Here’s a look at the compelling events, athletes and storylines of the Sochi Olympics on Friday, Feb. 7.
WHAT YOU CAN’T MISS …
Opening Ceremony on NBC, 7:30 p.m. ET/PT
Russia gets its chance to present itself to the world inside the recently completed Fisht Stadium and in front of a new International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach.
Fisht Stadium’s name came from a nearby mountain, and its design was inspired by Russia’s jewel-encrusted Faberge eggs. The stadium has open sides, giving spectators a view of the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea.
The event will of course include the Parade of Nations, featuring a Winter Games record 88 countries. Greece customarily goes first with the rest marching in alphabetical order save the host nation, which goes last.
One big question — how large of a role will Vladimir Putin play? The Russian president arrived in Sochi on Tuesday.
The night climaxes with the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron. The final torch bearer is always a closely guarded secret. It’s unknown if Russia will go the typical route and bestow the honor on a retired Olympian. If it does, six-time Olympic champion speed skater Lidiya Skoblikova, three-time Olympic champion pairs figure skater Irina Rodnina and three-time Olympic champion goaltender Vladislav Tretiak.
WHAT ELSE TO KEEP AN EYE ON …
Alpine skiing downhill training, 1 a.m. ET
Watch out for U.S. skiers Bode Miller and Julia Mancuso on the second day of downhill training at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort.
Miller, a five-time Olympian with five career medals, was fastest in the first training run Thursday and is set up well as a medal contender in Sunday’s race. Gold medal favorite Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal will look to bounce back after clocking the eighth-best time, 1.21 seconds behind Miller.
Mancuso, a four-time Olympian with three career medals, might just be turning it on for a major championship yet again. She was third fastest in Thursday’s delayed women’s opening training run. Mancuso has yet to make a World Cup podium this season, but she’s the reigning Olympic downhill silver medalist. Gold medal favorite Maria Hoefl-Riesch was sixth. They’ll race for medals on Wednesday.