The Sochi Network

Sochi 2014: The ultimate sporting guide to the Winter Olympics

The 22nd Winter Olympics get under way in Russia on 7 February, and, in anticipation, we have put together an informative sport guide for perusal.

PROFILE: FREESTYLE SKIING

There are ten events in total (five for men and five for women) offering a total of 30 medals. Competitions take place from February 6 to February 21.

PROFILE: WOMEN'S ICE HOCKEY

Eight nations split into two groups will compete for the gold medal in a tournament that runs from February 8-20.

PROFILE: MEN'S ICE HOCKEY

Twelve nations split into three groups will compete for the gold medal in a tournament that runs from February 12-23.

PROFILE: SNOWBOARDING

Competitors will compete in halfpipe, slopestyle and parallel slalom and giant slalom at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

PROFILE: FIGURE SKATING

There will be five titles up for grabs from February 6-20 with the team event making its Olympic debut.

PROFILE: WOMEN'S ALPINE SKIING

The sport is divided between speed and technical disciplines. Five women's gold medals are awarded for downhill, super-G, giant slalom, slalom and the super-combined event.

PROFILE: MEN'S ALPINE SKIING

The sport is divided between speed and technical disciplines. There are five men's gold medals for downhill, super-G, giant slalom, slalom and the super-combined event, with the downhill the highlight of the games.

PROFILE: SPEED SKATING

There are 12 medals up for grabs in the speed skating discipline; six for men and six for women. Skaters race along the 400m oval in two lanes and switch on each lap with the competitor on the outside lane moving in holding the right of way. In the team pursuit race, two teams of three skaters start at opposite sides of the track with the race completed when the last of the skaters crosses the finish line.

PROFILE: SHORT-TRACK SPEED SKATING

Short track is an elimination event, where skaters race four to six at a time around an oval with no lanes. Unlike speed skating, racers compete against each other instead of a clock.

PROFILE: SKI JUMPING

There are three events for men at the Olympics: the normal hill, the large hill and the team event. For the first time women will jump at the Olympics, but only on the normal hill. For the first time at an Olympics, new rules on compensating for wind conditions will apply, which mean athletes can be docked points for jumping in a wind the jury deems to be too favourable.

PROFILE: NORDIC COMBINED

There are three events in Nordic Combined, which combines ski jumping and cross-country racing. It is the only Winter Olympic sport where women do not compete.

PROFILE: BIATHLON

There will be 11 events at the Sochi Olympics, five for the men, five for the women and a mixed relay. The competitors race over a set distance and start at intervals of 30 seconds and have four shoots, the first and third in the prone position and the second and fourth standing. For every missed shot, a minute is added to the competitors' time.

PROFILE: CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING

There will be 12 gold medals up for grabs at the Sochi Olympics - six each for men and women in the individual, mass start, skiathlon, relay, sprint and sprint relay. Though there are different disciplines and different lengths of which the competitors compete on, essentially whoever finishes first wins.

PROFILE: CURLING


Curling is played by two four-member teams, called rinks, on a sheet of ice 44.5 metres long and 4.75 metres wide. The aim is to deliver a polished stone, made of granite and with a handle on top, as close as possible to the centre of a series of concentric circles, known as the tee, and to knock away the stones of the opposing team at the same time.Team members sweep the ice in front of the stone as it glides, to keep the ice clean in the running path of the stone, speed it up or influence its direction.

PROFILE: BOBSLEIGH

The competition consists of four runs held over a two-day period. Medals are awarded based on the total time over the four runs, with the winner having the lowest overall time. If two teams complete the competition in a tie, they are awarded the same place.

PROFILE: SKELETON

There are only two gold medals to be won in skeleton. Each athlete completes a total of four runs with the winner having the lowest overall time. If two athletes complete the competition in a tie, they are awarded the same place.

PROFILE: LUGE

Four gold medals are up for grabs. Individual competitions for men and women in the singles are held over two days with two runs per day. The four times are added together, and the fastest total time determines the winner.