Sochi Olympics: Viewer's guide

Summary: U.S. Figure Skating sparked controversy at last month's national championships when it chose Ashley Wagner over third-place Mirai Nagasu. We'll see whether Wagner justifies that decision, and whether she or fellow Americans Gracie Gold and Polina Edmunds can crack the podium with favorites Kim Yu-Na and Mao Asada. Another contender: Russia's Julia Lipnitskaia.

What: Ice Hockey
Where: Shayba Arena, Bolshoy Ice Dome
Events/When: Men, Quarterfinals, TBD, 3 a.m. ET

Summary: This might be the hardest day in the men's hockey tournament, as four teams with legitimate medal hopes will be sent home empty-handed.

What: Snowboard
Where: Rosa Khutor Extreme Park
Events/When: Men's Parallel Giant Slalom Qualification, 12:15 a.m. ET; Women's Parallel Giant Slalom, Qualification, 1:15 a.m. ET; Men's Parallel Giant Slalom First Round, 4 a.m. ET; Men's Parallel Giant Slalom Quarterfinals, 4:25 a.m. ET; Men's Parallel Giant Slalom Semifinals, 4:35 a.m. ET; Men's Parallel Giant Slalom Finals, 4:45 a.m. ET; Women's Parallel Giant Slalom First Round, 4:55 a.m. ET; Women's Parallel Giant Slalom Quarterfinals, 5:20 a.m. ET; Women's Parallel Giant Slalom Semifinals, 5:35 a.m. ET; Women's Parallel Giant Slalom Finals, 5:45 a.m. ET

Summary: American rider Justin Reiter ditched his apartment, took time off from work and spent the past season living out of his van in Park City, Utah, while he worked toward securing a spot on the U.S. team. He made it. And with determination like that, anything is possible.

What: Speedskating
Where: Adler Arena Skating Center
Events/When: Women's 5000, 8:30 a.m. ET

Summary: The same women expected to vie for the 3,000 will go at it in this event, which Czech star Martina Sablikova won in 2010 to cap her distance double. Germany's Claudia Pechstein and Ireen Wust of the Netherlands round out the consensus podium picks.

Thursday, Feb. 20

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

Summary: You may not be a curling expert, but the sport is surprisingly fun, and the women's competition also carries some sex appeal with Russian skip Anna Sidorova.

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

Summary: Not so long ago, this title looked like Yuna Kim's for the retaking, but the rapid ascent of Russian teenager Julia Lipnitskaia and the continued excellence of Japan's Mao Asada make that far from a sure thing. Few skaters could be more motivated than Ashley Wagner of the U.S., who dramatically ditched her "Romeo and Juliet" long program after a calamitous national championships and has reverted to a freshened-up "Samson and Delilah" from last season. Meanwhile, 18-year-old U.S. champ Gracie Gold will try to live up to the expectations generated by her recent win.

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