Sochi Olympics: Viewer's guide

Summary: Things really get rolling in the men's tournament with host Russia getting an easy start against Slovenia, which is participating in its first-ever Olympic tournament (they previously competed with the former Yugoslavia). Canada, likewise, should have an easy time with Norway, while the U.S. will have its hands full with Zdeno Chara, Marian Hossa and the rest of the Slovaks.

What: Short-Track Speedskating
Where: Iceberg Skating Palace
Events/When: Women's 500 Quarterfinals, 5 a.m. ET; Men's 1000 Heats, 5:25 a.m. ET; Women's 500 Semifinals, 6:10 a.m. ET; Men's 5000 Relay Semifinals, 6:35 a.m. ET; Women's 500 Final, 7:05 a.m. ET

Summary: Forget keeping the skaters straight on the ice -- just try keeping their names straight. The top contenders here are China's Fan Kexin, South Korea's Shim Suk-hee and Park Seung-hi, who will all try to take advantage of the absence of two-time gold medalist Wang Meng, who is out with a broken ankle.

What: Speedskating
Where: Adler Arena Skating Center
Events/When: Women's 1000, 9 a.m. ET (Heather Richardson)

Summary: Two Americans, 2013 world sprint champion Heather Richardson, 24, and world-record holder Brittany Bowe, 25, have dominated World Cup events this season and are podium favorites in an event last won by a U.S. woman (Christine Witty) in 2002. Other contenders include Olga Fatkulina of Russia and Zhang Hong of South Korea.

Friday, Feb. 14

What: Alpine Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Alpine Center
Events/When: Men's Super Combined (downhill), 2 a.m. ET; Men's Super Combined (slalom), 6 a.m. ET

Summary: Bode Miller won gold in this event in 2010, but the top U.S. medal hope is Ted Ligety, who won gold in the combined in 2006. While he lacks the marketing profile of Miller, Ligety is the most successful American skier over the past two seasons, and he won the super combined at last month's World Cup in Wengen, Austria.

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

Summary: While Chan and Hanyu are the favorites, the U.S. medal hopes rest with two skaters. Four-time champion Jeremy Abbott will try to make up for a poor performance in Vancouver, and however he does, expect tears of joy or sadness. Meanwhile, 19-year-old Jason Brown probably won't have a quad in his program, but neither did Evan Lysacek in Vancouver. Regardless, Brown's showmanship could make him a crowd favorite.

What: Freestyle Skiing
Where: Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
Events/When: Women's Aerials Qualification, 8:45 a.m. ET; Women's Aerials Finals, 12:30 p.m. ET

Summary: Veteran Emily Cook is looking for the peak performance that has eluded her in two previous Winter Games appearances. She and 2010 Olympian Ashley Caldwell will be underdogs -- along with the rest of the world -- up against the Chinese juggernaut in the sport.

What: Skeleton
Where: Sanki Sliding Center
Events/When: Men's (Run 1), 7:30 a.m. ET; Men's (Run 2), 9 a.m. ET; Women's (Run 3), 10:40 a.m. ET; Women's (Run 4), 11:50 a.m. ET

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