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.”
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.”
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.
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.