Each day throughout the Winter Olympics, we'll bring you a daily rundown on what to expect and a look at key story lines in Sochi.
What to watch today, Friday Feb. 7:
Although competition has already officially gotten underway in Sochi, Russia, the 2014 Winter Olympic Games will hold their Opening Ceremony on Friday, which will be sure to feature all the pageantry we’ve become accustomed to in these events. Probably even more so this year, as Russia certainly wants to make a statement in kicking off the most expensive Winter Games in Olympic history.
Friday’s program will feature a march through Russian history and culture, the parade of nations (the US has its largest contingent ever for a Winter Olympics; the Russians have the most team members in Winter Olympic history), and the traditional lighting of the cauldron with the Olympic flame, which will burn over Sochi for the next 17 days.
A report on Friday stated that Russian president Vladimir Putin’s rumored girlfriend, Alina Kabayeva, a 2004 Olympic rhythmic gymnastics champion, may light the Olympic flame at Fisht Stadium.
While US Olympics rights holder NBC will be streaming all events during these Games, it will not be carrying the Opening Ceremony live. The ceremony, which takes place at 11 a.m., will be broadcast in its entirety during the network’s prime time coverage beginning Friday night at 8.
Tweets from the athletes:
Vermont native Hannah Kearney posted a score of 23.05 to win qualifying in women’s moguls.
Teammate Eliza Outtrim, who is from Connecticut, finished fourth in qualifying.
Canadian figure skater Kirsten Moore-Towers ran into Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, who will carry the Slovakian flag in the Opening Ceremony.
Ran into Zdeno Chara today. Couldn't resist taking a picture :) pic.twitter.com/sYNOIbrWLn— Kirsten Moore-Towers (@Kirsten_MT) February 7, 2014
The US’s Julia Mancuso finished third in Thursday’s downhill training runs. New Hampshire’s Bode Miller finished first for the men.
Marissa Castelli, a native of Cranston, R.I., reacted after she and her partner, Simon Shnapir, who hails from Sudbury, finished fifth with a score of 64.25 in the team pairs short program on Thursday.
US snowboarders Jamie Anderson and Karly Shorr both automatically qualified for the women’s slopestyle final with their performances on Thursday.
This was the first time I saw the course. Couldn't be happier with how this week is going by. Can't… http://t.co/KwqwPiOKy3— Karly Piper Shorr (@KarlyShorr) February 6, 2014
Photo of the day:
Security personnel watch a practice run of a fountain show to music from "Swan Lake" on the perimeter of the Olympic cauldron in preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. The cauldron will be lit with the Olympic torch during Friday's opening ceremonies. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
A final, and then farewell: No detailed description is required today. The United States and Canada face off in an incredibly intriguing gold medal men's hockey game at 3 p.m. The closing ceremonies commence at 9 p.m.
The mood at the latter will be determined by the outcome of the former.
Fast track to gold? You know your bobsled team has had a pretty fine day when it makes two runs . . . and establishes a new track record both times. USA 1, which includes Steven Holcomb, Steve Mesler, Justin Olsen, and Curt Tomasevicz, did just that Friday to grab first place midway through the four-man bobsled competition. With a combined time of 1 minute 41.75 seconds, USA 1 holds a 0.40 lead on Canada 1 and is 0.44 ahead of Germany 1 entering today's final two runs. 5:40 p.m
Once more for Bode: Bode Miller has added three medals to his collection during his time in Vancouver (OK, technically Whistler), making the Franconia, N.H. native the most decorated male Olympic skier in US history. He'll go for a fourth medal -- and the sixth of his Olympic career -- during the slalom, the final Alpine event of these games. Fellow US skier Ted Ligety also has a shot at a spot on the podium, which two New Englanders, Jimmy Cochran (Keene, N.H.) and 20-year-old Nolan Kasper (Warren, Vt.) will try to make their marks. 4:45 p.m.
And don't forget . . . . . . to watch speedskater Chad Hedrick's final Olympic race as the US battles Canada for the gold in the men's team pursuit (4:55 p.m.). Also, if you're a curling enthusiast, the men's final between Canada -- which is 10-0 here but has some ghosts to exorcise -- and Norway begins at 6 p.m..
How about nine? Apolo Anton Ohno has won two medals here in Vancouver already, making him the most decorated US Winter Olympics athlete of all time. (Two golds + two silvers + three bronzes = A heck of a trophy case.) The popular short-track dynamo has a chance to add two more tonight in the 500 meters and the 5,000-meter relay. But he might not be the only story for the US on the short track at Pacific Coliseum. Katherine Reutter is a medal contender in the women's 1,000 meters. 9 p.m.
Go, go, Gorgone: The US will have just one representative in the women's parallel giant slalom at Cypress Mountain -- Boston's own Michelle Gorgone. Gorgone will attempt to become just the second US medalist since the event debuted in Nagano in 1998. There are two morning qualifying runs in the parallel GS, with a field of 16 racers advancing to the finals at 3:15 p.m.
And don't forget . . . . . . men's ice hockey, of course. (Not that you would. We're not accusing.) Ryan Miller and the United States face Finland in one semifinal, while Canada -- which looked unstoppable against Russia and has 15 goals in its past two games -- takes on Slovakia in the other. Fair to say we're all hoping for a rematch of the US's 5-3 win Sunday? Because they sure are up here. US-Finland: 3 p.m.; Canada-Slovakia: 9:30 p.m.
Two great skiers . . . Let's see: Lindsey Vonn has a gold (downhill) and a bronze (super-G). Julia Mancuso has a pair of silvers (downhill, super combined). Vonn is the most decorated skier in US history and a ready-made star before arriving in Vancouver. Mancuso, who won gold in the event in 2006, is the favorite. Given their friends/rivals/teammates/ok-it's-complicated relationship, it'll be fascinating to see if either, neither, or both can end up on the podium today, especially since Mancuso has announced she will not race in Friday's slalom. 4:15 p.m.
. . . two great matchups: We're livin' in the Land of Hockey here, so it only seems right that the competition heats up on the ice in the culminating days of the Vancouver Games. Today brings a pair of compelling matchups in the quarterfinals: Ryan Miller and the US take on Switzerland(3 p.m.). And Canada, fresh off its mildly reassuring 8-2 rout of overmatched Germany Tuesday night, faces Alex Ovechkin and potent Russia (7:30 p.m.) in what we suspect will be an instant classic.
New heights?: Belmont's Emily Cook is among the aerialists in the finals tonight, qualifying in fifth place despite a troublesome heel that hindered her training leading up to the Games. Cook, on her third Olympic team but a finalist for the first time, said she plans to be more aggressive with her jumps tonight. Could a medal be within reach?
And don't forget . . . Another New Englander with a chance at the podium? We're all in favor. Erin Pac of Farmington, Conn. is in medal contention in women's bobsled; she's in second place heading into today's third heat.
They might be giants: Bode Miller goes for his fourth medal of the Vancouver Games in the giant slalom, but the best bet to win an astounding ninth Alpine medal for the US team is Ted Ligety. Ligety, who won gold in the men's super-combined at Turin, Italy in 2006 and had the best slalom time in the event here, is tops in the World Cup standings in the giant slalom, a race in which each skier makes two slalom runs, each on a different course, with the winner determined by combined times. (You know what? We've learned our lesson. We're betting on Bode, too.)
Yo, Canada: Canada's 5-3 loss to the United States was disappointing and damaging, but it wasn't devastating. A loss to Germany today for the home team in the qualifying playoffs? Now that would be devastating. 7:40 p.m.
And don't forget . . . . . . a number of medal events today, including men's speedskating 10,000 meters (2 p.m.); women's biathlon 4x6K relay (2:30 p.m.); women's freestyle ski cross (4 p.m.); and men's Nordic combined 4x5K (4 p.m.).
Semi-tough? The women's hockey semifinals begin at noon when the United States takes on Sweden. The US, led by hat-trick specialist Jenny Potter, has been rolling, outscoring its three Group B opponents, 31-1. But if the US men's hockey team's instant-classic 5-3 victory over Canada last night wasn't reminder enough that upsets can happen, all the US women have to do is remember Turin, Italy four years ago, when they were stunned by -- yep, Sweden -- in the semifinals. 3 p.m.
And don't forget . . . Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the US enter tonight's free dance trailing Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir by 2.60 points in the ice dancing competition. Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto of the US, silver medalists in Turin, are fourth. We're pretty sure there won't be any controversial Aboriginal costumes in this one, but I suppose you never know. 7:45 p.m.
Bye-bye, Bonnie? Apolo Anton Ohno goes for his United States record-breaking seventh Olympic Winter Games medal in the men’s short-track speedskating 1000 meters. Should he finish on the podium, he will surpass the standard of six medals set by long-track speedskater Bonnie Blair. (For the record, she had five golds and a bronze, while Ohno has three sets of two. Just saying.)
Stealing the show on snow? In the women's super-G at Whistler, Julia Mancuso goes for her third medal of these games, while Lindsey Vonn, who won gold in the downhill Wednesday but crashed in the slalom portion of the women's combined Thursday, tries to keep pace with her lesser-heralded Alpine teammate.
And don't forget . . . The men’s 1500-meter long-track speedskating race will mark the last individual performance in Olympic medalist Chad Hedrick’s career. Teammate Shani Davis will try to send him out with a parting gift that is something less than gold . . . Lebanon, N.H. native Nick Alexander will achieve flight during large hill ski jumping at Whistler.
Nasty? If turning in to the Alpine skiing super-G to watch apparently reformed bad boy Bode Miller go for his second medal of the Vancouver Games doesn't entice you, how about this from Ted Ligety via Twitter on Wednesday: "Just finished freeskiing the super G hill. It's in horrible condition. It's gonna be a nasty race." Uh-oh. 2:30 p.m.
And don't forget . . . Actually, it's a relatively light day -- there are just a couple of other medal events: The women's cross-country 15k pursuit (4 p.m.) and the men's and women's skeleton (6.45 p.m.).
Piping up: Shaun White did his thing with style in the men's halfpipe Wednesday, defending his gold medal from Turin with a transcendent effort that included landing the Double McTwist 1260, a move only he has pulled off in competition. Tonight, it's the women's turn to show what they can do, with Vermont's Hannah Teter, the defending Olympic gold medalist, among the favorites, along with Newport, R.I. native Kelly Clark, the 2002 gold medalist in Salt Lake City, and reigning X-Games champ Gretchen Bleiler. It will be a surprise if the US doesn't claim another medal or two (dare we suggest three?) today on Cypress Mountain.
Feeling super? There's no time to rest and rejoice for freshly-minted gold medalist Lindsey Vonn, who gives it a go this morning in the super combined, a day after blowing away the field in the downhill. There is some question as to how her injured shin will feel in the event, which is essentially a slalom leg plus an abbreviated downhill, especially since she's liable to feel some effects of Wednesday's race. Of course, as she's already proven, talent plus adrenaline and toughness can take you a long way.
And don't forget . . . The men's figure skating free program: Plushenko. Lysacek. Who ya got? And if you're not into that rivalry, we know you'll tune in to check out Johnny Weir's wardrobe curiosities.
Here's Lindsey: We've seen her in commercials. We've seen her in the SI swimsuit issue. Now, after concerns about her injured shin and days of uncooperative weather at Whistler, we'll finally see Lindsey Vonn ski. The Minnesota native and oft-dubbed "Face of the Games" for the United States team was the favorite in the women's downhill, but her true health remains somewhat of a mystery; she said the bumpy course caused her pain in her injured leg during practice runs. Vonn has proven her toughness before. Should she do it again today in victory, all of the hype will be more than justified. 2 p.m.
White-out conditions? Heard of the Double-McTwist 1260? Nope, that's not the name and calorie count of the latest offering at McDonald's. It's snowboarding megamogul Shaun White's mysterious and complex new trick, which he says he hopes to break out in today's halfpipe. In truth, the trick, which White refers to as "massive," is no joking matter; the 1260 refers to the number of degrees in turns he makes -- yes, that's 3 1/2 revolutions. Gulp. Be safe up there, Tomato.Final, 10:15 p.m.
And don't forget . . . Speedskater Shani Davis essentially used the 500 meters Monday as high-profile warmup, pulling out after one race to focus on preparing for today's 1,000 meters. His decision should be justified -- he is the heavy favorite as the world-record holder and defending gold medalist in the event. In terms of his legacy, the stakes for Davis are high: Should he win, he will become the first skater in Olympic history to win gold in the event twice.
What to watch for today at the Olympics. Early Tuesday morning, it was pouring rain in downtown Vancouver, although it is apparently supposed to clear up later this morning.
Redemption? For four years, Lindsey Jacobellis of Stratton Mountain, Vt., has had to live with being known to the Olympic community as the snowboarder who lost a gold medal because she was hot-dogging on the final jump of the snowboardcross in Turin in 2006. Those within the snowboarding community know her as much more than that -- they see the X Games star who has dominated her sport. Nonetheless, today she gets the chance to close the book on Turin. Qualifying, 1 p.m.; Semifinals, 3:29 p.m.; Final, 3:40.
More Bode: The men's super-combined has a new format -- a shorter downhill run followed by a single slalom run -- but the same faces are expected to challenge, and that includes New Hampshire's Bode Miller. Miller looked strong and confident in the downhill on Monday, and it appears this may be his Olympics.
UPDATE, 8:45 a.m.: The men's super-combined has been postponed because of heavy snow at Whistler Mountain. No word of a rescheduled date yet.
Oh, the drama: No matter how he performs, men's figure skater Johnny Weir will add intrigue to the competition, which starts tonight. What will he wear? What will he say? Will he bring back the quad-jump? But the event is far from a one-man show. Short program, 7:15 p.m.
Let's play, eh? Men's hockey gets under way tonight, and several Bruins figure to be in action with their teams. US-Switzerland, 3 p.m.; Canada-Norway, 7:30 p.m.
Miller time: Actually, maybe that's not the best way to put it since Bode Miller has admitted that his disappointing performance in Turin four years ago could in part be attributed to his affinity for the night life. But the rebellious American downhiller and four-time Olympian says he is taking it more seriously this time around. "I'm psyched. I'm ready to win," said Miller, who owns a US-record 32 World Cup victories but has collected just a pair of silvers in the Olympics, both coming at Salt Lake City in 2002. He's competing in five Alpine events here, and he'll get his first shot at redemption today in the downhill -- presuming the weather cooperates. The race was among the skiing events canceled at warm and rainy Whistler over the weekend. 1:30 p.m.
Maine event: Seth Wescott, whose gold-medal run in the inaugural Olympic men's snowboardcross four years made the wild, crowd-pleasing sport one of the surprise hits of the Turin Games, goes for a repeat today at Cypress Mountain. But the 33-year-old Mainah, who owns a popular restaurant/bar at Sugarloaf Mountain when he's not zipping around on a snowboard somewhere, may not be the best bet to reach the podium on the US team. Teammate Nate Holland, who crashed in Turin and finished 14th, says he has been focused on Vancouver since then. Qualifying heats, 1:30 p.m., 2:45 p.m.; Quarterfinals, 5:26 p.m., 5:32 p.m.; Semifinals, 5:46 p.m.; Finals, 5:52 p.m.
Another mogul in the making? One of several fun developments for the US team on a very successful (four medals) Saturday was Vermont native Hannah Kearney's winning performance in the women's moguls. Today, it's the guys' turn, and the US has a genuine gold-medal candidate here as well in Patrick Deneen, who won the World Championship in Inawashiro, Japan in March with a rapid run of slightly under 48 seconds. 5:30 p.m.
Combined effort: The US has never won a medal in Nordic combined, a long-established Winter Games event that requires both tremendous athleticism and endurance since it combines ski jumping and cross country skiing. The victory drought is likely to end today, as Johnny Spillane, Billy Demong, and Todd Lodwick -- Olympic veterans and close friends who have found increasing success on the World Cup circuit -- all have their eyes on the podium. Noon, 1 p.m., 4:45 p.m..
Speaking of breakthroughs: Like the Nordic combined, the biathlon is another traditional event in which the US still has a zero when it comes to all-time medal count in the event. And like the Nordic combined, the biathlon is a sport in which the US has been making serious headway in recent years. Today, Tim Burke has a golden opportunity -- or perhaps a silver or bronze one -- to put a "1" in that column with a win in the 10-Kilometer sprint. 2:15 p.m.
And don't forget . . . Figure skating, always among the most anticipated events (though hockey probably gets the nod this time around given who has home ice), gets underway with the pairs short program. 7:30 p.m. . . . Coach Mark Johnson, who knows a thing or two about Olympic hockey success, guides the US women's team in its debut during a preliminary round matchup with China. 3 p.m. . . . Four-time Olympian Catherine Raney-Norman covets her first medal, and she could collect it in the women's 3,000-meter speedskating competition. 4 p.m.
Rain, rain . . . Bode Miller, in pursuit of redemption after a disastrous performance in Turin in 2006, leads the US men's Alpine ski team as it pursues gold in the downhill -- weather permitting, that is. Men's race director Guenter Hujara told the Associated Press that the race is at "high risk" of being postponed if the rain continues and it does not get colder on Whistler Mountain. 2:45 p.m.
Look out, Bonnie: Short-track speedskating icon Apolo Anton Ohno bids to enhance his already golden legacy today when he bids for his sixth career Winter Olympic medal. Ohno competes in the 1,500 meters today; he's currently tied with Eric Heiden for most medals won by an American male, and he a single medal shy of Bonnie Blair's record for medals won by a US competitor at the Winter Games. 8 p.m.
Kearney's turn:Hannah Kearney of Norwich, Vt., could become the first US athlete to medal today when the women's moguls freestyle team competes at Cypress Mountain. She is considered one of the favorites. 10:30 p.m.
And don't forget . . . Medals in the 7.5 km sprint in the women's biathlon, the 5,000m men's speedskating competition, and ski jumping will be among the six medals awarded today. All three US ski jumpers qualified for the finals, including Nick Alexander from Lebanon, N.H.