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Olympic Update: Bennett Leads Team USA in First Downhill Training Run


Jared Goldberg was 11th in the first training run at the Jeongseon Alpine Center Thursday. (Getty Images/AFP - Javier Soriano)

Bennett Leads Team USA in First Training Run
Team USA experienced its first taste of the Jeongseon downhill track in the first of three training runs Thursday. Racing under bright sunshine, and on a hard-fast, Colorado-snow-like track, Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley, Calif.) led the way in seventh. “That was so much fun!” Bennett said after his run.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle (Starksboro, Vt.) was 10th; Jared Goldberg (Squaw Valley, Calif) 11th; Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, N.Y.) 16th; Wiley Maple (Aspen, Colo.) 23rd; Thomas Biesemeyer (Keene, N.Y.) 32nd and Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah) 57th.
Downhill training runs continue Friday and Saturday ahead of Sunday’s race.
Downhill training run 1
Downhill training run 2

Mogul Athletes Ready To Rip
The first round of qualifications for moguls kicks off Friday morning at Phoenix Park, and the U.S. moguls team is primed to perform. “The team looked ready to rip in today’s final training session,” said head coach Matt Gnoza. “They each came out with a plan to polish up their runs before tomorrow’s qualifications and they executed those plans to perfection. The entire team is skiing well in all three phases of the game – turns, air and speed – and we’re psyched to get in the gate and get after it.”
Competition begins at 10 a.m. KST with women’s qualifications followed by men’s at 11:45 a.m. KST. The top 10 finishers from Friday’s qualification round will advance to finals. A secondary round of qualifications for women will take place on Sunday, Feb. 11, advancing another 10 skiers for a total of 20 in finals.
Men’s mogul qualifying
Women’s mogul qualifying

Nordic Team Chats With Couric
Training continued at the Alpensia Nordic Centre for cross country with afternoon sessions on the track. The final members of the team arrive into the region Friday with an opening press conference for Simi Hamilton (Aspen, Colo,), Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, Vt.), Sophie Caldwell (Peru, Vt.) and Liz Stephen (E. Montpelier, Vt.). Thursday Jessie Diggins (Afton, Minn.), Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, Wash.) and Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) spent time with NBC’s Katie Couric. Watch for the interview during Friday’s Opening Ceremony coverage on NBC.
“It was a blast sharing our sport with Katie and the NBC staff,” Ida Sargent said. “I'm really impressed with how much she already knew about cross country skiing!”

Full Team USA in Ski Jumping Finals

For the first time since 1998, Team USA qualified all four athletes into an Olympic ski jumping medal round. Kevin Bickner (Wauconda, Ill.) led the way in Thursday’s qualifying soaring 114.0 meters to finish 25th. He will be joined in Saturday night’s  competition by teammates Michael Glasder (Cary, Ill.), Will Rhoads (Park City, Utah) and junior Casey Larson (Barrington, Ill.).
“You can definitely see the progress our team is making,” said Bickner. “It’s cool to see all four of our guys make the medal event.”
The last time Team USA had four men in a medal round was the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, before the current qualifying process was in place. Saturday’s medal event will begin at 9:35 p.m. KST at the Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre.
Men’s Round 1

Competition Opens Monday
Shaun White, Kelly Clark, and Chloe Kim highlighted the halfpipe snowboarding team’s opening press conference at the Alpensia Main Press Center Thursday morning. In the afternoon the eight pipe athletes had a chance to get into the halfpipe for the first time. Competition opens with women’s qualifying on Monday. The slopestyle athletes had their second-straight day of training getting ready for men’s finals on Monday and women on Tuesday.

*All times EST.

9:00-11:35 p.m. - Men's normal hill ski jumping qualifying
10:05 p.m.-1:35 a.m. - Moguls qualifying, men's downhill training

NBCOlympics.com - Live Streaming
7:30-8:40 a.m. - Men's normal hill ski jumping qualifying
8:00-8:45 p.m. - Women's moguls qualifying (Friday)
9:45-10:30 p.m. - Men's moguls qualifying (Friday)
9:00-11:00 p.m. - Men's downhill training (Friday)

8:00-11:00 p.m. - Opening Ceremony

NBCOlympics.com - Live Streaming
6:00-9:00 a.m. - Opening Ceremony
8:00 p.m.-12:30 a.m. - Men's slopestyle snowboarding qualifying
9:00-11:00 p.m. - Men's downhill training (Saturday)

3:00-6:00 a.m. - Men's cross country skiathlon
7:00-11:00 p.m. - Women's alpine giant slalom first run (live), women's moguls, women's slopestyle snowboarding finals
11:35 p.m.-1:00 a.m. - Women's giant slalom second run (live), women's halfpipe snowboarding qualifying (live)

5:00-9:00 a.m. - Men's cross country skiathlon
8:00-11:30 p.m. - Women's slopestyle snowboarding finals (live)

Olympic Channel: Home Of Team USA
5:00-7:00 a.m. - Medal Ceremony (live)
12:00-12:30 p.m. - Winter Olympics Daily with Jimmy Roberts

NBCOlympics.com - Live Streaming
11:30 p.m.- 1:35 a.m. - Women's slopestyle snowboarding qualifying
1:15-3:10 a.m. - Men's cross country skiathlon
5:30-6:00 a.m. - Women's moguls qualifying
7:00-8:40 a.m. - Women's moguls finals
8:00-9:45 p.m. - Women's slopestyle snowboarding finals (Monday)
8:15-9:55 a.m. - Women's first run slalom (Monday)
11:30 p.m.-1:00 p.m. - Women's halfpipe snowboarding qualifying (Monday)

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