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7 to Watch: Shiffrin, Shaun and the Fletcher Bros


San Diegans will be rooting for two hometown Olympians Tuesday as Carlsbad's Shaun White competes in the halfpipe final and Ramona's Chris Knierim competes in pairs figure skating short program. 

Here are our "7 to Watch" in Pyeongchang for Tuesday: 

Clive Mason/Getty Images

Back on Top: Shaun White Wins Halfpipe Gold

Team USA's Shaun White held off a strong field Wednesday and soared to victory in the men's halfpipe competition in Pyeongchang. White’s gold medal marks the 100th for Team USA in its history of competing at the Winter Olympics.

Watch his final run here.

Japan’s Ayumu Hirano took the silver, while Australia’s Scotty James earned the bronze.

White earned gold in Turin in 2006 and Vancouver in 2010, but didn't even crack the top three in Sochi. That outcome haunted him at times before he hit reset last summer and pointed to South Korea.

In qualifying, White exhaled after putting up a 93.75 on his first run, ensuring a spot in the finals. He later topped his own score with a 98.5.


Courtesy of Trevisan family via AP

The Knierims Advance to Pairs Figure Skating Final

Team USA’s lone entry in pairs’ figure skating, Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim, finished the short program portion of the competition in 14th place Wednesday morning at Gangneung Ice Arena. The score qualified them for the next stage, free skate, set for Thursday morning.

Skating to “Come What May” from “Moulin Rouge!” the Knierims scored a 65.55 — 34.18 for their technical score and 31.37 for performance. They were the 13th of 22 pairs to skate, with the top 16 advancing to the final.

It has been a busy first week in Pyeongchang for the husband and wife team. As the only U.S. pair, the Knierims skated both the short program and free skate in the figure skating team event, in which Team USA took bronze.


3.  Mikaela Shiffrin Finally Will Ski (If the Wintry Weather Cooperates)

Two days later than expected, Mikaela Shiffrin will make her Pyeongchang debut on Wednesday morning (Tuesday night in the U.S.).

After the giant slalom race was postponed due to dangerous winds Monday, Shiffrin will first ski in her signature event, the slalom. Shiffrin was the youngest-ever Olympic slalom champion at the Sochi Games at age 18, and she's the first woman to win three consecutive slalom world titles in 78 years. She hopes to become the first person to win the slalom gold medal twice in a row.

This will be Shiffrin’s first race of a busy schedule — she’ll be back on the mountain Thursday morning (Wednesday night in the U.S.) for the giant slalom. Skiing two races in two days shouldn’t be a problem for Shiffrin — World Cup races are often held on consecutive days. She is the favorite for a medal in slalom and giant slalom — and she might add the other three individual women’s races to her Pyeongchang itinerary.

Lindsey Vonn, another standout American skier, will not compete in the slalom.

Watch live on NBC 7, with coverage beginning at 5 p.m. PT, or on digital platforms at this link.


4. Fletcher Brothers Bring Sibling Rivalry to the Slopes in Cross-Country Skiing, Jumping

Bryan and Taylor Fletcher continue their sibling rivalry on the slopes in the Nordic combined event, a mixture of ski jumping and cross-country skiing. Bryan Fletcher, 31, was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 4 and kept his mind off chemotherapy sessions with ski jumping. After he turned to the Nordic combined, his younger brother, Taylor, followed. Taylor Fletcher made his Olympic debut in Vancouver; both brothers competed in Sochi. 

Germany is the country to beat. The Nordic combined is dominated by five-time World Cup winner and Olympic gold medalist Eric Frenzel of Germany, who won the normal hill event in Sochi, placed 10th in the large hill competition after he got ill and helped Germany will silver in the team event. Other top competitors include: Johannes Rydzek of Germany, a two-time Olympian in the sport, winning team silver and bronze medals; Jason Lamy-Chappuis of France, a gold medalist in the Nordic combined; and Jorgen Graabak, the Olympic gold medalist on the Nordic combined large hill. 

Watch live on NBCSN beginning at 11:30 p.m. PT Tuesday or on digital platforms at this link.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

5. USA Men’s Hockey Gives Up 3 Late Goals in Shock Loss to Slovenia

The U.S. men’s hockey team’s quest for a first gold medal since the "Miracle on Ice" in 1980 got off to a rough start Wednesday, as the Americans allowed Slovenia to come back from two goals down to win 3-2 in overtime.

American Brian O’Neill powered his team to the lead with a goal and an assist, but Slovenia got going early in the third period, when a deflected shot beat U.S. goalie Ryan Zapolski. Still losing with two minutes to go, Slovenia pulled its goalie to play with an extra attacker and soon had an equalizer thanks to captain Jan Mursak. Mursak scored again just 38 seconds into the sudden-death overtime.

This Olympics is the first since 1994 not to feature active NHL players, which may have made the difference in the game — none of the Americans who played in Sochi are on the roster this year, while the Slovenian team was largely unchanged.

But there’s a silver lining to the U.S.’s first day in action. The tournament favorites, the Olympic Athletes from Russia, lost their opener as well, falling to Slovakia 3-2 in regulation time. That means the U.S. is still above the Russians in the group standings. 

6.  Arielle Gold Gets Sweet Redemption 

Americans Arielle Gold and Kelly Clark battled for the bronze medal. Ultimately, Gold bumped Clark out of third by landing a frontside 1080 in her final run.

It was a comeback story of sorts. Gold was forced to withdraw before the competition even started at the 2014 Games after a scary fall in the halfpipe during practice resulted in a dislocated shoulder.

On the Today Show Tuesday, the Colorado native said she knew she had the potential to get to the medal stand. 

"Confidence is key in this situation," Gold said. 

Watch the interview and hear how Gold said she used visualization to achieve her success here.

Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

7. Hamlin Retires After Historic Luge Career

Erin Hamlin, America’s flag bearer during the opening ceremony, was unable to defend her bronze medal in singles luge Tuesday, coming in sixth in the competition that will be her last. 

Hamlin is retiring after the Pyeongchang Games, her fourth Olympics. The medal she won at the 2014 Winer Olympics was Team USA’s first Olympic singles luge medal in the sport’s 50-year Olympic history. 

Fellow American Emily Sweeney crashed in the final round of sliding, bringing the competition to a halt as she received medical attention, but she was ultimately able to walk off the track. 

Defending Olympic champion Natalie Geisenberger of Germany won another gold.

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