Monday's five things to watch for at the Sochi Games

Canadian freestyle skier Alex Bilodeau looks back up the mountain during a night training session...

Canadian freestyle skier Alex Bilodeau looks back up the mountain during a night training session for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Rosa Khutor, Russia February 2, 2014. (REUTERS)

QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 6:18 AM ET

Five big things to watch for Monday at the Sochi Games:

1. REPEAT SWEEP

Canadians can dream of another gold-silver sweep in the moguls, this time by the men’s competitors, in Sochi Monday. With the country still buzzing over Saturday’s 1-2 moguls finish by sisters Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe in women’s moguls, defending Olympic gold medallist Alex Bilodeau and world champ Mikael Kingsbury may duplicate the result.

2. CURLING MEDAL LOOMS

A likely medal for Canada looms in the men’s curling tournament that kicks off Monday morning. In one of eight draws on the tournament’s opening day, Canada will face Switzerland at 10 a.m. EST. Curling became an Olympic sport in 1998 and Canada has dominated since – winning two silvers (1998 and 2002) and back-to-back golds in 2006 and 2010. There’s no reason the Canadians can’t make it three straight in Sochi.

3. WOMEN'S CURLING

Women’s curling also starts Monday, with five draws including Canada vs. China. The Canadian side led by Jennifer Jones should also be considered a favourite to medal, though they haven’t dominated quite like their male counterparts over the past 16 years. The women won gold in 1998 and have since won bronze (2002 and 2006) and silver in Vancouver four years ago.

4. MAIN ATTRACTION

Arguably the biggest stars of the Sochi Games – the NHL players of the men’s hockey tournament – will start arriving at the Olympics Monday. With the world’s top league taking a two-week hiatus, more than 100 of its players will travel to Russia on four charter flights, three from Newark, New Jersey and one from Atlanta, slated to arrive Monday. The players have a couple of days to get settled, with the tournament starting Wednesday (Canada opens up against Norway at noon EST. Thursday).

5. SHORT-TRACK UNDERWAY

Speed skating events continue Monday, including the men’s 500-metre race starring Canadian powerhouse Charles Hamelin. The 29-year-old native of Sainte-Julie, Que., won gold in the event four years ago in Vancouver and will seek to defend his title in Sochi. Hamelin also won gold in the 5,000-metre relay in 2010.


Photos