3 to see: Fun-loving, Wu-Tang Clan-obsessed Swedish freeskier Harlaut is back for gold
February 16, 2018
Although Summit County is 16 hours behind the time in Pyeongchang, South Korea, NBCOlympics.com is providing those who want to gorge on Olympics content the opportunity to watch every event live via NBCOlympics.com/video.
That said, here are three events for Summit County sports fans to see on Saturday and early Sunday:
What: Men's ski slopestyle, qualifying and medal rounds
When: Saturday, 6/9:15 p.m. MST
Where to watch: Qualifying round — http://stream.nbcolympics.com/freeskiing-mens-slopestyle-qualifying
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Why: Because less than a month after Swedish freestyle skier Henrik Harlaut lived the dream at X Games Aspen, can the lovable big air and slopestyle skier continue to ride the wave and win Olympic gold in Pyeongchang?
Back in December, Harlaut took first place in the men's ski slopestyle Dew Tour competition at Breckenridge Ski Resort by executing a trick he said he'd only twice landed before in his life: a left dub 1620 tindy.
A few weeks later at X Games Aspen, Harlaut not only won both the ski slopestyle and big air golds, but the Wu-Tang Clan-obsessed hip hop fan also — immediately after winning big air gold — joined his Wu-Tang Clan hero Method Man and Redman onstage. And while there, Harlaut smiled wide while he threw up the Wu-Tang Clan hand sign while wearing an oversized Wu-Tang Clan sweatshirt.
Needless to say, the hip hop-loving Harlaut has had a pretty good run of recent.
It was an incredible life moment for Harlaut as, at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the Swede became famous outside freeski circles for showing the Wu-Tang Clan hand sign to the cameras before declaring: "Wu-Tang is for the children!" Harlaut was quoting late Wu-Tang Clan member Ol' Dirty Bastard.
In the time since Sochi, Harlaut has won three X Games big air golds and one slopestyle gold, while he's also continued to preach his love for Wu-Tang. For example, he's spread the "Wu-Tang is for the children" gospel around with his fellow pro freeski Armada brand teammates, as the phrase was a common refrain at the Dew Tour Team Ski Challenge in Breckenridge in December.
Harlaut's love for Wu-Tang Clan may inspire the baggy clothes-wearing free spirit on the freeski slopestyle course, but it'll take the kind of technical wizadry he showcased at Dew Tour and X Games to win his first Olympic medal. His prime competition will come from top international rivals Øystein Bråten and Ferdinand Dahl of Norway and Andri Ragettli of Switzerland. But four years after an American trio swept the ski slopestyle podium in Sochi, 2014 bronze medalist Nick Goepper and Sochi silver medalist Gus Kenworthy are back to show the United States is still a force.
What: Men's giant slalom, runs 1 and 2 (medal round)
When: Saturday, 6:15/9:45 p.m. MST
Where to watch: Run 1 — http://stream.nbcolympics.com/alpine-skiing-mens-giant-slalom-1
Why: Because fresh off his gold-medal victory in the combined, the man who may be the best Alpine skier in the world, Austrian skiing juggernaut Marcel Hirscher, is also the favorite for gold in the giant slalom. At Sochi in 2014, Hirscher excruciatingly took fourth in the giant slalom, one spot away from a bronze medal. His stiffest competition in the two-run event on Saturday evening (MST) will include Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway and Alexis Pinturault of France.
What: Men's ski aerials, medal round
When: Sunday, 4 a.m. MST
Why: Because at his fourth Winter Olympic Games, Belarus' Anton Kushnir wants to cement his legacy as an aerials legend. The 2014 Sochi gold medalist is once again the favorite for gold here in Pyeongchang. But don't tell that to Chinese technician Qi Guangpu, perhaps Kushnir's top competition for gold. Guangpu has much inspiration heading into these games after the 27-year-old missed out on a medal in Sochi by just one spot.
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