45 Top Storylines At The 2014 Winter Olympics

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With the first Olympic competitions set to begin Thursday at 1 a.m. ET and Opening Ceremony on Friday, here is a look at 45 storylines to watch at the 2014 Sochi Olympics:

Alpine Skiing
1. The U.S. could have four different medal winners for a second straight Olympics – Ted Ligety (giant slalom, super combined), Bode Miller (downhill, super-G, super combined, giant slalom), Julia Mancuso (downhill, super-G, super combined) and Mikaela Shiffrin (giant slalom, slalom).
2. Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal could become the first men’s Alpine skier to win three Olympic gold medals in one Games (downhill, super-G, super combined) since Jean-Claude Killy in 1968.
3. The absence of Lindsey Vonn opens up the women’s speed events for friendly rival German Maria Hoefl-Riesch, Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather and Swiss Lara Gut.

Biathlon
1. Tim Burke leads the charge trying to win the first U.S. Olympic biathlon medal.
2. Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov will be the most recognized name to Americans, though, as he is the Russian Biathlon president.
3. Norwegian Ole Einar Bjoerndalen needs two medals to take the solo record for most career Winter Olympic medals, which is held by retired Norwegian cross-country skier Bjorn Daehlie (who has 12). Two golds will tie the record for most career golds (eight, also held by Daehlie).

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courtesy of NBCSports.com

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