2014 Olympics: What to Watch on Games' Opening Weekend

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2014

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 06:  Hannah Kearney of the United States competes in the Ladies' Moguls Qualification during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on February 6, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The opening ceremony for the 2014 Winter Olympics may not have been televised yet, but the competitions are officially underway. 

Over the course of the next two weeks, international superstars will be born, gold medals will be handed out and national pride will inspire millions to tune in to watch sports they would never dream of following otherwise.

With that in mind, let’s dig into a discussion about some events to watch in Sochi on the Games’ opening weekend.


The Start of United States Hockey

Hockey is one of the more entertaining sports throughout the Olympics schedule, and it will begin during the Games’ opening weekend with a quartet of women’s contests. 

The opening tilt for the United States’ team is part of that foursome of games.


U.S. Women’s Hockey

Game: United States vs. Finland 

Date: Feb. 8

Time: 3:00 a.m. ET, 12:00 p.m. Sochi time and 8:00 a.m. GMT

TV Broadcast: NBC Sports Network, 3:00 a.m. ET and BBC, 8:00 a.m. GMT


Dec 30, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; USA left wing Hilary Knight (21) skates with the puck as Canada forward Marie-Philip Poulin (29) and defenseman Catherine Ward (18) defend during the second period in an exhibition hockey game at Air Canada Centre.
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

The American women have not taken home the gold medal since the 1998 Olympics in Nagano and had to settle for a silver medal in 2010 in Vancouver. While many would be thrilled with a silver medal at the Olympics, Hilary Knight said she and her teammates were not (via Stephen Smith of CBS News): 

"It wasn't a great feeling and it's still a feeling that haunts a bunch of us today and it's definitely in the back of our minds that we don't want to feel that way again."

The team that figures to be the biggest challenger for the Americans in terms of winning a gold medal is defending Olympic champion Canada, but the Olympic journey begins with a showdown against Finland. 


Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 06:  Mark McMorris of Canada competes in the Men's Slopestyle Qualification during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on February 6, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Snowboarding has taken the Olympics by storm in recent Games, and the debut of snowboard slopestyle will likely prove to be a hit as well. 

Viewers won’t have to wait long to see the men’s slopestyle finals, which is scheduled as follows.


Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle Finals

Date: Feb. 8

Time: 3:45 a.m. ET, 12:45 p.m. Sochi time and 8:45 a.m. GMT

TV Broadcast: NBC, 8:00 p.m. ET (rebroadcast) and BBC, 8:45 a.m. GMT


The slopestyle qualification was actually part of the scheduled events that took place before the Opening Ceremony, but the gold-medal final is where the real drama will take place.

The event lost some of its luster when Shaun White dropped out to focus on the half-pipe, but Max Parrot and Mark McMorris of Canada will provide some star power, assuming McMorris can make it to the finals.

McMorris fell in qualifying, losing a chance to qualify directly into the finals, and he will have to compete for one of the final remaining spots in the semifinals.


Women’s Moguls Finals

The snowboarding men will not be the only sport to feature a gold-medal final in the Games’ opening weekend. 

The women’s moguls finals is scheduled as follows:


Women’s Moguls Finals

Date: Feb. 8

Time: 1:00 p.m. ET, 10:00 p.m. Sochi time and 6:00 p.m. GMT

TV Broadcast: NBC, 8:00 p.m. ET (rebroadcast) and BBC, 6:00 p.m. GMT

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 05:  Hannah Kearney of the Untied States practices during training for Moguls competition at the Extreme Park at Rosa Khutor Mountain on February 5, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images


The athlete to watch in this final will be American Hannah Kearney. She won the gold medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and already took the first step in defending her championship in the qualifying rounds before the Opening Ceremony.


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