Sochi look-ahead: A quick look at the top stories on the eve of the Winter Olympics

Graham Watson
February 5, 2014

1. America’s best snowboarder, Shaun White has pulled out of the inaugural slopestyle event citing a need to focus on winning his third gold medal in the halfpipe. Of course, the real reason for White's withdrawal could be the jammed wrist he suffered during practice on Tuesday and concerns that the slopestyle course is unsafe. Two athletes already suffered major injuries during practice. Canadian athletes took to Twitter to question whether White was scared and didn’t want to participate in an event he knew he couldn’t win. Shots fired.

2. Skier Todd Lodwick has been named the U.S. flagbearer for the opening ceremony. Lodwick is a six-time Olympian, the first American to compete in six Winter Games. Lodwick competes in the Nordic combined, which combines ski jumping and cross-country skiing.

3. Steven Stamkos will not play hockey for Team Canada after doctors couldn’t clear him following a broken tibia he suffered on Nov. 11. Doctors told Stamkos the injury had not healed enough to make playing possible. Stamkos, who suffered the injury while playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning, has missed 39 games, but was hopeful to get back to play one NHL game before traveling to Sochi.

There’s been a lot of talk about how scary and unsafe the slopestyle course and now you can see it firsthand. Russian snowboarder Alexey Sobolev strapped a camera to himself and takes the viewer through the basics of the course. He doesn’t do any crazy tricks, but he paints a pretty scary picture of just how high some of the jumps really are.

“The break-up with “Romeo and Juliet” was when I fell twice at Nationals. That was a really bad break-up, so I kicked [the program] to the curb and said, ‘You’re done!’ There’s no looking back. I love this new program, I love Delilah the character and I just can’t wait to show everybody.” - American figure skater Ashley Wagner on abruptly changing her skating routine for Sochi after falling during Nationals.

• Men’s slopestyle qualification (1 a.m. ET)

• Women’s slopestyle qualification (5 a.m. ET)

• Team men’s short program (10:30 a.m. ET)

• Team pairs short program (12:10 p.m. ET)


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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter!