What to watch for
• Competition began Saturday, when the Netherlands swept the medals in the women’s 3,000 meters, with outsider Carlijn Achtereekte earning gold. In Sochi four years ago, the Dutch won 23 of 36 medals. They’ve started 3-for-3 at the Pyeongchang Games.
• Speedskating is spicing itself up with the Olympic debut of the mass start, featuring up to 24 skaters racing 16 laps at the same time. That’s quite a change from the traditional time trial format in which pairs race against the clock. The U.S. is a medal contender in the men’s and women’s races. Joey Mantia won the world title last season, while Heather Bergsma finished third at worlds. The event closes the competition on Feb. 24.
• Bergsma and Brittany Bowe have dominated the 1,000 and 1,500 distances internationally while trading spots atop World Cup podiums.
• Shani Davis is back for a fifth Olympics at age 35. The two-time gold medalist in the 1,000 isn’t as dominant, but he hasn’t lost his passion for the sport.
• Mantia and Mitch Whitmore are medal threats in the 500 and 1,000, while Mantia will be a favorite in the mass start. Watch for Erin Jackson, a former inliner who is the first black female skater to make a U.S. Olympic long-track team.