A daily news update of all things Sochi for Feb. 7. Here's Jamie Anderson in Thursday's slopestyle snowboarding qualifications. (Getty Images/AFP/Javier Soriano)
Thursday’s Today Show was jam packed with U.S. skiers and snowboarders, with NBC firing up its primetime programming the night before Friday’s Opening Ceremony in Sochi. The 2014 Olympic Winter Games have arrived! Women's moguls qualifications and men's and women’s slopestyle snowboarding qualifications were a tremendous success for U.S. athletes with more action packed days to follow.
Thursday was an outstanding opening day for downhill training at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center.
Bode Miller won the men's training run, then praised the course for being a true Olympic challenge.
Julia Mancuso was the fastest American in the women's training run with a third place finish, but was one of many athletes to miss a gate.
Athletes reported some of the best racing snow conditions they've experienced all season.
USSA Alpine Technical Advisor Tommy Johnston is working closely with the organizing committee to prepare the snow.
A second downhill training run is scheduled Friday for both men and women; women will race first followed by men.
Men's starters: Bode Miller, Travis Ganong, Marco Sullivan, Steven Nyman, Erik Fisher, Jared Goldberg.
QUOTES Bode Miller It's a challenging hill. There's no question. It's high speed, really big turns, challenging terrain, really big swinging turns into big jumps, and a lot of different challenging sections, things that challenge a much more technical skier, things that challenge a better glider.
-Read NBC's story on Bode's training session here.
Julia Mancuso The snow’s excellent. There are definitely a couple bumps on the course which makes it difficult and the two pitches are tough. I was happy with how I skied today. I definitely have room to clean up some sections, but so far I think it’s on the right track.
-Read Ski Racing Magazine's article on Julia's performance here.
Hannah Kearney took the top spot in Thursday’s qualification and Eliza Outtrim took fourth, automatically advancing them to the semi-final round of 20 athletes on Saturday.
Kearney is looking for her second Olympic gold medal in moguls, which would make her the only freestyle athlete to ever win back-to-back gold.
Heather McPhie laid down a solid run and ended the day in 14th.
McPhie will have to ski an extra run on Saturday and earn a top 10 spot to advance to the semi-final.
Both Pat Deneen and Brad Wilson were on site cheering on the U.S. women.
It was a beautiful night and the course was lit under the lights and the setting sun.
Team USA freestyle moguls skier Heidi Kloser, fourth ranked in the world, is being treated for a right knee injury after crashing on the top jump during moguls qualifications training Thursday at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. She was transported from the hill to the nearby poly clinic in the athlete village for evaluation.
QUOTES Hannah Kearney It didn't feel like the Olympics until I was standing at the top watching Eliza at the gate and I took a second and looked at our Olympic bibs. Then it hit me that we're here. I always ski better after I get the first one out of the way.
Athletes enjoyed a much needed day off from training Thursday. Many spent time hanging out in the Athlete Village lounge and café while others enjoyed a long morning of sleeping in.
Keri Herman and Devin Logan kicked off the day with a fun and quirky appearance on Good Morning America, taped for later use during the Olympics. Devin and Keri had fun eating borscht, pickled fish sandwiches, and tea with host Matt Lauer and then sang and danced with a traditional Russian dance troupe. Above all, they left a great impression of themselves and their sport and how much fun they like to have on and off the slopes.
Maggie Voisin, Julia Krass, Gus Kenworthy, and Joss Christensen visited with Matt Lauer on the set of the Today show, which was filmed outside on the Romanov Bridge in Rosa Khutor. They let Matt know that they are a hard working group of young adults who love their sport and country.
Of all the sights to see in the mountains, one spot all of the athletes were happy to see was McDonalds.
Halfpipe athletes have landed in Sochi and are already taking advantage of what the Olympics have to offer. After a team dinner in the Athlete Village cafeteria, the team headed out to watch figure skating. Annalisa Drew, a former competitive figure skater was the resident expert and commentator for the group.
Freeskiing athletes are looking forward to marching as a team and nation, proudly sporting the fun parade outfits provided by Ralph Lauren in addition to the competition uniforms from The North Face.
Halfpipe athletes will kickoff Opening Ceremony day with a press conference in the Main Press Center at 10:00 a.m.
The inaugural slopestyle snowboarding competition kicked off on Thursday with Jamie Anderson and Karly Shorr qualifying directly into finals.
The U.S. men and Canadian heavy-hitter Mark McMorris finished outside of the top four in their heats, setting them up for a cutthroat semifinal round where only the top four will advance to the 12-person final.
All U.S. Slopestyle Competitors are looking forward to Opening Ceremonies tomorrow as well as semi-finals and finals this weekend.
The men’s semifinal and final are set for Saturday Feb. 8 with the women’s competitions scheduled for Sunday Feb. 9.
A full day-by-day Sochi competition schedule can be found here.
Sochi Olympics TV Viewers Guide For the next 18 days, the world will be captivated by stories of athletic success. American ski and snowboarding fans can watch it all live on NBC Olympics.com along with extensive network broadcast coverage. Comprehensive coverage of the Olympic Winter Games from Sochi kicks off on Thursday, Feb. 6 at 8:00 p.m. ET with preliminary rounds of slopestyle snowboarding and freestyle moguls skiing. Television coverage of the Sochi Games will feature an unprecedented 18 consecutive NBC primetime shows, beginning Thursday, Feb. 6, continuing with Friday night's Opening Ceremony and concluding Sunday, Feb. 23 with the Closing Ceremony.
Throughout the Games, every phase of competition from all 15 sports on the Sochi program, including each medal-winning performance in all 98 events, will be streamed LIVE on NBCOlympics.com and via the NBC Sports Live Extra mobile app (iPhone/iPad | Android).
LIVE IN THE USA - UPCOMING OLYMPIC SCHEDULE (times EST) Friday, Feb. 7
8:30 p.m. - Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony
For full details of NBCSN's Sochi Olympics coverage, please click here.