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4 to Watch: Chloe Kim Takes Gold; Snowboarder Shaun White Takes to Slopes

Southern California snowboaders highlight the Olympics action in Pyeongchang

ICE DHS in Puerto Rico

Chloe Kim took gold in the women's snowboard halfpipe and Shaun White qualified for the finals.

The 17-year-old from Torrance, California, dominated the halfpipe final on Tuesday with a near-perfect 98.25 while her family watched, including her South Korean grandmother.

Kim and White highlighted an action-packed day that includes speed skaters Shani Davis, Joey Mantia and Maame Biney, and a women's hockey game between Team USA and the Olympic Athletes from Russia. 

Here are four events to watch in Pyeongchang: 

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1. Kim Goes for Gold, White Makes Pyeongchang Debut


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Kim, whose parents are from South Korea, has dominated the women's halfpipe in the years since the Sochi Games, when she was too young to compete. In 2016, she became the first woman to land back-to-back 1080s in a halfpipe contest. She began snowboarding at age 4 with her father, but does not like snow.

"Actually, I hate it," Kim told Sports Illustrated in January. "I grew up in Southern California."

White won gold medals in the men's halfpipe in his first two Olympics, but finished fourth in Sochi in 2014. He's looking for redemption in Pyeongchang. White delivered a near-perfect halfpipe performance in the men’s halfpipe qualifying Tuesday (Monday night local), setting the stage for a triumphant Olympic comeback in the finals on Wednesday (Tuesday night local).

After falling behind Australia’s Scotty James and Japan’s Ayumu Hirano in the first qualifying run, the two-time gold medalist scored a 98.5 in the second round to clinch the top spot.

White was one of four Americans to qualify for the final, joining Ben Ferguson, Chase Josey and Jake Pates.

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2. U.S. Women's Hockey Continues Quest for Gold vs. Russians

The U.S. women’s hockey team won its opening game in Pyeongchang against Finland, 3-1, on Sunday and followed that up Tuesday with a 5-0 rout of the Olympic Athletes from Russia. The Russians are the youngest team in the tournament, with less experience and almost an entirely new roster from the team that played four years ago in Sochi.

The Americans have failed to win a gold medal since the sport was added to the Games in 1998. Most heartbreaking was their loss to powerhouse Canada in the gold medal game at Sochi. The Canadians, their longtime rivals, have won four straight gold medals.

Watch live on NBCSN at 4:10 a.m. PT Tuesday or on digital platforms

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3. Americans Take Ice in 1500m Medal Event

Four-time Olympic medalist Shani Davis and his compatriots Joey Mantia and Brian Hansen were unable to grab a place on the podium in the 1,500-meter long track speedskating event Tuesday.

Davis and Mantia were part of the disappointing team that went without any medals at the Sochi Games in 2014, which Mantia has called "a complete disaster." The 1,500 meter is his best event and he was considered the Americans’ best shot at a medal. 

Mantia’s eighth place finish was the best among the Americans and an improvement on his Sochi results, but nowhere near the Netherlands’ Kjeld Nuis, who took gold. Team USA hasn’t won a speedskating medal since the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. 

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4. U.S. Lugers Face the Powerhouse Germans

Erin Hamlin, America’s flag bearer during the opening ceremony, was unable to defend her bronze medal in singles luge Tuesday, coming in sixth place in the competition that will be her last.

Hamlin is retiring after the Pyeongchang Games, her fourth Olympics. The medal she won at the 2014 Winer Olympics was Team USA’s first Olympic singles luge medal in the sport’s 50-year Olympic history.

Fellow American Emily Sweeney crashed in the final round of sliding, bringing the competition to a halt as she received medical attention, but she was ultimately able to walk off the track.

Defending Olympic champion Natalie Geisenberger of Germany won another gold.

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