Now that the torch is lit, competition in the Sochi Olympics is heating up. The first medals of the Games will be awarded and two new Olympic sports will be on display.
Highlights of the day include men's slopestyle snowboarding, women’s freestyle skiing moguls finals, speed skating, and the team figure skating competition.
The NBC primetime broadcast begins tonight at 8 p.m. EST. NBC affiliate networks, including NBC Sports, MSNBC, and CNBC will air coverage throughout the day and every event will be streamed live on nbcolympics.com for cable-TV subscribers.
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Men's snowboarding slopestyle
Men’s slopestyle, making its debut in Sochi, will award the first medals of the 22nd Winter Games. The sport features snowboarders strutting their skills on rails, quarterpipes, and jumps. It aired live at 3:45 a.m. EST this morning, but will be rebroadcast on NBC’s primetime coverage tonight. Canadian Mark McMorris came into the event as the heavy favorite, especially after American Shaun White dropped out earlier this week, but will need to make up ground after placing seventh in his qualifying heat.
Women's freestyle moguls
In women’s freestyle moguls, Hannah Kearney of Team USA attempts a repeat of her Vancouver gold in the event. She finished first in her qualifying heat Thursday, but a pair of Canadian sisters, Chloe and Justine Dufour-Lapointe, are close on her heels. In this jaw-dropping event, skiers are required to perform two jumps as they make their way down the bumpy mogul course.
The women’s freestyle mogul final will air live at 1 p.m. EST and will be featured on tonight's NBC primetime broadcast.
Speed skating kicks off today with the men’s 5,000 meter event, the second-longest distance that men can compete in and one that’s been a Winter Games event for 90 years. There are no qualification rounds for this event – one race determines gold, silver, and bronze. Dutch skaters Sven Kramer, Jorrit Bergsma and Jan Blokhuijsen are looking to sweep the event, but South Korean Lee Seung-hoon poses a potent threat. The event aired early this morning Eastern Time and will be replayed on NBC at 3 p.m EST.
Finally, the team figure skating competition, also making its debut in Sochi, continues today. Skaters from 10 countries will compete in each figure skating discipline and the team with the highest cumulative score wins, similar to the gymnastics team competition.
Today, the United States will be represented by Meryl Davis and Charlie White in the ice dance short program, by Ashley Wagner in the women’s short program, and Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir in the pairs short program. After the short programs, the field will be cut to the top five nations.
Ice dancing will air live at 9:30 a.m. EST; the women’s short program at 11:10 a.m.; and the pairs short program at 1:05 p.m.