Although there has already been a day of events in Sochi, the 2014 Winter Olympics really kick into high gear on Saturday. With the opening ceremony now out of the way, it's going to be wall-to-wall action.
Because NBC loves to tape-delay many events, it can be difficult to keep track of what's on and when. You can count on the high-profile events to come later in the night if you're watching in the United States, but with NBC using its family of networks, you can still get your fill of Olympic action across multiple channels.
Here's the television schedule for Saturday's action.
|Olympics 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 Olympic events are streamed live on NBC Olympics Live Extra.
With so much on, it's smart to figure out which events should get high priority. No human being can watch every single second of the Olympics. Like any top athlete, you need to pace yourself and not attack it with too much, too early.
With that in mind, here are the top three events on Saturday.
Men's Snowboard Slopestyle
You can't talk about men's snowboard slopestyle without discussing Shaun White's decision to step out and focus on halfpipe. Canadians Max Parrot and Sebastien Toutant took to Twitter to call out the American star, per Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel.
It added a bit more intrigue to what looked like one of the most entertaining events already.
Both Toutant and Parrot have qualified for the final, with the latter posting an absurd 97.5 on Thursday. Parrot was nearly flawless during his second run and will be the man to beat on Saturday. He made sure to dig the knife into White that much more, as well, per TSN:
I just think me and 'Seb' said something all the other riders would have loved to tell, but maybe are scared to tell," Parrot told TSN on Thursday. "He choked a couple contests this year with not really good reasons. With him here he has the potential to be...Why choke on it for nothing?
The battle for gold will likely include Finland's Roope Tonteri, Sweden's Sven Thorgren and Norway's Staale Sandbech. All four had great qualifying runs, while Sandbech took home bronze in snowboard slopestyle at in Aspen at the Winter X Games.
Since it's so early in the Olympics, there aren't a ton of chances to see medals won and lost on Saturday. One such competition, though, is women's moguls. The competition will wrap up with the second qualifying run and the finals to come on the first day of action.
Reigning gold medalist Hannah Kearney of the USA is sitting pretty so far. She had the highest score in the first round of qualifying, posting a 23.05.
Two of Canada's Dufour-Lapointe sisters managed to crack the top three, with Chole taking second and Justine taking third.
Eliza Outtrim of the USA could be the one to watch, as she stepped up well in the absence of Heidi Kloser. The 28-year-old earned a fourth-place finish.
Women's Team Short Program
There's no medal on the line in this one, but you can't look past the sheer amount of star power that will be on the ice.
Ashley Wagner is a two-time United States champion who won silver at the 2012 Grand Prix Final and bronze at the 2013 Grand Prix Final, and she's probably the fourth-best skater on show Saturday.
Nancy Armour of USA Today thinks that Wagner is the United States' last hope when it comes to winning a medal in team figure skating after the men's earlier struggles:
With Jeremy Abbott melting down in epic proportions and Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir struggling, the Americans need a strong showing from Wagner on Saturday to revive their hopes for a medal in the inaugural Olympic team competition.
It will be tough for the 22-year-old, as she'll be facing off with Italy's Carolina Kostner, Japan's Mao Asada and Russia's Julia Lipnitskaya, all of whom are the best in the world.
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