The second day of competition featured the highly anticipated debut of figure skater Nathan Chen in the men’s short program for the team competition event. Other highlights included Americans Jaelin Kauf, Morgan Schild and Keaton McCargo qualifying for the finals in women’s moguls. The Hamilton siblings suffered a tough loss to Korea in mixed doubles curling.
A debut to forget for Nathan Chen
Falls, falls, and more falls, that was the theme of the men’s short program that kicked off the figure skating team event. Back for its second Games, the team figure skating event definitely seemed like a warm up for most of the men competiting on the ice. Chen executed his first element, the first quadruple flip ever performed in Olympic competition and then completed a double toeloop to connect the ambitious combination.
He ran into trouble with his second jump, a second quad jump but doubled it instead. His third jump was worse, fell on his triple axel attempt. His score of 80.61 was good enough for fourth on a day where many of the men also fell in the short program.
Married couple Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim helped make up for Chen’s poor performance by turning in a near-flawless routine in the pairs short program. They also earned fourth place in their event, which put the Americans into second place overall at the conclusion of the evening. Canada leads the competition with 17 points, followed by the U.S. with 14, then Japan and the Olympic Athletes from Russia with 13 points each.
American’s do what’s necessary to qualify for women’s moguls
USA’s Jaelin Kauf, Morgan Schild and Keaton McCargo both finished in the top 10 in the qualfying round, which automatically advances them to the finals. Kauf is the current World Cup leader and finished fifth overall with a socre of 77.45.
19-year-old Perrine Laffont was the top qualifier, scoring a 79.72. She made her Olympic debut four years ago in Sochi, where she was the youngest skier in the field (age 15) and placed 14th overall. American Tess Johnson will need to go through the next round of qualifying after having a rough start to her first run. Competition resumes on Sunday with the second qualifying round, followed by the finals.
No surprise for men’s moguls in qualifying round
Mikael Kingsbury is the heavy favorite to win gold in the men’s moguls and he had no problem in the first round of qualifying. His score of 86.07 was more than two points higher than the next competitor. Troy Murphy from the U.S. finished fourth overall in the qualifying round with a score of 80.95.
Americans Casey Andringa, Brad Wilson and Emerson Smith must all ski in the second qualifying round to make the final. Casey Andringa has had to battle back from a lot of injuries this season to attempt a comeback at the Olympics.
Hamilton siblings disappoint in second day of curling
After losing their first game of the day against Switzerland, the Hamilton siblings needed to deliver a big win against Korea in their second game to keep their hopes of reaching the semifinals alive. Simply put, it didn’t happen, it wasn’t even close. The Americans lost in six ends 9-1.
The Hamilton’s came into the game with the highest shooting percentage among the eight teams in the field, with Becca shooting 78 percent and Matt shooting 83 percent. However, through three ends they were shooting under 50 percent.
The worst takeaway of the game is that the U.S. has now gone 21 ends without scoring more than a single point. The U.S. will play China on Friday and will need other teams to lose in order to reach the semifinals. Through day two of round robin play, Switzerland, Canada and Norway are tied at the top of the leaderboard with a 3-1 record overall.