Sunday marks the second full day of the 2014 Winter Olympics since the opening ceremonies concluded in Sochi, Russia, and there are plenty of events on tap to be excited for.
Thanks to excellent television coverage and even live streaming of all the happenings, all it requires is a little bit of extra fortitude to get up early and watch some of the premier competitions pitting many of the planet's best athletes.
Let's take a look at when and where to catch Sunday's action, along with a brief preview and some athletes to watch for in the impending Olympic showcases.
|Olympics Schedule—Feb. 9|
|Start Time||Event/Events||TV Info|
|12 a.m.||Luge (Men's Singles), Figure Skating (Team Event)||NBC|
|3 a.m.||Women's Ice Hockey—Sweden vs. Japan||NBCSN|
|5:30 a.m.||Cross-Country (Men's Skiathlon), Speed Skating (Women's 3000m)||NBCSN|
|8 a.m.||Women's Ice Hockey—Russia vs. Germany||MSNBC|
|8:30 a.m.||Luge (Men's Singles)||NBCSN|
|10 a.m.||Figure Skating (Team Event - Men's Free Skate, Ladies' Free Skate, Free Dance)||NBCSN|
|1 p.m.||Ski Jumping (Men's Normal Hill)||NBCSN|
|2 p.m. (Tape delay)||Figure Skating (Team Event), Biathlon (Women's 7.5km Sprint), Speed Skating (Women's 3000m), Cross-Country (Men's Skiathlon)||NBC|
|4 p.m.||Hockey - Encore||NBCSN|
|5 p.m.||Hockey - Game of the Day||NBCSN|
|7 p.m. (Tape delay)||Alpine Skiing (Men's Downhill), Snowboarding (Women's Slopestyle), Figure Skating (Team Event), Ski Jumping (Men's Normal Hill)||NBC|
Top Day 2 Events to Watch For
Speedskating (Women's 3,000m)
This loaded field of competitors features two past Olympic champions in the 3,000 meters—2006 winner Irene Wust and reigning champion Martina Sablikova.
Among the challengers should be the USA's Jilleanne Rookard, but Sablikova is a big threat to pull off back-to-back triumphs. The Americans figure to do damage in this competition with the likes of favorites Heather Richardson and Shani Davis, but Rookard has a chance to make a statement here.
In any event, the battle between Sablikova and Wust will be captivating coming down the stretch. Both are highly decorated and will hopefully duel to the finish.
Wust won the gold in Vancouver in 2010 but in the 1,500 meters, so it will be interesting to see how her approach to battling Sablikova and others is in that context.
With Sablikova going off in the 12th pairing and Wust taking to the ice in the 13th out of 14, there will be plenty of time for the anticipation to build for what should be an epic finale.
Ski Jumping (Men's Normal Hill)
The sheer thrill of watching men on skis go off super-high jumps is enough reason to watch this competition. Then there's also the talent on display, which makes oneself ask, "How do they practice that?"
Austria's Michael Hayboeck was the top qualifier with a score of 128.6, as 50 spots were available to make it to the Round 1 event that precedes the final. Andreas Wank of Germany jumped the farthest with a distance of 102.5 meters, though.
Considering how little separation points-wise there was among the top five athletes, this has all the makings of being dramatic in terms of both results and the imagined adrenaline rush of launching off one of those ramps.
Plus, there were 10 skiing daredevils who had already qualified based on merit, including World Cup leader Kamil Stoch, who has done an exceptional job in training, per Newsskijumping's Twitter account:
All of these skiers have little fear of high speeds and need the circumstances to be right in order to get that perfect jump and boost themselves to the podium. Stoch is a strong candidate to capture the gold, with 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Gregor Schlierenzauer and defending gold medal winner Simon Ammann also posing a threat.
Women's Snowboard Slopestyle
The semifinals are still slated to take place, but Feb. 6's qualifying has already pushed eight contenders through to the final automatically.
Among them is American Jamie Anderson, who figures to be the prohibitive favorite to win the gold medal given her raging success. At age 23, she's already captured Winter X-Games medals in the slopestyle competition every single year since 2006.
Four of those medals were gold, two were silver and the other two were bronze. That's a heck of a track record at a renowned competition, which should give her confidence in Sochi despite the difficult course.
But in qualifying, Anderson's 93.50 first run was bested by Austrian star Anna Gasser (95.50), leaving at least some doubt that the dominant X-Games fixture will be able to bring home the top prize at the Olympics for the first time.
However, Anderson was confident and actually surprised herself with how well she jumped, per TeamUSA.org's Lawrence Murray.
"I can't believe I landed them,” said Anderson. “I went a little too big. I just wanted to land a run and take the pressure off."
It's not as though Anderson needs much encouragement, because all she seems to do is win. Hopefully for American fans and for the sake of the millions that will bear witness to this event, both her and Gasser bring their best after years of grueling training to get to this meeting point.
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