Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - A day before the opening ceremony of the 2014 Olympics, the Sochi Games will start with a handful of events.
There won't be any medals awarded Thursday, as qualifiers for the snowboard men's and women's slopestyle and women's freestyle moguls are set to take place. There will also be team figure skating.
The snowboard slopestyle and team figure skating are new for the 2014 Games.
There's already been issues with the slopestyle course and two men's medal contenders have already withdrawn from the competition.
Norway's Torstein Horgmo suffered a broken collarbone during a training run Monday and was forced to pull out of the event. The accident, and subsequent complaints from competitors, forced officials to modify the course.
Still, American star Shaun White decided to withdraw on Wednesday, a day after a wrist injury from a fall on the course. He wanted to instead concentrate on working toward a third straight gold medal in the halfpipe.
White is fifth in the FIS slopestyle standings, while Horgmo is fourth. Canada's Maxence Parrot tops the list with Norway's Staale Sandbech second.
Cheryl Maas of the Netherlands leads the women's points standings, followed by Sarka Pancochova of the Czech Republic. Jamie Anderson leads the American team, while 2010 Olympic halfpipe champion Torah Bright of Australia is also entered.
American Hannah Kearney is back to defend her gold medal from the 2010 Games in the women's moguls. Another strong Canadian contingent includes sisters Maxime, Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe.
The new team figure skating event features 10 nations consisting of one woman, one man, one pairs team and one ice dance team. The competition will be cut to five countries after the short programs for each.
Skaters will earn points for their placement in each event. Ten points will be awarded for first place, then nine for second, etc. The team with most cumulative points at the end of the eight segments -- short program and free skate for each of the four disciplines -- will earn the gold.
Men's and pairs short programs will start Thursday night. Jeremy Abbott and the pairs team of Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir will start the competition for the United States.