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Sochi Winter Olympics 2014: TV best bets

Four events involving women competitors — hockey, figure skating, freestyle halfpipe and slalom — are especially intriguing.

February 19, 2014|By John Cherwa

A look at the top events at the Sochi Olympics on Thursday:

WOMEN'S HOCKEY

The U.S. women haven't won the gold since 1998; a Canada win would give it a fourth straight title. Canada beat the U.S., 3-2, in a pool-play game. This is actually the only high-stakes competitive matchup in this tournament, making all the other games seem like an afterthought.

WOMEN'S FIGURE SKATING

It was supposed to be a coming-out party for the new Russian phenom, only a different one showed up. Adelina Sotnikova took the spotlight from Yulia Lipnitskaya to grab second going into the free skate. Yuna Kim, as expected, is in first. Gracie Gold of the U.S. has a medal shot in fourth.

WOMEN'S FREESTYLE HALFPIPE

This inaugural Olympic sport brought a gold for the U.S. on the men's side, but can it do it on the women's? Maddie Bowman has probably the best shot for the U.S., with three wins and one second place this winter. Roz Groenewould of Canada should provide some competition if she has fully recovered from knee surgery.

Early Best Bet

WOMEN'S SLALOM

Mikaela Shiffrin is the favorite to give the U.S. its first gold in women's slalom since Barbara Cochran in 1972. Shiffrin is the defending world champion and World Cup event champion. Among those most likely to challenge her are Frida Hansdotter of Sweden and Marlies Schild of Austria.

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