All of the events at the 2014 Winter Olympics carry some appeal, especially for those with something emotionally invested in the sports.
For more casual fans, the most epic attractions of the Sochi Games are liable to take place in three events. If you only get an opportunity to catch a few gold-medal performances, these are the three events you'll want to see.
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Women's Figure Skating Finals - Feb. 20
South Korea's Kim Yuna is the odds-on favorite to win the gold medal in women's figure skating. If she comes through, she will become the first woman to win back-to-back gold medals in her sport at the Olympics.
Kim took the top podium spot at the 2010 Vancouver Games. There's a lot of pressure on the 23-year-old, but she is trying to keep things in the proper perspective.
Per Channel NewsAsia, Kim said:
Many people talk about winning two straight gold medals, but I'm not focusing on defending the title. I just hope to do everything I've prepared to do. As long as I can do that, I think the results will follow and I should be able to end my career without regrets.
America's brightest hope for a medal is Gracie Gold. She took the gold medal at the U.S. Championships in Boston, and she is being pushed as the face of the American Olympic team in Sochi.
If she can medal—let alone challenge Kim—she'll become a national star.
Long-Track 1,000 Meters Finals - Feb. 12
All eyes will be on Shani Davis as he attempts to win a third gold medal in the 1,000 meter race. Davis is also a threat to win gold in 1,500 meters, but the former is his specialty.
South Korean Mo Tae-Bum is Davis' biggest competition. He finished second to Davis in the 2010 Games. He also won the 1,000 meters at the World Cup in Berlin in December.
Watching these two slug it out for the top podium spot will be entertaining.
Women's Giant Slalom - Feb. 10
Lindsey Vonn is injured and out of the Olympics, but the United States still has 18-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin as a strong favorite to medal in multiple events.
The giant slalom is likely her best opportunity.
Shiffrin has the commercial appeal to become the United States' next Winter Olympics star, but she'll need to obtain a podium spot to validate the attention she'll inherit in Vonn's absence.
Shira Springer of The Boston Globe talks about Shiffrin's chance to shine:
For American audiences almost worshipful of precocious sports talent, the Games provide a perfect launching pad for the country’s most promising Alpine skier since Vonn, a gold medalist and 17-time World Cup title winner. Plus, Vonn’s absence because of knee surgery creates a face-of-the-Games void. Shiffrin, with her long blond hair and easy smile, could fill that void, especially if she ends up on the podium.
On Feb. 10, she's likely to come through with one of America's brightest moments of the Sochi Games.
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