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Olympic Daily Preview - Sunday, February 9th

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Eight medals will be awarded Sunday at the Sochi Olympics.

Bode Miller, skiing in his fifth Olympics for the U.S. at 36 years old, has looked like the one to beat during practice runs for the men's downhill race, which will take place on Sunday at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center.

Miller owns five Olympic medals, including a bronze in downhill four years ago at the Vancouver Games. He was fifth in the event in 2006 and will be one of four Americans to ski the course. Four Canadians will also be in the field, as will reigning Olympic champion Didier Defago of Switzerland.

Russia leads Canada and the United States in the new team figure skating event, which will conclude Sunday after three more skates for the five remaining teams: men's and women's free skates and ice dancing.

Ashley Wagner, a controversial pick for the U.S. team, helped the American move from a tie for fifth place into third place on Saturday with a fourth- place skate in the women's short program. Meryl Davis and Charlie White had a first-place finish in the short dance and Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir were fourth in the pairs free program. Reigning Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir finished second in the short dance to help Canada remain in second place with 41 points -- six behind Russia. The U.S. has 34 points -- three points ahead of Italy and four ahead of Japan for the final medal position.

American snowboarder Jamie Anderson had the second-best qualifying score on Thursday in the women's Olympic slopestyle competition and moved directly into the final, which is Sunday.

Austria's Anna Gasser, riding in the same heat as Anderson, posted a top score and Anderson was second on her only run of the day. The event, making its Olympic debut, features riders doing tricks over rails and jumps down a snow- covered trail. American Sage Kotsenburg was a surprise winner of the men's event on Saturday. American Karly Shorr also qualified for the women's final, as did reigning Olympic halfpipe champion Torah Bright of Australia and Spencer O'Brien of Canada. Every other athlete who competed Thursday will have a chance to make the final through the semifinals, including Americans Jessika Jenson and Ty Walker and Canadian Jenna Blasman. Anderson won back-to-back gold medals at the Winter X Games in 2012-13 but finished second last month to Norway's Silje Norendal.

Former gold medalist Thomas Morgenstern of Austria was one of 40 ski jumpers to move on in the men's normal hill competition, which will hand out medals on Sunday.

Morgenstern placed ninth in Saturday's qualification round with a score of 118.3. He is competing in Sochi less than a month after suffering head and lung injuries in a scary crash Jan. 10 during training for a World Cup event. Morgenstern will join fellow Austrians Thomas Diethart, Michael Hayboeck and Gregor Schlierenzauer in the final day of the event. Hayboeck posted the top score in Saturday's qualification round with a mark of 128.6. Switzerland's Simon Ammann pre-qualified and will be out to defend his gold from Vancouver. The U.S. will send three jumpers into Sunday with Anders Johnson, Peter Frenette and Nicholas Alexander making the cut. Canada's Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes and Dusty Korek also will compete for a medal after placing 21st and 28th on Saturday.

Anastasiya Kuzmina won Slovakia's first-ever Winter Olympics gold medal in the women's biathlon sprint four years ago and will be back to defend her title in the 7.5-kilometer event on Sunday. The U.S. has never won an Olympic medal in biathlon and has never finished better than 21st in this event. It will have four competitors on the course, as will Canada.

Norway's Petter Northug won four cross-country medals four years ago at the Vancouver Olympics but was 11th in what's now called the men's skiathlon, a 30-kilometer grind during which the athletes change skis and techniques halfway through the race. The best American finish ever in the event is 14th.

Germany's Felix Loch took the early lead in the men's luge singles, which will wrap up on Sunday. Loch, the defending gold medalist, posted the best time in the first two runs Saturday with two more to go. He has a lead of .294 seconds over Russia's Albert Demchenko. Italy's Armin Zoeggeler, who won gold at the 2002 and 2006 Olympics, is running third. Canada's Samuel Edney is in 10th place and Chris Mazdzer of the U.S. is 13th. Medals will be awarded to the luger with best total time after the completion of the third and fourth runs.

Also Sunday, Czech Martina Sablikova is the defending champion in the women's 3,000-meter speedskating event and there will be women's hockey games between Sweden and Japan, and Russia and Germany.