This is how the twelfth day of the Olympics works: at least one small miracle is always possible

This is how the twelfth day of the Olympics goes
At least one small miracle is always inside

From a German point of view, there are no big favorites on the second Olympic Wednesday in Beijing, but there are three chances of small sensations: the biathlon women have to show their colors, skier Linus Straßer has still made it into the group of candidates and the cross-country skiers want to be pigs again.

Biathlon: Which face do the German biathlon women show in the relay race (from 8.45 a.m./ARD and in the live ticker on in their penultimate competition? The golden one from the strong individual competition over 15 kilometers, in which Denise Herrmann surprisingly won and Vanessa Voigt just missed out on the bronze medal? Or the disappointing and disappointing sprint that ended in a German debacle and also demoted the pursuit race to a training lap under competitive conditions? Voigt, Vanessa Hinz, Franziska Preuss and Herrmann will give the answer over 4×6 kilometers. The German women did not even make it onto the podium in four World Cup relays before the Olympics, it was actually about time.

But the competition is strong: Norway is a top favorite, and Sweden and Belarus are also strong. In 2014 and 2018, the German Ski Association team went away empty-handed. After eight of eleven competitions, Herrmann and Co. only have three races left to avert the weakest German Olympic result ever. There has only been one medal since reunification in biathlon, two silver medals in Sochi in 2014 are the weakest result so far for the former medal collectors.

Alpine skiing: The German Ski Association has not yet contributed a medal to the overall result of the German Olympic team. Lena Dürr and Kira Weidle narrowly missed out on medals in the slalom and downhill as fourth. “It’s so bitter. The disappointment is great at first,” said 25-year-old Weidle on Tuesday after her shattered dream and fought back tears. Now it’s up to Linus Straßer to improve the balance: In the slalom (2nd run from 6.45 a.m.) the Bavarian starts as a medal candidate.

The fact that Straßer appears in the extended circle of favorites is mainly due to a race: he surprisingly raced to victory in the legendary night slalom in Schladming at the end of January – and is one of only three drivers in this Olympic winter to have stood on the podium twice in the slalom. However, consistency is not the thing of the most successful German slalom skier since Felix Neureuther’s resignation: once he was 14th, twice he was eliminated. “There is so little between suffering and something like that here,” said Straßer after his famous victory in Schladming. In the giant slalom he was eliminated in the first round. But now it’s all about the triumph again, the greatest that the sport has to offer.

cross-country skiing: The silver medal for the German women’s cross-country relay was one of the big positive surprises from a German perspective at these Winter Olympics. Completely surprising, the German team had broken into the phalanx of Scandinavians. The Germans are now also hoping for the team sprint. “We have a chance there too. Of course we’re hot now, no question about it,” said Katharina Hennig and then said a sentence that she had already uttered before the silver medal: “We’ll fight like pigs again.”

Hennig starts at 10.15 a.m. with Katherine Sauerbrey to repeat the coup from one of the most dramatic cross-country races in recent history. After a large gap to third and fourth place, the German relay finally saved a lead of 2.5 seconds over the third-placed Swedes and three seconds over Finland “on the last groove” to the finish, as team boss Peter Schlickenrieder put it. Norway, Sweden and the USA are favoured.

Because of the extreme cold, the competitions have been brought forward. The races were originally scheduled 105 minutes later. In the Chinese mountains, the extreme cold makes things difficult for the athletes. During the ski jumping team competition, temperatures dropped to below minus 20 degrees. After Hennig/Sauerbrey, Albert Kuchler and Janosch Brugger will start for the men for Germany.

Ski Freestyle: No German was able to qualify for the finals in slopestyle for freestyle ski artists. Nevertheless, the competition from 2.30 a.m. will be spectacular. In slopestyle, the athletes glide over iron bars and jump over snow ramps on a demanding course. They show spectacular flight interludes – sometimes even backwards. The same applies to the second freestyle decision of the day: There are no German starters in the aerials either. In the Aerials discipline, the athletes jump almost vertically up into the air over a steep hill and show spectacular combinations of somersaults, twists and slide tackles (from 12 p.m.).

Short track: “The Olympics always have their own rules and laws. There were so many falls, so many favorites were eliminated. Everyone is nervous. My goal is to make it to the semi-finals. Anything is possible in short track,” says Anna Seidel . The 23-year-old is Germany’s best short tracker and counts on something over 1500 meters from 12.30 p.m. The two-time European champion, who experienced her first Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014 at the age of just 15, is not one of the absolute best in the world, but in Germany she is untouchable. And once the semi-finals are done, then anything is possible. In the short track, the runner athletes – compared to classic speed skating – use shorter and narrower lanes in their races. No German team starts in the relay over 5000 meters.

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