The Swiss foursome of Pirmin Zurbriggen, Peter Mueller, Daniel Mahrer and Franz Heinzer are the team to beat in the glamor event of the Winter Games. Mueller clocked the fastest time in yesterday's final practice run on Nakiska, where today's expected high temperature is 4 degrees. The best U.S. finish yesterday was by Jeff Olson, tied for 26th.
Dan Jansen and Nick Thometz could bring the United States its first medals of the Games in the men's 500 meters. Sergei Fokichev of the Soviet Union and Japan's Akira Kuroiwa also are strong contenders.
Finland's Matti Nykanen is the man to beat and among those with a chance is Jens Weisflog of East Germany, defending gold medalist in the 70-meter competition.
Always a crowd pleaser and ABC's prime time attraction tonight, the pairs get started on their two-night schedule with their short programs. Soviets Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov are regarded as virtual locks for the gold, but watch for splashy moves and a move into medal position by Jill Watson and Peter Oppegard of the United States.
Day two of the competition will feature the first game for the Canadians, considered among the medal favorites. Team Canada will be in trouble if it does not easily handle Poland at 4:30.