The 2014 Winter Games from Sochi, Russia are in their infancy, and the entire slate of events can be quite intimidating.
For viewers who cannot catch each and every event, picking which ones to prioritize in advance off a sheet of a paper is a daunting task. Much can change, and without a helping hand, viewers may miss out on some historic action.
Luckily, through analysis, one can narrow down which events are worth setting time aside for despite a busy schedule. As of now, three events come to mind.
Note: The full list of events can be found at Sochi2014.com.
Long-Track 1,000 Meters Finals - Feb. 12
If fans of the Games want to see star power in action, the long track 1,000-meter finals will be the way to go, particularly because of Shani Davis and his race to make Olympic history.
While Mo Tae-Bum of South Korea is a big name to watch, fans do not often get to see history made. Davis has a shot at just that if he can secure his third straight gold medal in the 1,000-meter race to become the first U.S. male Olympian to win the same event three times in a row.
What is especially impressive is the fact Davis is also a threat in the 500- and 1,500-meter races.
Fans well versed in the sport will recognize the name of retired legend Anton Ohno, who says Davis is one of the best ever and a lock to win while also describing how unique Davis truly is, via of the Journal Sentinel:
He's the best skater, in my opinion, to ever put long-track speedskates on. I have him picked automatic gold in the 1,000. I mean, he does things that don't make sense. The guy has no coach. Trust me. I've known the guy for a long, long time. He trains solo. He says, 'Today, I need to work on speed. Tomorrow, I'm going to do a little bit of endurance and the next day I'm going to do some strength, then I'm going to take it easy.' Who does that? I could never do that.
If that doesn't sell fans on the event, nothing will.
Men's Hockey: USA vs. Russia Sat. Feb. 15
This is likely the matchup many already have circled on their calendars in red ink, but it deserves a reiteration—do not miss it when the U.S. and Russia square off on the ice.
The obvious stuff is here. Russia is the host and the home crowd will demand nothing short of a win. The U.S. and Russia also figure to be consistently locked in a medal-standings battle for the duration of the Games.
But peel back the layers on the onion. The U.S. touts a team headlined by Patrick Kane, who helped it almost pull off a miracle against Canada in Vancouver. Russia has the star power of Alex Ovechkin and seems to be the heavy favorite for gold.
Most of all, this game, and the tournament overall, seemingly means everything to Russia. Chris Stevenson of The Toronto Sun put it best:
The other big question for Russia this time around is how will it cope with the pressure of being the hosts? Russian president Vladimir Putin has pretty much built a $50-billion stage for the hockey team. With nine players from the Kontinental Hockey League on the roster, the aim is to show the world (and the NHL) that Russian hockey is on par with any country’s.
Ovechkin helped to explain how important the event is, via Stevenson, by way of the Associated Press:
Olympics are probably the most important thing for Russians than any other athletes in the whole world. And since I was a little kid and since everybody was a little kid, their dream was playing in the Olympic games, especially if we have a chance to represent our country in Sochi in Russia.
The pressure is palpable, and the U.S. has a chance to play spoiler. What's not to like?
Women's Figure Skating Finals - Feb. 20
Above all else, figure skating has absolutely stolen the show in the early goings of the Games, mostly because of the refreshing team-event format that saw Russia take home the gold after three days of action.
The stars are numerous. For America, the recently erratic Ashley Wagner presents a chance for a medal, but the hopes of the country may now be in the hands of Gracie Gold, the 18-year-old sensation who has taken the nation by storm as of late.
Speaking of faces new to the Olympics, Russia's Julia Lipnitskaia has the globe in her palm of her hand after finishing first in two separate events to propel the host country to the gold in the team event.
Oh, and the newest sensation to the figure skating world is just 15 years old and meets the Olympic age-eligibility cutoff by 26 days, according to NBC.
A legendary career may be just beginning in the midst of current superstars, and fans will not want to miss out.
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