at 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Watch for Mark McMorris of Canada , who suffered near-fatal injuries after hitting a tree on his snowboard less than a year ago and came back to win a bronze medal in slopestyle. Three Americans also qualified for the Big Air final: Kyle Mack, Chris Corning and Red Gerard , who won slopestyle gold.

(AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

The first two heats of the men’s four-man bobsled final will be at 7:30 p.m. and 9:07 p.m. In the bobsled, racers have to combine brawn with agility as they work to push the sled at the start and then pile in for the bumpy ride down the hill at speeds reaching 90 mph. The pilot in the front steers and the man in the back is in charge of slamming on the brakes at the finish. The other two just keep their heads down. All four runs count for the final score. Fun fact: The sleds go so fast that the course finishes on a steep uphill to slow them down.

 (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Fans of Alpine skiing will get to see a new race this year with the team event. Teams of four will ski parallel slalom courses in a knock-out format, alternating men and women. If both racers crash out, the one who made it the farthest down the hill will be declared the winner of that round. If each team wins two rounds, the winner will be named based on the fastest times. The final runs start at 8 p.m., with the medal race set for 9:34 p.m.

 (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)