Why you should care
Because the next Miracle on Ice (or Snow) will not be televised in prime time.
We all love the Winter Olympics. But we also love sleep. With the Games nine time zones away from the East Coast of the U.S. — and a full 12 hours from the West Coast — something has to give.
The Olympic organizers put all the figure skating events after 9:30 a.m. ET, but, as we’ve been telling you, there’s much more to these Games than the typical crowd favorites. You might not pull an all-nighter every night unless you’re a hard-core curling fan. But if you pick a few days to put the coffeemaker on full blast, here are your best bets:
SNOWBOARDING, MEN’S SLOPESTYLE
Saturday, Feb. 8, semifinals at 12:30 a.m. ET, finals at 3:45 a.m. ET
Slopestyle, one of the new action-oriented events, will be fun to watch even in the absence of American halfpipe/skateboard king Shaun White, who withdrew after injuring his wrist in a training run. White has had an icy rivalry with Canadian ace Mark McMorris, who’s planning to compete despite having fractured a rib at the X Games. Snowboarders ride rails and soar in the air for complex tricks. Witness the kind of thrills you can expect to see:
You can also see women’s slopestyle the next morning, with colorful tree-hugger Jamie Anderson of the U.S. favored for gold. The semifinals are at 1:30 a.m. ET, then finals at 4:15.
ALPINE SKIING, MEN’S DOWNHILL
Sunday, Feb. 9, 2 a.m. ET
One of the classic glamour sports in the Games, with skiers streaking down a steep, icy slope at ridiculous speeds. The best U.S. hope is aging multimedalist Bode Miller, whose comeback is peaking just in time for Sochi, but the favorite is Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal (ex-boyfriend of U.S. star Julia Mancuso).
CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING, WOMEN’S SPRINT
Tuesday, Feb. 11, 7 a.m. ET
Kikkanimal! That’s U.S. skier Kikkan Randall, the back-to-back World Cup sprint champion. After qualification (at 5 a.m., if you nudge the alarm a little earlier), the sprints are head-to-head heats with six skiers each. The women alternate heats with the men, with the women’s quarterfinals due at 7 a.m., the semifinals at 7:56 and the final at 8:22. Give or take a minute.
SHORT-TRACK SPEEDSKATING, MULTIPLE EVENTS
Saturday, Feb. 15, 5 a.m. ET
The rough-and-tumble sport is a fan favorite every four years. The action takes place on five days spread out through two weeks. The marquee date is Feb. 21, with three finals, including the men’s relay final. But that’ll be broadcast after noon on the East Coast, so you can still sleep in or watch from work. We won’t tell your boss. If you’re picking one day to get up early and catch the action, this is the one — three rounds of action in the women’s 1,500 meters and the men’s 1,000 meters, all leading up to finals just after 7 a.m.
BOBSLED, MEN’S FOUR-MAN
Sunday, Feb. 23, 4:30 a.m. ET
Steven Holcomb overcame a devastating vision problem, depression and a suicide attempt to win gold in 2010. He has the form to do it again.
And that’s the last day of the Olympics, with a mere three events scheduled. If you get up before 4 a.m., you can catch the end of the men’s cross-country skiing 50-kilometer endurance test. The bobsled should end just in time for us all to catch the men’s hockey gold medal game.
Then watch the closing ceremony — or just take a nap. The next Winter Olympics will be Pyeongchang, South Korea, 14 hours ahead of the East Coast. You’ll need to get some rest.