Sochi Olympics: Viewer's guide

Summary: Russians Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov are as close to a lock as there is in this sport, and most prognosticators view Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany as clear favorites for the silver medal. But the single most crowd-pleasing moment of the session may come from a U.S. team, if Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir can pull off a clean quadruple throw Salchow. With their height difference, Castelli looks as if she's going to sail right out of the rink.

What: Ice Hockey
Where: Shayba Arena, Bolshoy Ice Dome
Events/When: Men, Group C -- Czech Republic vs. Sweden, noon ET; Men, Group C -- Latvia vs. Switzerland, noon ET
Women, Group A -- Switzerland vs. Finland, 3 a.m. ET; Women, Group A -- Canada vs. United States, 7:30 a.m. ET

Summary: The men's hockey tournament will open with a dandy as the Czech Republic takes on gold-medal favorite (OK, one of them) Sweden. Lots of questions about how the Czech team was put together, while the Swedes have a bunch of players coming off injury, including Henrik Zetterberg and Alexander Steen.

What: Snowboard
Where: Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
Events/When: Women's Halfpipe Quarterfinals, 5 a.m. ET; Women's Halfpipe Semifinals, 10 a.m. ET; Women's Halfpipe Final, 12:30 p.m. ET

Summary: Fans have been waiting for this since the Vancouver Games in 2010 -- American Kelly Clark, the most dominant rider in halfpipe history versus technical master Torah Bright, the defending Olympic gold medalist who is competing in three snowboard events for Team Australia in Sochi. Halfpipe will be her second of three.

What: Speedskating
Where: Adler Arena Skating Center
Events/When: Men's 1000, 9 a.m. ET

Summary: Depending on what Shaun White does in the halfpipe one day earlier, the 1,000-meter men's speedskating final could be an opportunity for Chicago's Shani Davis to become the first American man to win three straight gold medals in a single event.

Thursday, Feb. 13

What: Figure Skating
Where: Iceberg Skating Palace
Events/When: Men's short program, 10 a.m. ET

Summary: Canadian Patrick Chan is the reigning world champion and a gold-medal favorite, but keep an eye on contender Yuzuru Hanyu. The Japanese champion is from Sendai, and his home rink was damaged in the devastating 2011 earthquake, forcing him to train in other cities.

What: Freestyle Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
Events/When: Men's Slopestyle Qualification, 1:15 a.m. ET; Men's Slopestyle Final, 4:30 a.m. ET

Summary: American skier Nick Goepper is coming off an exciting win at the X Games in Aspen, where he became the first skier in 10 years to win the event twice. In Sochi, he plans to become the first freeskier to win the Olympics. Period.

What: Ice Hockey
Where: Shayba Arena, Bolshoy Ice Dome
Events/When: Men, Group B -- Finland vs. Austria, 3 a.m. ET; Men, Group A -- Russia vs. Slovenia, 7:30 a.m. ET; Men, Group A: Slovakia vs. United States, 7:30 a.m. ET; Men, Group B -- Canada vs. Norway, noon ET
Women, Group B -- Japan vs. Germany, 3 a.m. ET; Women, Group B -- Sweden vs. Russia, noon ET

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