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Olympic Daily Preview - Thursday, February 13th

<p>Norway's Ole Einar Bjorndalen gets another chance to capture his 13th Winter Olympics medal on Thursday in the men's individual 20-kilometer biathlon event.</p>

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Norway's Ole Einar Bjorndalen gets another chance to capture his 13th Winter Olympics medal on Thursday in the men's individual 20-kilometer biathlon event.

Bjorndalen took gold at the 2014 Sochi Games in the 10-km sprint, tying countryman Bjorn Daehlie for the Winter Olympic record. It was his seventh career gold medal, but he then finished fourth in Monday's 12.5-km pursuit.

History could be on the 40-year-old's side as he took gold in this event in the 2002 Salt Lake City games before capturing silver in 2006 and 2010. He finished second four years ago in Vancouver to countryman Emil Hegle Svendsen, who gave Norway the gold in this event for the third time in the past four Olympics.

The men's ice hockey tournament will feature a number of NHL stars in action on Thursday as the U.S., Canada and Russia will all start group play.

Alex Ovechkin and host Russia begin their Group A slate against Slovenia, while the Americans and captain Zach Parise square off against Slovakia. In Group B, Sidney Crosby and Team Canada take on Norway, while Finland does battle with Austria.

The men's side of things got started on Wednesday, with Sweden topping the Czech Republic and Switzerland downing Latvia in Group C action.

The women are set for two games on Thursday as Japan takes on Germany and Sweden tangles with Russia in a matchup of 2-0 clubs.

After another dominating performance by the Dutch men in the 1,000 meters on Wednesday, the women will hit the ice at the Adler Arena for the same distance on Thursday in speed skating action.

Ireen Wust will try to keep the orange wave going, as the Dutchwoman captured gold in the 3,000 meters on Sunday. She finished fourth in the 1,000 meters in 2006 and was eighth four years ago in Vancouver.

South Korea's Sang Hwa Lee already has one gold this week, capturing the title in the women's 500 meters in record time, but the shorter distance is her best. She was 23rd in the 1,000 four years ago in Vancouver.

Canada's Christine Nesbitt is the defending champion at the distance, while Americans Heather Richardson and Brittany Bowe could find the podium. Richardson was eighth in the 500 and Bowe was 13th.

The women's 10-kilometer cross-country is set for Thursday with Norway's Marit Bjoergen and Sweden's Charlotte Kalla ready resume their rivalry. Bjoergen outsprinted Kalla to the finish line for the gold medal Saturday in the 15-k skiathlon.

Kalla won gold in the 10-k four years ago in Vancouver, while Bjoergen took the bronze medal that year.

The Norwegians will bring a strong contingent to the race, as 15-k bronze medalist Heidi Weng and world cup leader Therese Johaug will join Bjoergen. Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk was fifth in the 10-k four years ago and is also a medal threat.

Luge at the 2014 Olympics comes to close with a new event, the team relay. This competition features four-person teams consisting of a women and men's single luger as well as a two-man double team. The order for the event will go woman, man, doubles and at the finish each athlete must touch the special touch-pad, which automatically opens the in-run gate for the next team member.

The Germans have dominated luge in Sochi, winning gold in all three events. Men's singles winner Felix Loch, women's gold-medal winner Natalie Geisenberger and the duo of Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt will all race on Thursday for Germany.

The U.S. team will feature Sochi bronze medalist Erin Hamlen, while Canada's Alex Gough will race after finishing fourth in the women's singles.

Thursday also will mark the first showcasing of the men's ski slopestyle, two days after the women debuted the new Olympic event. Canada's Dara Howell took gold on Tuesday, with American Devil Logan earning a silver.

The U.S. will have four skiers going, including three-time X Games medalist Nicholas Goepper. He followed up a 2012 silver with back-to-back golds in the event. Joss Christensen, Bobby Brown and Gus Kenworthy will also try to land on the podium for the U.S., while Alex Beaulieu-Marchand is the lone Canadian in the event.

There will be plenty of short track action on Thursday, with the women handing out a medal in the 500-meter and the men participating in heats in the 1000- meter as well as racing the semifinals of the 5000-m relay.

Canada's Marianne St-Gelais, a silver medalist at the 2010 Games, sailed into the quarterfinals of the women's 500m short track speed skating competition after winning her qualifying heat on Monday. Fellow countrywoman Valeria Maltais and Jessica Hewitt also advanced, while Italy's Arianna Fontana, who claimed the bronze medal in Vancouver, won her heat.

Emily Scott was the only American to move into the quarterfinals.

China's Meng Wang, who won gold at this event in 2006 and four years ago in Vancouver, sustained an injury in January while training for the Games and was unable to compete.

The men's individual program in figure skating starts on Wednesday with the short program. The U.S. will have two skaters going in Jeremy Abbott and Jason Brown as they try to follow injured Evan Lysacek's gold medal showing from the 2010 Games in Vancouver. Lysacek will not defend his title due to a torn labrum in his left hip.

Canadian Patrick Chan is a three-time world champion, while Russian Evgeni Plushenko won gold in 2006 as well as silvers in Vancouver and 2002 in Salt Lake City. Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu and Javier Fernandez of Spain are also medal contenders.

Skelton gets underway on Thursday with women's heats.

The U.S. will have two races in Katie Uhlaender and Noelle Pikus-Pace, who finished fourth in the 2010 Vancouver Games and second in the 2013 World Championships that were won by Great Britain's Shelley Rudman.

Rudman, who silvered in 2006, is set to race on Thursday along with Germany's Anja Huber, who claimed Bronze four years ago.

Canada will be represented by Sarah Redi, who finished third in the 2013 World Championships, and Mellisa Hollingsworth. Hollingsworth followed up a bronze in the 2006 Games with a fifth-place finish in Vancouver.

Round robin in curling continues with seven matches on the women's side and four for the men. Canada and Switzerland are both 3-0 and are set to play twice on Thursday, including a head-to-head encounter in the later session. Canada will also play twice, while the 0-4 U.S. team takes on Japan.

The men have a pair of undefeated teams in idle 4-0 China and 3-0 Norway, which takes on Sweden. Canada is 2-2 and will look to get on track in a matchup with Denmark, while the U.S. aims to build off its first win as it takes on Great Britain.

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