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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Five things to watch Sunday at the Sochi Olympics

Posted: 02/8/2014 3:35 PM | Comments: 0

Last Modified: 02/8/2014 4:11 PM

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SOCHI, Russia - Five things to watch for on Day 2 of the Sochi Olympics:

DEVILISH DOWNHILL — Erik Guay leads the Canadian downhill contingent, which also includes Jan Hudec, Manuel Osborne-Paradis and Ben Thomsen. The course is as tough as they come. At 3.5 kilometres, it's longer than most World Cup downhills and there are no long gliding sections where racers can recover. American star Bode Miller called it "treacherous" with "teeth everywhere."

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MEDAL IN SIGHT — Canada appears poised to win a medal in the new team figure skating event but it doesn't look like it will be gold. Russia took an almost insurmountable six-point lead over Canada after five events Saturday in front of a rocking, mostly Russian crowd at the 12,000-seat Iceberg Skating Palace. Canada has 41 points to Russia's 47 heading into the final three events, the long programs for men's and women's singles and ice dance.

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FINISH IN STYLE — The snowboarding slopestyle event wraps up with the women's semifinals and final. Defending world champion Spencer O'Brien of Courtenay, B.C., advanced straight to the final on Thursday and has a good chance to give Canada its second slopestyle medal of the Games. Mark McMorris won Canada's first medal of the Games — a bronze — in the men's competition Saturday.

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CHASING HISTORY — Cross-country skiers Devon Kershaw of Sudbury, Ont., Alex Harvey of St-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., Len Valjas of Toronto and Ivan Babikov of Canmore, Alta., will attempt to capture Canada's first-ever medal in men's cross-country skiing as they race in the 15-kilometre skiathon. Harvey heads to Sochi with plenty of momentum after turning in a strong performance at the Tour de Ski over the holiday season and recently winning World Cup gold in a skate-sprint race in Poland.

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WHEELS UP — The NHL break begins Sunday, which means some of the league's biggest stars will be boarding planes bound for Sochi. They won't have much time to acclimatize to Russia as the men's tournament kicks off Wednesday.

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