The Winter Olympics will begin in PyeongChang, South Korea, this week. Here are some facts you should know before the Games begin. Eric Garland McClatchy
The Winter Olympics will begin in PyeongChang, South Korea, this week. Here are some facts you should know before the Games begin. Eric Garland McClatchy

Olympics

Here’s when you can watch North Carolina’s Winter Olympians compete in South Korea

By J. Mike Blake

mblake@newsobserver.com

February 08, 2018 01:45 PM

Three athletes with North Carolina connections will represent Team USA at the Winter Olympics, which start today in Pyeongchang, South Korea: men’s hockey player Bobby Sanguinetti, formerly of the Carolina Hurricanes, and long track speedskaters Heather Bergsma of High Point and Kimani Griffin of Winston-Salem.

Randi Griffin of Apex is on the unified Korean team’s women’s hockey roster.

Here is when North Carolina’s Olympians will compete:

When to watch Team USA trio

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Bergsma, a women’s long track speedskater, is competing in her third Olympics. She’s hoping for her first medal. Kimani Griffin, a men’s long track speedskater is in his first Olympics.

United States' Kimani Griffin skates during a Speed Skating training session prior to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Feb. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
Felipe Dana AP

There are medal events in long track speedskating nearly every day: Feb. 10-16, 18-19, 21 and 23-24.

Men’s short-track speedskating coach Anthony Barthell is from High Point.

Former Hurricanes player Sanguinetti lives in Wilmington but is from New Jersey. Team USA men’s hockey opens play Feb. 14. The men’s quarterfinals are Feb. 21 with the bronze medal game on Feb. 24 and the gold medal game on Feb. 25.

Waiting her turn

Charlotte’s Briauna Jones is an alternate in women’s bobsledding. There are only two spots on each bobsled and two teams per country. If Lauren Gibbs or Aja Evans get sick or injured, Jones – who beat out Lolo Jones, among others – is in as the “brakeman.” Until that happens, she’s not able to march in the opening or closing ceremony or live in the Olympic Village.

Elana Meyers Taylor, right, and Briauna Jones, of the United States, push their bobsled during training before a World Cup event in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Nov. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)
Peter Morgan AP

The bobsled team has events Feb. 17-25.

Medal chances?

Sports Illustrated predicts a bronze for Bergsma in the 1,000 meters, but doesn’t predict a medal for Kimani Griffin. The Netherlands dominates men’s long track speedskating, while Japan and the Czech Republic do the same on the women’s side.

Sanguinetti and the U.S. men’s hockey team will be the underdog against Sweden, Canada and Russia.

A medal for the Korean women’s hockey team and Randi Griffin, who just sustained a hip injury and may miss some time, is a long shot. Her team starts play on Feb. 10.

Briauna Jones’ best shot would be if she was paired up with Elana Meyers Taylor, who is predicted to get a silver by SI.

J. Mike Blake: 919-460-2606, @JMBpreps