Opening ceremony

Friday, February 9, 8:00 pm: The two-hour extravaganza that launches the Winter Games at the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium will be memorable for at least one reason. Athletes from North and South Korea will march as one, wearing the same uniforms and under the unification flag -- a pale blue silhouette of the Korean peninula on a white background. A total of 22 North Korean competitors are in Pyeongchang for the Games, most of them joining a unified Korean women's ice-hockey squad. The North's decision to compete in the Games, taking place just 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of the heavily fortified border that divides the Koreas, is seen as a diplomatic coup, following months of surging tensions.

Alpine skiing

Sunday, Feb 11, 11.00 am: The men's downhill is the blue riband event of alpine skiing. Racers will average 105 kilometres (65 miles) per hour down the Jeongseon Alpine Centre slope, pushing their bodies and equipment to the limit. The race will be particularly poignant following the on-piste deaths of popular Frenchman David Poisson and German teenager Max Burkhart earlier this season. Norwegians Aksel Lund Svindal and Kjetil Jansrud will likely top bookmakers' odds on a slope said to favour the more technically able downhillers.


Sunday, February 11, 8:15 pm: Martin Fourcade will carry France's flag at the opening ceremony, but his competition starts two days later when he lines up for the men's sprint. France's most decorated winter Olympian, with four medals including two golds, will be battling for more honours during the Games and after a strong World Cup season is expected to be a top contender for the pursuit and individual titles which he claimed in Sochi in 2014. The 29-year-old will face his biggest rival in the shape of Norway's Johannes Thingnes Bo.

Alpine skiing

Monday, February 12, 10:15 am: When Mikaela Shiffrin rocks off the back of her skis to exit the start gate of the giant slalom at the Yongpyong Alpine Centre, she will harbour hopes of a rare multi-medal haul. The 22-year-old American already has 41 World Cup victories to her name, and won Olympic slalom gold in 2014 -- but she is looking for much more in Pyeongchang. The giant slalom is followed by her slalom title defence, the super-G, downhill, combined and team events. A good start in the giant slalom could see Shiffrin join the pantheon of alpine greats.


Monday, February 12, 1:30 pm: Born in Long Beach, California, American snowboarder Chloe Kim is poised to become one of the faces of the Pyeongchang Games when the 17-year-old whizzkid makes her Olympic bow. Kim's parents are from South Korea, and her grandmother still lives there, so she can expect vocal support from Korean fans as she looks to complete the formality of qualifying in the women's halfpipe. Such was Kim's prodigious talent that at 13, she could have challenged for gold at the 2014 Sochi Games, if not for the minimum age requirement of 15. Provided she keeps her nerve, she clearly has the game to capture.

Ski jumping

Monday, February 12, 9:50 pm: Haunted by the memory of her flop in Sochi four years ago, Japan's Sara Takanashi launches her bid for Olympic redemption in the women's normal hill. But despite being the most successful women's jumper of all time, Takanashi has suffered an alarming dip in form with rivals Maren Lundby and Katharina Althaus emerging as the gold medal favourites in Pyeongchang. A World Cup winless drought stretching back almost a year has done little to restore her brittle confidence, but if anyone can turn it around it is the mercurial 21-year-old. Takanashi, who will be Japan's flag-bearer, needs one more World Cup victory to set a new record total for men and women of 54.

Men's figure skating

Saturday, February 17, 10:00 am: All of Japan are praying that Yuzuru Hanyu has fully recovered from injury as he faces a spectacular men's figure skating showdown with Sochi 2014 silver medallist Patrick Chan, Spain's Javier Fernandez and America's big hope Nathan Chen at the Gangneung Ice Arena. Few details have been released about Hanyu's condition, but the slender superstar is made of stern stuff. A survivor of a magnitude 9.0 earthquake triggering a deadly tsunami and nuclear disaster in 2011, he is now battling to recover from ankle ligament damage. If the "Ice Prince" is fully fit, few would bet against him to win back-to-back Olympic titles.

Men's ice hockey

Saturday, February 17, 9:00 pm: Even with the final eight days away, and with Russia formally banned from the Games over doping, emotions will still run high when the United States meet the Olympic Athletes from Russia in Group B of the men's ice hockey. The competition shapes as an opportunity for Russia, after the NHL opted not to release players for the Olympics, raising their hopes of a first gold since 1992. For the United States, memories will inevitably loom of the 'Miracle on Ice', when America stunned the Soviet Union at the Lake Placid Olympics in 1980.

Women's ice hockey

Thursday, February 22, 1:10 pm: It's the women's ice-hockey final and the crystal balls will shatter if four-time defending champion Canada and the United States, winner of the past four world championships, fail to meet up for another gold medal showdown. A lot hinges on their February 15 preliminary stage match-up, which should provide a few clues about the balance of power between two sides. The loser of that Group A tie could also face a much tougher route to the final, after missing out on an expected bye into the semi-finals by finishing in the top half of group.

Women's figure skating

Friday, February 23, 10:00 am: Not your average 15-year-old, Russian sensation Alina Zagitova has blazed a trail in her first senior season, and by early afternoon could very well be crowned women's champion. To do so she will have to beat, among others, another Russian teenager, her training partner and double world champion Evgenia Medvedeva, who is out for revenge after being eclipsed by Zagitova for the European title in Moscow in mid-January. Russia's Adelina Sotnikova, whose gold at Sochi 2014 was accompanied by controversy over the judging, has been ruled out because of injury.