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Beijing Preview, Feb. 7: Nathan Chen back on the ice and US-Canada hockey rekindled

The U.S. and Canada together have won all seven Olympic women's hockey tournaments and they're likely to meet again for the gold.

It's time for the United States vs. Canada in women's hockey. Round one of two, in all likelihood.

The North American powerhouses play live Monday night in what may be the most anticipated event on Day 3 of the Beijing Games. It would be even more significant, except the teams seem likely to meet again for the gold medal later.

Also Monday, Nathan Chen begins his bid for individual gold when he skates in the men's short program.

US, Canada renew hockey border rivalry

Either the U.S. or Canada has won all seven Olympic women's hockey tournaments, and only once has anyone else (Sweden) finished second. In 2018, the Americans won the gold in a shootout over Canada.

“When you actually see two equals getting after it, it’s a special opportunity, and that’s why I think people tune in to watch it,” U.S. coach Joel Johnson said. “It should be fun.”

“Our team is right where we need to be at the right time," American veteran Amanda Kessel said. "We had a bunch of games canceled against them the past few months, so we have been waiting for that day to get another chance to play them.”

Credit: AP
United States' Hilary Knight plays against Finland during a preliminary round women's hockey game at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Nathan Chen back on the ice in men's short program

Chen won the short program while competing for the U.S. in the team competition, but that event didn't include Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu, the two-time defending men's champion. It was still a good start for Chen at these Olympics.

“It’s nice to be able to have run-throughs like this," he said. "Whatever you can take from each practice, whether good or bad, you take with you, and that’s the same thing with competition.”

Credit: AP
Nathan Chen, of the United States, competes during the men's singles short program team event in the figure skating competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Less than 24 hours before the competition, fellow U.S. men's figure skater Vincent Zhou announced he would have to withdraw from the individual competition because he has tested positive for the coronavirus. 

2 Americans in women's freeski big air final, but one competes for China

Eileen Gu, the San Francisco native competing in freestyle skiing for her mother's homeland of China, is a medal contender in Big Air. Darian Stevens has also qualified for Monday's final for Team USA.

US flagbearer hits speedskating ice

Brittany Bowe, a flagbearer for the U.S. in the opening ceremony, is a medal hopeful for the Americans in speedskating. Her best races are the 1,000 meters and the 1,500, and the latter takes place Monday.

Ireen Wust, the 35-year-old Dutch star who has won five Olympic golds and 11 overall medals, is also in that event.

Credit: AP
FILE - United States' Brittany Bowe skates during the women's 1000-meter World Cup speedskating race at the Utah Olympic Oval, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in Kearns, Utah. The most successful U.S. Winter Olympic sport has won just one medal since 2010. But the Americans have a chance to claim a handful in Beijing. Erin Jackson is the favorite to win the 500 meters and Brittany Bowe is a similar threat in the 1,000. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

Also of note

Two short track speedskating gold medals are at stake in the women's 500 and men's 1,000. Italy's Arianna Fontana won gold in the 500 in 2018, one of nine Olympic medals in her career. 

Norway's Aleksander Aamodt Kilde leads the World Cup standings in the super-G.

   

Travis Pittman contributed to this report.

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