Now that the Opening Ceremony is out of the way, it’s time for the world to finally start focusing on the best part of the Winter Olympics—the athletic competitions.
Day 1 has a whole slew of excellent events on tap and four gold medals will be on the line in competitions ranging from the Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing to Snowboarding and Speed Skating.
Whether you are interested in watching these events as they happen via live stream or content waiting for NBC to air them on television with a tape-delay, you are going to want to find a way to tune in and catch this thrilling action.
Keep reading to find out where and when you can catch every event, plus a closer look at the medals that are on the line this Saturday in Sochi.
|2014 Winter Olympics - Day 1 Schedule|
|Event||Specifics||Time (ET)||TV (ET)|
|Biathalon||Men’s Sprint – 10km (Medal Event)||9:30 a.m.||NBC (2:30 p.m.)|
|Cross-Country||Ladies’ Skiathlon 7.5km Classic + 7.5km Free (Medal Event)||5 a.m.||NBC Sports Network (Live), NBC (2:30 p.m.)|
|Figure Skating||Team Ice Dance Short Program||9:30 a.m||NBC Sports Network (Live), NBC (8 p.m.)|
|Team Ladies Short Program||11:10 a.m.||NBC Sports Network (Live), NBC (8 p.m.)|
|Team Pairs Free Skating||1:05 p.m.||NBC Sports Network (Live), NBC (8 p.m.)|
|Ice Hockey||Women’s Prelim. Round – Group A (USA vs. Finland)||3 a.m.||NBC Sports Network (Live)|
|Women’s Prelim. Round – Group A (Canada vs. Switzerland)||8 a.m.||MSNBC (Live)|
|Luge||Men’s Singles Run 1||9:30 a.m.||NBC (12 a.m. Sunday)|
|Men’s Singles Run 2||11:40 a.m.||NBC (12 a.m. Sunday)|
|Ski Jumping||Men's Normal Hill Individual Qualification Round||11:30 am.||NBC (2:30 p.m.)|
|Snowboard||Men’s Slopestyle Semifinals||12:30 a.m.||NBC (8 p.m.)|
|Men’s Slopestyle Finals (Medal Event)||3:45 a.m.||NBC (8p.m.)|
|Speed Skating||Men’s 5000m (Medal Event)||6:30 a.m.||NBC Sports Network (Live), NBC (2:30 pm.)|
Medal Events to Watch
Biathalon: Men’s Sprint
The first biathlon event of the 2014 Sochi Games should be one of the best. It’s going to feature one of the sports’ best athletes and a strong field looking to knock the veteran from his lofty perch.
Norwegian superstar Ole Einar Bjoerndalen has won 11 medals in the last six Olympic games. The 40-year-old sensation holds a laundry list of rare and amazing feats in the sport that only he has been able to accomplish, including a sweep of all four biathlon events at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.
Bjoerndalen is easily the most decorated biathlete in Olympic history and he will undoubtedly be looking to add to his resume on Saturday.
Each participant will have to ski a penalty length of 150 meters for every target missed in the shooting portion of this event, so expect the winner of the biathlon to be the one who is a deadeye marksman.
Cross-Country: Ladies’ Skiathlon
Norway is again expected to dominate this cross-country skiing event, with Marit Bjoergen, Therese Johaug, Heidi Weng and Kristin Stoermer Steira all immensely skilled and hungry for a medal.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the ladies from the Norwegian squad swept the gold, silver and bronze at Sochi in this opening skiathlon competition, as there is precedent.
Team Norway swept the world championships in 2013, putting three athletes on the podium in a sport that emphasizes both classical and freestyle skiing.
Justyna Kowalczyk is the biggest threat to a Norwegian sweep, but the Polish star has been dealing with a foot injury that could hinder her chances of making a run in Sochi.
Snowboard: Men’s Slopestyle
It’s been anything but smooth sailing when it comes to the introduction of the slopestyle competition to the Winter Olympic Games.
American superstar Shaun White’s decision to pull out took away a bit of luster surrounding the event and that act seemed to set the tone for Thursday’s debut.
Canadian star Max Parrot is in the finals after posting the highest score of the day, a 97.5, but was asked about White after his run, as per Alyssa Roenigk of ESPN.com:
I'm bummed he pulled out. I haven't had a chance in the last year to compete against him. I showed up with two golds at X Games and would have loved to compete against him here.
The new odds-on favorite, Canadian Mark McMorris, failed to qualify for a direct trip to the finals after falling on his first run. He pulled off an incredible backside triple cork 1440 in his second qualifying run, but he was only able to land a score of 89.25—good for seventh place.
While McMorris isn’t out, he has to compete on the dangerous course again on Saturday and try to qualify for the medal run. It’s not the ideal situation and could end up being his downfall in Sochi.
Joining Parrot in the finals is teammate Sebastien Toutant, Staale Sandbech and Gjermund Braaten of Norway, Peetu Piiroinen and Roope Tonteri of Finland, Great Britain’s Jamie Nicholls and Sweden’s Sven Thorgren.
Speed Skating: Men’s 5,000m
The first speedskating medal competition of many to come at Sochi will be the men’s 5,000-meter. It should be one of the more intriguing long-track events, as it is the second-longest race and has no qualification runs, just one chance to earn a gold, silver and bronze.
Dutch star Sven Kramer is the defending champion, as he’s coming off a big win four years ago in Vancouver and will be looking to add another gold to his collection. His teammates, Jorrit Bergsma and Jan Blokhuijsen, will also be looking to stand on the podium after their laps around the track.
Jonathan Kuck is Team USA’s best chance at stealing a medal, but he’s widely regarded as a long shot and isn’t likely to emerge ahead of some of the other stars in the event.
Silver medalist Lee Seung-Hoo of South Korea and hometown Russian hero Ivan Skobrev—who won bronze in Canada in the 2010 Games—also qualified for this race, so make sure you tune in to catch a great medal battle on Day 1 of the 2014 Winter Olympics.