The 2014 Sochi Winter Games begin on Thursday with a handful of sports, none more popular than figure skating.
Opening day will not feature the traditional style of figure skating fans are used to, however. Instead, a new discipline will make its Olympic debut—team figure skating, featuring the men’s short program and pairs short program.
Per Patrick Rishe of Forbes, nearly 65 percent of American adults (approximately 158 million people) are projected to tune in to watch at least some of the Sochi Games, with a majority (93 million) expected to catch figure skating.
All eyes will be on these men and women as they take to the rink to impress the world. Let’s take a look at where you can watch the qualifying event on Day 1 of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
|Viewing Guide for Day 1 of Sochi Olympics - Figure Skating|
|Event||Specifics||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream|
|Figure Skating||Men’s Short Program||10:30 a.m.||NBC (coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET)||NBC Live Extra|
|Figure Skating||Pairs Short Program||12:10 p.m.||NBC (coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET)||NBC Live Extra|
Stars to Watch
Men’s Short Program: Jeremy Abbott
Jeremy Abbott is a four-time national champion who represents the United States’ best chance of grabbing a medal in Sochi during this new event.
The 28-year-old is skating better than ever and just made history in January by setting a record score of 99.86 from the judges with a virtuoso performance in Boston during the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
At the time, Abbott told Jeff Pini of The Boston Globe, "This is my last US Championships, so when I went out to skate I thought to myself, 'Just enjoy it all, enjoy the energy, and enjoy the crowd,' and I did."
Hopefully, he can maintain that attitude for the upcoming Olympics, as he will have tough competition from Patrick Chan of Canada, Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan and Evgeni Plushenko of host Russia.
Per Bet365, the members of this elite group are the top bets to reach the podium and medal in the short program, while Abbott is a long shot at 50-1. However, as the American proved in Beantown a few weeks ago, anything is possible.
Pairs Short Program: Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir
Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir are Team USA’s representatives in both the pairs short program and the pairs long program at the Sochi Games.
This dynamic duo has won national championships in 2013 and 2014 but has never competed in the Winter Olympics. The 23-year-old Castelli and the 26-year-old Shnapir now appear poised to make some noise on the grandest of stages.
It’s an especially interesting event for Shnapir, who was born in Russia but immigrated to the United States. He is familiar with the language, culture and crowd, which could give this pair a leg up over many of the other competitors they will face in Sochi.
Castelli and Shnapir are as consistent as they come, and they definitely give the United States a good shot at hitting the podium and possibly nabbing gold this February.