Sochi 2014: Slopestyle snowboarding makes its debut on Thursday

Cameron Spencer

Qualification begins in five events, including the first time we'll see Slopestyle snowboarding in the winter games.

The opening ceremony for the Sochi games won't take place until Friday night, but competition starts early on Thursday with five events taking place. Viewers in the USA wont be able to watch live, but here's a list of what to watch on the first day.

Slopestyle makes Olympic debut

The Rosa Khutor Extreme Park will see the most action with three qualifying rounds taking place on the slopes. Men's Slopestyle qualification begins at 1 a.m. ET, and hopes for Team USA now lie with three lesser-known athletes, including two underdogs in Sage Kotsenburg and 21-year-old Ryan Stassel. Charles Guldemond represents USA's best chance at a medal after winning the 2012 world championship in the event, and is a former X Games gold medalist. Veteran Olympian Shaun White withdrew from slopestyle to concentrate on the men's halfpipe, removing the country's best chance at a medal.

Things are better on the women's side, with USA having four athletes competing in the Ladies Slopestyle qualifications, beginning at 5 a.m. ET . The team is represented by Ty Walker, Jamie Anderson, Karly Shorr and Jessika Jensen. It's Anderson who has the best chance at reaching the podium following a second place finish in the 2012 Slopestyle at the World Snowboard Championships. She has won gold at the X Games in each of the last two years.

The slopestyle event will be something to watch, with the event making its Olympic debut. It brings a popular X Games event to the winter games with a large international presence.

Ladies' moguls in freestyle skiing

Women's competition continues with the Ladies Moguls first qualification session, starting at 9 a.m. ET. Four women will represent Team USA, but it's veteran Olympian Hannah Kearney who gives the country the best shot at a medal. This is the 27-year-old's third Games; she won the gold medal in Vancouver in 2010 and finished first in the FIS World Championships.

Team figure skating makes debut

The games head indoors for the evening session, with the Team Short program men's and Team Short program pairs figure skating gracing the ice of the Iceberg Skating Palace. The Team figure skating is a new event in 2014, with each country being represented by a single athlete in each event, then combining their scores for a team total. The pairs event gives Team USA a chance to post a strong opening day, with Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir having a chance to surprise following their third place finish at the Four Continents Championships in Osaka, Japan. The Short program men's portion begins at 10:30 a.m. ET, with the pairs beginning immediately following.

TV coverage will begin at 8 p.m. Thursday on NBC primetime, which will cover the day's events.

More on the Winter Olympics:

Meet Team USA's brightest Winter Olympic athletes

Miracle Put on Ice: 1984 US hockey team never had a chance

The Ratchet Olympics | "We need to be tough!"

What to expect on the bigger Olympic hockey rink

Hockey: Men’s schedule | All 12 men’s rosters | USA roster analysis

Henrik Lundqvist on Sweden's chances, tournament fatigue

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