2014 Winter Olympics

Winter Olympics 2014 Schedule: Live Stream, TV Info and Opening Weekend Preview

CALGARY, CANADA - DECEMBER 12: Team USA's goalie Jessie Vetter #31 and teammate Lee Stecklein #2 celebrate their win over Canada during their National Women's Team Series December 12, 2013 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Todd Korol/Getty Images)
Todd Korol/Getty Images
Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 7, 2014

While the 2014 Olympics technically kick off on Feb. 6 with a handful of qualification events, things will truly kick into gear on Feb. 8 and Feb. 9 following the highly anticipated opening ceremony on Feb. 7 in Sochi.

A number of medals will be up for grabs during the opening weekend of the 2014 Winter Games, and those events will set the tone for the remainder of the Olympics. The Winter Olympics have undergone a transformation in recent years with the addition of several new, exciting sports, and they will be on full display early on in Sochi.

Along with a full viewing schedule for Day 3 and Day 4 of the 2014 Sochi Games, here is some further analysis regarding the events you simply won't want to miss during the opening weekend of the Winter Olympics.

 

Where: Sochi, Russia

When: Saturday, Feb. 8 and Sunday, Feb. 9

Watch: NBC, MSNBC and NBCSN

Live Stream: NBCOlympics.com

Day 3 Winter Olympics Schedule
SportEventTime (ET)TV
Women's HockeyUSA vs. Finland3 a.m.NBCSN
Cross-Country SkiingWomen's Skiathlon5:30 a.m.NBCSN
Speed SkatingMen's 5,000 Meters5:30 a.m.NBCSN
Women's HockeyCanada vs. Switzerland8 a.m.MSNBC
Figure SkatingTeam Short Dance9:30 a.m.NBCSN
Figure SkatingWomen's Short Program11 a.m.NBCSN
Figure SkatingPairs Free Skate11 a.m.NBCSN
Ski JumpingMen's Normal Hill Qualification2:30 p.m.NBC
BiathlonMen's 10-Kilometer Sprint2:30 p.m.NBC
SnowboardingMen's Slopestyle8 p.m.NBC
Freestyle SkiingWomen's Moguls8 p.m.NBC
Figure SkatingTeam Event8 p.m.NBC
NBCOlympics.com
Day 4 Winter Olympics Schedule
SportEventTime (ET)TV
Women's HockeySweden vs. Japan3 a.m.NBCSN
Cross-Country SkiingMen's Skiathlon5:30 a.m.NBCSN
Speed SkatingWomen's 3,000 Meters5:30 a.m.NBCSN
Women's HockeyRussia vs. Germany8 a.m.MSNBC
LugeMen's Singles8:30 a.m.NBCSN
Figure SkatingTeam Men's Free Skate10 a.m.NBCSN
Figure SkatingTeam Women's Free Skate10 a.m.NBCSN
Figure SkatingTeam Free Dance10 a.m.NBCSN
Ski JumpingMen's Normal Hill Final1 p.m.NBCSN
Figure SkatingTeam Event2 p.m.NBC
BiathlonWomen's 7.5-Kilometer Sprint2 p.m.NBC
Alpine SkiingMen's Downhill7 p.m.NBC
SnowboardingWomen's Slopestyle7 p.m.NBC
NBCOlympics.com

 

Top Opening Weekend Events to Watch

USA vs. Finland Women's Hockey

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 18:  Julie Chu of The United States celebrates scoring their first goal during the ice hockey women's preliminary game between USA and Finland on day 7 of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics at UBC Thunderbird Arena on February 18,
Harry How/Getty Images

While most expect Canada and the United States to battle for gold in women's hockey, Team Finland could potentially play spoiler. Finland has twice won the bronze medal in four Olympic appearances, and it is the one team with a puncher's chance of taking down either of the women's hockey powers. The Finns will have an opportunity to make their presence felt right off the bat when they face the rival Americans in group play on Feb. 8.

The United States has been dominant as of late, but it did experience a hiccup against Finland in the Four Nations Cup back in November. Finnish goalie Noora Raty stood on her head as Finland won 3-1 and became the first team other than Canada to beat Team USA in regulation. Despite the loss, United States head coach Katey Stone was encouraged by the team's 59-shot outburst, according to USAHockey.com.

I thought our team played great. Obviously we're pretty disappointed with the result, but their goaltender stood on her head. The kids stayed together and there wasn't any quit on our bench. That's the best I've seen us play, despite the result.

If the United States turns in a similar effort against Finland in the Olympics, then the outcome may very well be different. At the same time, the presence of Raty is a true threat to the American women. Both teams will want to make a statement in this contest, so it should be a highly competitive affair.

 

Men's Slopestyle Snowboard Finals

ASPEN, CO - JANUARY 26:  (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been converted to black and white.) Max Parrot of Canada soars through the air en route to second place in the Men's Snowboard Slopestyle during Winter X Games Aspen 2013 at Buttermilk Mountain on January
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

After the immense success and popularity of halfpipe snowboarding over the past two Winter Games, slopestyle will make its debut in Sochi. The men's slopestyle semifinals and finals will take place on Feb. 8, and there is no question that there will be plenty of high-flying action. This is despite the fact that American star Shaun White has decided to withdraw from slopestyle in favor of focusing on halfpipe, according to Kelly Whiteside of USA Today:

Per Nick Zaccardi of NBCOlympics.com, White decided that the risks outweighed the rewards due to the danger of the Sochi slopestyle course, which has already caused several training injuries.

With the practice runs I have taken, even after course modifications and watching fellow athletes get hurt, the potential risk of injury is a bit too much for me to gamble my other Olympic goals on.

White has a chance to become a three-time gold medalist in halfpipe, so it's difficult to blame him for bowing out. The slopestyle event loses some of its luster without White, but some Canadian snowboarders have ensured that it will still be of great interest. Canada has a chance to sweep the slopestyle podium, and both Max Parrot and Sebastien Toutant have made some noise since White's withdrawal.

In tweets that have since been deleted, Parrot said that White was "scared" and Toutant said that White was making "excuses," according to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see if Parrot and Toutant can walk the walk in addition to talking the talk.

 

Men's Ski Jumping Normal Hill Individual Finals

BISCHOFHOFEN, AUSTRIA - JANUARY 06: (FRANCE OUT) Kamil Stoch of Poland during the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup Vierschanzentournee (Four Hills Tournament) on January 06, 2014 in Bischofhofen, Austria.  (Photo by Stanko Gruden/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)
Stanko Gruden/Agence Zoom/Getty Images

It's fair to say that most American sports fans don't pay much attention to ski jumping on a yearly basis, but every four years, ski jumping is among the most exhilarating sports contested in the Winter Olympics. Although Team USA hasn't won a ski jumping medal since Anders Haugen took bronze in the large hill individual jump at the 1924 Chamonix Games, it is still an event that is well worth watching.

The men's normal hill final will be contested on Feb. 9, and it should be a competitive event if the World Cup standings are any indication. Poland's Kamil Stoch currently leads those standings, and he enters Sochi with momentum after winning the most recent event in Germany, according to the Associated Press.

As seen in this photo courtesy of FIS Ski Jumping on Twitter, the slopes are ready and waiting for the world's best to descend upon them:

As good as Stoch has been, he'll have his hands full in Sochi. Defending double gold medalist Simon Ammann of Switzerland will pose a stiff challenge, as will defending double bronze medalist Gregor Schlierenzauer of Austria, who is fourth in the World Cup standings.

Also in contention will be Petr Prevc of Slovenia and Noriaki Kasai of Japan, ranked second and third, respectively, in the World Cup standings. With so many experienced and skilled ski jumpers vying for the gold, it will make for a great viewing event.

 

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