Athletes to Watch Today

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Speed skating

CHAD HEDRICK

TV: NBC, 8 p.m.-midnight -- Chad Hedrick, who came to Turin with a chance to become the first man in speed skating to win five gold medals in a single Olympics since Eric Heiden, is still trying to pick up his second. He certainly shouldn't be disappointed if he leaves with only two. Expectations, the media's and his own, were unrealistic considering how he'd skated here. He won his first event, the 5,000 meters, but he never really had much of a chance in the 1,000. Or in the team pursuit, after Shani Davis pulled out of the event. Hedrick won a bronze medal in the 1,500. Today's 10,000 is more his speed. He's better in the distance races and should at least win a medal. He's the world-record holder in this event. No matter what happens, it has been a good Olympics for someone who did not take up speed skating seriously until four years ago.

Randy Harvey

Alpine skiing

Julia Mancuso

TV: NBC, 8 p.m.-midnight -- Julia Mancuso is down to her final chance. Actually, the entire U.S. women's alpine team is. It's been a disappointing couple of weeks for the women skiers, who came to Italy with big expectations. Entering the final alpine skiing event today, the Americans have been shut out. Mancuso has competed in three of the four events at these Games. She finished seventh in downhill, ninth in the combined and 11th in the super-G. Today on the mountain, the Reno, Nev. native will have to beat Croatia's Janica Kostelic, who won four medals in Salt Lake City and already has two from Turin.

Rick Maese

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