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Chris Chase

Morning Medal: Canada's next gold medal hopes, no Vonn again

Chris Chase
Fourth-Place Medal

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Morning Medal is Fourth-Place Medal's daily preview of the day ahead at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The big three (Sunday's things to watch for):

1. Once again, Vonn won't hit the slopes – Women's downhill training was again postponed Sunday, the third time these Games' pre-competition sessions have been canceled. All competitors must make at least one training run before the event. With the downhill now scheduled for Wednesday (it was supposed to run later Sunday), that will leave just two days for the field to complete training. Today was to have marked the Vancouver debut of American skiing star Lindsey Vonn, who hasn't skied a timed race since suffering a shin injury 10 days before the Olympics began.

2. Three afternoon medals – The men's 10-kilometer biathlon sprint (can something over six miles really be a sprint?), women's 3,000-meter speedskating and the men's Nordic combined will all award medals during daylight hours Sunday.

3. American surprises? – The U.S. has never won a medal in the Nordic combined or the biathlon. But Todd Lodwick and Tim Burke, respectively, have a chance to break that streak today.

Athlete to watch: Clara Hughes, speedskating, Canada

The 37-year-old, who led the Canadian delegation into BC Place during Friday's Opening Ceremony, is the first athlete to win multiple medals in both Summer and Winter Olympics. Hughes won two bronze medals in Atlanta in cycling events and earned three medals in Salt Lake City and Turin in speedskating, including a gold in the 5,000 four years ago. Today she competes in front of the hometown fans in the 3,000. If she fails to win gold, Canadians will hope it's because she lost to countrywomen Cindy Klassen or Kristina Groves.

Afternoon event of the day: Nordic combined (normal hill)

Harking back to Norwegian carnival acts of the 1800s, the Nordic combined involves both ski jumping and cross-country skiing. Competitors start with a ski jump on a normal hill and then make four laps around a 2.5-kilometer track. First one across the finish line wins. It's one of those Olympic sports you don't think of except during the two weeks of the Olympics, but it's great fun to watch.

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