Now that all of that pomp and circumstance is out of the way, the real fun can begin at the 2014 Olympics.
Although some events are already underway in Sochi, Saturday is what many would consider to be the opening day for the Winter Olympics, with the opening ceremony having happened Friday night.
Because of NBC's affinity for tape delay, it can be hard to keep track of what's showing when. In order to help you out, here's a little guide to what Olympic action is on tap for Saturday.
|Olympics TV Schedule—Feb. 8|
|3 a.m. ET|
|Women's Ice Hockey—USA vs. Finland||NBCSN|
|5 a.m. ET|
|8 a.m. ET|
|Women's Ice Hockey—Canada vs. Switzerland||MSNBC|
|9:30 a.m. ET|
|Team Ice Dance Short Dance||NBCSN|
|11 a.m. ET|
|Figure Skating—Team Women's Short Program & Pairs' Free Skate||NBCSN|
|2:30 p.m. ET (Tape Delay)|
|Men's Normal Hill Ski Jumping; Men's Biathlon 10km Sprint; Women's Biathlon||NBC|
|8 p.m. (Tape Delay)|
|Men's Snowboarding Slopestyle; Women's Freestyle Skiing Moguls; Women's Team Figure Skating||NBC|
Note: All events are available to stream on NBC Olympics Live Extra.
With wall-to-wall action like this, it's a good idea to pace yourself and only focus on some of the more intriguing events/stars. That way you're not passing out when it's only 11 a.m.
Here are four stars who demand your attention.
Stars to Watch
Maxence Parrot, Canada, Men's Snowboard Slopestyle
Say this about Maxence Parrot: When he calls out one of the biggest names in snowboarding, he's doing so as one of the best in his discipline.
The 19-year-old tweeted out, "Shaun knows he won't be able to win the slopes, that's why he pulled out. He's scared!" earlier in the week before deleting the tweet and apologizing, per Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel. White chose to drop out of the snowboard slopestyle, both because of complaints about the course conditions and so he could prepare more for the halfpipe.
With White out of the picture, Parrot has an even bigger stage in front of him, and so far, he's delivered.
During Thursday's qualification for slopestyle, he posted a 97.5—the highest of the round. He displayed his enthusiasm on Twitter:
With slopestyle set to conclude on Saturday, Parrot has a chance to go down in Olympic history.
Meghan Duggan and Hilary Knight, United States, Women's Ice Hockey
The United States have one of the best women's hockey teams in the world. It will likely be a fight between Canada and the U.S. for supremacy on the ice.
On Saturday, the United States will start their expedition for gold with a game against Finland. They should be able to win. The Finns have a good team, but if you want to be considered one of the favorites, you have to beat them.
Meghan Duggan and Hilary Knight will be front and center for the U.S. when the puck drops. They're two of the biggest stars on the team, and with both being forwards, they should provide a good amount of highlights.
Knight won't be taking this game lightly, as she told CBS News that she is still smarting from only getting a silver medal in Vancouver.
"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," Knight said, per CBS News' Stephen Smith.
With that kind of mentality, the U.S. players look to be on a seek-and-destroy mission, and Finland is the next target.
Mao Asada, Japan, Women's Figure Skating Team Short Program
The field for the women's figure skating team event on Saturday is loaded.
Ashley Wagner will try her best to get the United States off to a good start, but it will be hard against Italy's Carolina Kostner and Russia's Julia Lipnitskaia. Not to mention Japan's Mao Asada.
Out of that talented group, Asada sticks out the most.
She comes into Sochi having won silver in Vancouver in 2010 and bronze at the 2013 World Championships.
Yuna Kim is the favorite to take home gold this year, but Asada is right on her heels. The team event is a great chance for Asada to get some of the nerves out and build momentum for the individual competition.
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