Freestyle skiing will receive more treatment than ever during the 2014 Winter Olympics.
There will be more than ever this year now that four new competitions have been added to the Games, upping the event total to 10. The world's bravest daredevils will inject the prestigious Olympics with a dose of excitement to reflect the growing popularity of extreme sports.
While the United States leads the pack with 10 medals (four gold) since freestyle skiing's Olympic induction in 1992, the sport has experienced a healthy level of competition. This parity creates a buzz without any overwhelming favorites ruining the intrigue.
Of course, there are still plenty of star athletes who will dazzle in Sochi. These three Olympians are some of the biggest names to watch, but let's first break down when you can watch them.
All events are aired live on NBC Sports or on tape delay at NBC. Every event is also available for live streaming at NBCOlympics.com.
|Date||Event||NBC Air Time (ET)|
|Feb. 8||Women's Moguls||8-11:30 p.m.|
|Feb. 10||Men's Moguls||8-11:30 p.m.|
|Feb. 11||Women's Slopestyle||3-5 p.m. (qualifying), 8-11:30 p.m. (final)|
|Feb. 13||Men's Slopestyle||8-11:30 p.m.|
|Feb. 14||Women's Aerials||3-5 p.m. (qualifying), 8-11:30 p.m. (final)|
|Feb. 17||Men's Aerials||3-5 p.m. (qualifying), 8-11:30 p.m. (final)|
|Feb. 18||Men's Halfpipe||8-11:30 p.m.|
|Feb. 20||Men's Ski Cross||12-3 p.m. (qualifying, quarterfinal and semifinal), 8-11:30 p.m. (final)|
|Feb. 21||Women's Ski Cross||3-6:30 a.m. (qualifying, quarterfinal and semifinal live on NBC Sports), 3-5 p.m. (NBC taped coverage)|
Top Stars to Watch:
Hannah Kearney, United States
Hannah Kearney has a chance to become the first freestyle skier to win multiple Olympic gold medals.
The mogul skier captured first place in 2010, and she looks poised to duplicate her performance. She dazzled during the qualification round on Thursday, Feb. 6, leading the way with a score of 23.05.
Hannah Kearney has finished 1st & Eliza Outtrim has finished 4th in Ladies' Moguls Qualification. Both have qualified to finals. Congrats!— Team USA 2014 (@team_USA_2014) February 6, 2014
Now one of the field's more experienced competitors, the 27-year-old will look to use her savvy against an eager batch of young adversaries. According to CBS News' Stephen Smith, Kearney will attempt to play it safe (or as safe as one can be while engaging in a dangerous, extreme sport) rather than risking the gold to obtain a highlight moment.
"I'm going for quality over particularly high difficulty in my air maneuvers."
Having already suffered a laundry list of injuries throughout her career, Kearney is wise to try to keep her limbs intact while claiming another gold medal.
Mikael Kingsbury, Canada
On the men's side of the moguls, a much younger skier enters the Games as the favorite.
He's held a spot on Canada's national team since turning 16, so 21-year-old Mikael Kingsbury carries more experience than his age suggests. Nevertheless, the young gun embarks on his first Olympic journey with great expectations.
That will happen when you win 19 of 47 World Cup races, while claiming 35 total medals. The reigning world champion can firmly cement himself as a star in his field with a strong outing in Sochi.
He will, however, have to overcome fellow Canadian Alexandre Bilodeau, a gold-medal winner during the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Lydia Lassila, Australia
When you think about freestyle skiing, is a 32-year-old mother the first person that springs to mind?
Probably not, but that is not stopping Lydia Lassila from chasing her second gold medal during her fourth Olympic appearance.
In 2010, Lassila won gold for Australia in the aerials, making her the second female Australian to attain first place on the slopes. While she will not serve as flag bearer, she can make her country proud by successfully defending her gold medal.