Minus Evgeni Plushenko, the men go for figure skating glory, Bode Miller and Ted Ligety carry U.S. hopes in the super combined, and Russia and the U.S. meet to cast stones.
Men's Figure Skating
The men's figure skating gold is a two-man affair.
Patrick Chan chasing Yuzuru Hanyu.
World champion versus teenage prodigy.
Canadian versus Canadian-coached.
Hanyu, 19, scored a dazzling 101.45 in the short program, putting pressure on Chan, who skated just two spots later. But Chan earned a 97.52 from the judges and feels good about his position.
"I like being in second. I like the chase. I can enjoy the Olympics during the free skate while Hanyu has a target on his back. At the Olympics, that target is bigger," he said.
In the free program, Hanyu will skate third in the final group of six. Chan goes fourth so he'll know when he skates onto ice for his performance precisely what he has to do to nab gold.
Who else to watch: The other skaters in the final group (in order of appearance) Friday will be Javier Fernandez of Spain, who is third; Daisuke Takahashi of Japan, who is fourth; Peter Liebers of Germany, who is fifth; and Jason Brown of the Unites States, who is sixth. They are all within one point of each other, but more than 10 behind Chan.
Men's Super Combined
Alpine skiers competing in Friday's super combined better remember to set their alarm clocks one hour earlier.
Officials moved up the start time for the downhill run for the men's super combined because the effects the weather can have on the course.
That should help skiers like Bode Miller, who will start 24th. Miller needs to build a big advantage in the downhill, and he was concerned conditions would deteriorate more quickly in warm temperatures.
"A good downhill will really help because whether you're starting first or 30th in the slalom can make a difference of a few seconds," he said.
In an interesting twist, the slalom course was set up by the father of one of the men in the race. Ante Kostelic, father of Ivica Kostelic, was selected through a coaches' lottery to position the gates, as is custom at world cup races.
Ivica Kostelic, a Croatian, is a three-time silver medalist at the Olympics. One of those came in the slalom at Vancouver. One guess as to who set that course.
"Ante always sets difficult courses. It is what it is. I don't know if Ante normally sets for Ivica or not. He just normally sets on his own kind of whim," Ted Ligety, one of the favorites in the event, said. "Slalom is always difficult no matter what."
Who else to watch: Alexis Pinturault of France, winner of one of the two super combineds this season; Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway, who was fourth in the downhill earlier this week.
Freestyle Skiing Aerials
It's like gymnastics on snow, like one 50-foot high twisting series of flips at the end of a tumbling run (in this case, after skiing down a hill toward a launching ramp).
And, in the past, China has dominated.
China has four great skiers led by Li Nina, who has three world titles but no Olympic gold. She is a former acrobat who decided to give skiing a try a decade ago. She'll be challenged by Xu Mengtao, a former national champion in the floor exercise and vault.
We're sensing a theme here.
Australia's Lydia Lassila is back to defend her Olympic title but she has been hit-and-miss this season. She won a World Cup contest in Canada last month and finished second in another but didn't even crack the top 15 in other events.