Sochi Olympics: Viewer's guide

What: Freestyle Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
Events/When: Men's Ski Cross Seeding, 2:45 a.m. ET; Men's Ski Cross Finals, 4:30 a.m. ET

Summary: Before the Games, Canadian Olympic officials declared a goal of winning ski cross medals in both the men's and women's disciplines. With a men's team that includes world No. 1 Dave Duncan and returning Olympian Chris Del Bosco, that sounds almost humble.

What: Freestyle Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
Events/When: Women's Halfpipe Qualification, 9:30 a.m. ET; Women's Halfpipe Final, 12:30 p.m. ET

Summary: The women of the sport of freeskiing will compete in Sochi with heavy hearts in the memory of Canadian skier Sarah Burke, one of the pioneers of halfpipe and slopestyle skiing, and a woman who is much to credit with the inclusion of freeskiing in the Games. American Maddie Bowman and Canadian Roz Groenewoud are favorites to win.

What: Ice Hockey
Where: Bolshoy Ice Dome
Events/When: Women, Bronze-Medal Game, 7 a.m. ET; Gold-Medal Game, noon ET

Summary: If the Olympic tournament goes as hockey officials hope it does, overall the games will demonstrate more parity and depth in the field. But everyone expects the gold medal to come down to the same two teams that have duked it out in three of the last four editions of the Olympics. The spirited rivalry between Canada and the United States veered into edgy territory over the last few months when brawls broke out in two games. Olympic strategy and decorum will probably keep things from getting out of hand when the championship is at stake, but emotions will be high if the Americans earn a shot at reclaiming the gold medal they won in the inaugural women's competition in 1998.

Friday, Feb. 21

What: Alpine Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Alpine Center
Events/When: Women's Slalom, first run, 7:45 a.m. ET; Women's Slalom, second run, 11:15 a.m. ET

Summary: If any teenager can handle the ratcheted-up hype of the Olympics, it's the gifted and composed Mikaela Shiffrin, who will start as the favorite in her specialty in her first Olympics. Uncommon technique and a growing understanding of how to generate power through the gates propelled the 18-year-old to the World Cup slalom title last year, and she's poised to recapture it (three wins on the World Cup circuit this season). Two-time Olympic slalom medalist Marlies Schild, 32, of Austria, who has a record 35 slalom titles, should provide the chief competition.

What: Curling
Where: Ice Cube Curling Center
Events/When: Men, Bronze Medal, 3:30 a.m. ET; Men, Gold Medal, 8:30 a.m. ET

Summary: Another positive for curling? The U.S. team is a bunch of regular guys, including a restaurant manager (skip John Shuster), a science teacher (Jeff Isaacson) and an engineer (John Landsteiner). They probably will not be wearing the same pants as the Norwegian team in Vancouver.

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