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What to watch for Sunday at the Sochi Winter Games

By Chelsea J. Carter, CNN
updated 1:20 AM EST, Sun February 16, 2014
Sidney Crosby celebrates after scoring Canada's second goal during the men's ice hockey gold medal match against Sweden on Sunday, February 23. Most of us know the Winter Olympics through the power of television, as a spectacle in constant motion. Seeing the Games through still photography is a different experience altogether. Here's a look at the most compelling images from the word's best photographers at Sochi 2014. | <i>More photos:</i> <i><a href='http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/08/worldsport/gallery/falling-down-in-sochi/index.html'>Falling down in Sochi </a></i> Sidney Crosby celebrates after scoring Canada's second goal during the men's ice hockey gold medal match against Sweden on Sunday, February 23. Most of us know the Winter Olympics through the power of television, as a spectacle in constant motion. Seeing the Games through still photography is a different experience altogether. Here's a look at the most compelling images from the word's best photographers at Sochi 2014. | More photos: Falling down in Sochi
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jamaicans a sentimental favorite in bobsled runs
  • Disappointed American skiers try to regroup at Super-G
  • Snowboard cross sure to entertain Sochi crowd

(CNN) -- Go big, or go home.

That's what a number of athletes at the Winter Games in Sochi will face Sunday when they compete in the Super-G and snowboard cross. Here's what to keep an eye on:

1. Men's Super-G

Will they or won't they finish in the medals? That's the question for American skiers Ted Ligety and Bode Miller, who came into the Winter Games with expectations to finish on the podium. Both failed to place in the super combined, and Miller finished well out of medal range in the downhill.

Both are considered serious contenders, if they can finish the run.

A day after 18 of 49 women in the women's Super-G failed to finish, falling in mushy snow, Olympic officials have moved up the start time at the Rosa Khutor course by an hour to try to deal with the warm temperatures that wreaked havoc.

Who else to watch:

Keep an eye on Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal, who won the gold medal in the same event at the Vancouver Games, and Matthias Mayer, who has already nabbed a gold medal in the men's downhill.

Italy's Christof Innerhofer is also one to watch. He is already a two-time medalist at the Sochi Games, winning a silver medal in the men's downhill and a bronze in the super combined.

2. Women's snowboard cross

You just gotta dig an event that looks a little like roller derby meets snowboard slopestyle, no?

Think of it this way: four snowboarders racing on a course at the same time, maneuvering through a series of features while trying to get to the finish line first.

For those who follow snowboarding, it should be no surprise that American Lindsey Jacobellis is considered a gold medal contender.

Already one of the world's winningest snowboarders, she has something to prove after losing the gold medal to Switzerland's Tanja Frieden in the 2006 Turin Games. Jacobellis finished with the silver after losing the lead when she fell doing a trick that critics called showboating.

In the 2010 Vancouver Games, she failed to advance to the medal round.

But Jacobellis will have to get by Canada's Maelle Ricker, the current world champion and the 2010 Vancouver defending gold medalist.

Ricker comes into the Sochi Games recovering from a broken arm.

Also in the wings is Canada's Dominque Maltais, who has been hot on the heels of Ricker this year.

Who else to watch: Czech snowboarder Eva Samkova, who took home the silver at the 2014 Winter X Games; and Australia's Torah Bright, who took the silver Olympic medal in the women's halfpipe event in Sochi.

3. Men's two-man bobsleigh

The first two of four runs are set to begin Sunday, with Switzerland, Russia and the United States considered medal contenders.

But that story is being eclipsed by the return of Jamaica to the Olympic bobsled course after a 12-year hiatus.

They team of pilot Winston Watts and Marvin Dixon have not finished anywhere close to the top 10 in practice runs. Still, the crowds have turned out to cheer them on.

Their popularity has in part been pushed by the Disney movie "Cool Runnings," which was loosely inspired by the story of the tiny Caribbean nation sending a four-man bobsled team to the Winter Games in Calgary in 1988.

Who to watch:

The Russian team piloted by Alexander Zubkov is looking for Olympic gold on his home turf. Zubkov piloted the team to a silver in 2006 and a bronze in 2010.

The Swiss team piloted by Beat Hefti and the German team lead by Francesco Friedrich also are considered contenders.

The United States team, piloted by Steven Holcomb, is trying to win the first gold medal by an American two-man team since 1936. Holcomb piloted the four-man U.S. team to a gold medal in Vancouver in 2010.

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