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Guide to Events of the Winter Olympics

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Guide to Events of the Winter Olympics

There are tons of great events in Sochi at the XXII Winter Olympics. Here are a few events that you may want to watch out for.

Coastal Ice Events

If you are looking for some great Olympic competition, then look no further than the 2014 ice events. Here is a little more information about the sports.

  • Ice Hockey

    A part of the Olympic Games since 1920, ice hockey has always been a popular sport in the Winter Olympics. Olympic ice hockey was a sport strictly for men until a women’s division was added in 1998. The first Sochi Olympic hockey event will be the Group A Women’s Preliminary round between the United States and Finland. The match will be on February 8, at 12:00p.m. It will air in the U.S. at 3:00a.m. Eastern Time.

  • Speed Skating

    Speed skating is another Olympic sport that dates back to the 1920s, and, in recent years, it’s been growing in popularity. The various speed-skating events differ in length: men compete in 500, 1000, 1500, 5000, and 10,000 meter races, while women compete in 500, 1000, 1500, 3000, and 5000 meter races. The first speed-skating event will be the men’s 5000-meter race at 3:30p.m. on February 8, and will air in the U.S. at 6:30a.m.

  • Figure Skating

    The oldest sport in the Winter Olympic Games, figure skating has been a popular event since 1908. The sport has individual events for both men and women, and also features team events. The single skating and team skating events must feature seven elements, or moves, as well as a free program that should include jumps, spins and steps. In addition, there is the ice-dancing event. This event is judged on how closely the dancers adhere to the rhythm of the music and express the feeling of the song. The first figure skating event will be the men’s short program held on February 6, at 7:30p.m., and will air in the U.S. at 10:30a.m.

  • Curling

    Although curling has been around since the early 1500s, it didn’t appear in the Olympic Games until 1924, and wasn’t formally accepted by the International Olympic Committee until 2006. Curling is played between two teams who slide a series of stones across the ice. The score is determined by how closely a team’s stone is to the center of a specified target. The first curling event is the Men’s Round Robin Session 1, held on February 10, at 9:00a.m., and will air in the U.S. at 12:00a.m. Eastern Time.

For more information about any of the ice sports, check out the Sochi Olympic Games online, and if you need more information about television air times in the U.S., visit NBC’s website.

Mountain Snow Events

While the ice events are great, some people prefer the snow events. These events are taking place in the Krasnaya Polyana Mountains. Here is a closer look at what there is to see.


The biathlon combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting into one event. Sounds strange, but it actually grew out of ancient European hunting practices. There are six different competitions in the modern biathlon: individual, sprint, pursuit, relay, mixed relay, and the mass start.

Contestants in the individual biathlon ski five loops and have four spots where they shoot at targets along the way. In the sprint competition, competitors ski three loops and stop twice to shoot. The pursuit competition comprises five loops and four shooting spots. In the relay competition, there are four competitors per team, and each member skis three loops and shoots twice. The mixed relay is like the relay competition but with both men and women.

The final event is the mass start event, in which competitors ski five loops with four bouts of shooting. If an athlete misses a shot during this event, they must ski a 150-meter loop after shooting, as a penalty. The first biathlon event is the men’s sprint at 6:30p.m., and will air in the U.S. at 9:30a.m. Eastern Time.

Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-country skiing competitors have to ski over many different types of terrain to win their race. There are six different cross-country skiing events for both men and women in the modern Olympic Games. They include individual race, mass start race, skiathlon, relay, individual sprint, and team sprint.

  • The individual race is 15 km, and the skier with the best time wins.
  • The mass start race is 50 km, and the first person across the finish line wins.
  • The skiathlon is a race where competitors switch from classic technique skis, to skating skis, and then finish the event using the free technique. The first person to pass the finish line in the skiathlon wins.
  • The relay race is skied by teams of four competitors, and the first team to cross the finish line wins.
  • The individual sprint goes through several rounds of competition that eliminates contestants until there are six skiers that compete in one final round.
  • The team sprint is a relay race with teams of two skiers. The team that completes six 1.5 km legs first, wins.

The first cross-country skiing event will take place on February 8, at 2:00p.m., and will air in the U.S. at 5:00a.m.


A popular sport even before its Olympic Games debut in 1992, freestyle skiing comprises five different competitions: mogul, aerials, ski cross, ski halfpipe, and ski slopestyle.

  • The mogul event is a descent down a bumpy slope. On the way down, skiers must perform tricks on two different jumps along the way. The skier with the highest score wins. The score is determined by a combination of the skier’s time and the judges’ score.
  • The aerials event comprises two jumps where tricks are performed. The competition goes through several rounds, and the skier with the highest score, as determined by judges, wins.
  • The ski cross is a downhill race that follows a specific course. The competition has several rounds, and the skier with the fastest time wins.
  • The ski halfpipe is all about tricks and flips. The skiers are judged on their performance and, after several rounds, the skier with the highest score wins.
  • The ski slopestyle is an event that features many different obstacles and jumps. The skier with the highest score wins the event.

The first cross-country ski event is the women’s moguls qualification on February 6, at 6:00p.m., but the first televised event in the U.S. is the women’s skiathlon, which airs on February 8 at 5:00a.m.


Snowboarding made its Olympic debut in 1998. It has since been one of the more popular sports in the Olympic Winter Games. There are five different events for both men and women in snowboarding, including halfpipe, parallel giant slalom, snowboard cross, slopestyle, and parallel slalom.

  • The halfpipe competition is an event where snowboarders perform tricks in a halfpipe-shaped course. They receive a score based on their performance, and the competitor with the highest score wins.
  • In the parallel giant slalom event, two competitors face each other on parallel courses. The athlete with the best results advances to the next round, and whoever wins all of the races wins the overall competition.
  • Snowboard cross is an event much like the ski cross event. The only difference is that the athletes are on snowboards instead of skis.
  • The slopestyle event is the snowboard equivalent of the ski slopestyle event.
  • The parallel slalom is extremely similar to the parallel giant slalom in organization of the race, just the course differs.

Alpine Skiing

Alpine skiing has been an Olympic sport since the 1936 Games. Alpine skiing features five different competitions: the downhill, the slalom, the giant slalom, the super giant (Super-G), and the super combination.

  • The downhill competition is a fast-paced course where the fastest skier wins.
  • The slalom ski competition features a course where skiers have to ski between tightly spaced flags and gates.
  • In the giant slalom, the gates and flags are placed farther apart than the slalom.
  • The super giant (Super-G) is a mixture of both the downhill competition and the giant slalom.
  • The super combination is a mixture of the downhill competition and the slalom, the difference being that the super giant has different spacing for the flags and gates.

The first alpine skiing competition is the men’s downhill at 11:00a.m. on February 9. It will air in the U.S. at 2:00a.m.


Bobsleigh has been in the Olympic games since 1924. It comprises four runs that take place over a two-day period. The team with the fastest time wins. The first event will be held on February 16 at 8:15p.m., and will air in the U.S. at 11:15a.m.


The origins of the luge can be traced back to the Vikings, but it wasn’t until 1964 that the luge—the individual competition and the relay competition—was included in the Olympic Games. Considered one of the most dangerous sports of the Olympic winter games, it involves sliding down a track of artificially frozen ice on single or two-person sleds.

  • The individual competition is where one person goes down an ice course at high speeds. The athlete with the fastest time wins.
  • The relay competition is exactly like the individual competition, but there are two runs done by separate athletes. Once again, the fastest time wins.

The first event will be held on February 8 at 6:30p.m., and will air in the U.S. at 9:30a.m.


Skeleton is sledding on a track similar to the luge track. Each competitor makes four runs. The person with the fastest combined time wins. The first skeleton event will be held on February 13 at 11:30a.m, and will air at 2:30a.m.

Ski Jumping

Ski jumping has been around since 1924. There are three different ski jumping events, including the individual normal hill competition, the individual large hill competition, and the team competition.

  • During the individual normal hill competition, athletes perform a ski jump from a hill that has a height of around 105 meters. The athlete with the highest score after two jumps wins.
  • The individual large hill competition is much like the normal hill competition, but the hill is 140 meters instead of 105 meters. Once again, the winner is the athlete with the highest score.
  • The team competition is done on the same hill as the large hill competition. The teams are made up of four athletes. The team with the highest score after four jumps wins.

The first ski jump competition takes place February 8 at 8:30p.m., and airs in the U.S. at 11:30a.m.

Nordic Combined

The Nordic combined event is much like the ski jump event, but it also includes a cross-country ski race. There are two different events: the individual and the team.

  • The individual event takes place in two stages. The first stage is the jump, and the second is the cross-country race. The skier with the highest combined score wins.
  • The team event is much like the individual event, only there are four individuals per team. The team with the highest score wins the event.

The first Nordic Combined event is on February 12 at 1:30p.m., and will air in the U.S. at 4:30a.m.


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