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More chances for medals ahead

Rounding up the remaining events you won't want to miss from Sochi

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Canada has kicked off these Winter Olympics with a big medal haul, but there are plenty of opportunities for athletes wearing the Maple Leaf to turn in podium performances over the remaining days of the Games.

The Whistler-based halfpipe ski team will make its Olympic debut, Whistler ski cross racers Marielle Thompson and Dave Duncan will hope to follow their World Cup wins with success in Sochi, and the Canadian alpine team will keep trying to end its long-running Olympic medal drought as the Games wind down.

Here's a look at key events coming up in the back half of the Sochi schedule:

Thursday, Feb. 13

Luge team relay; men's ski slopestyle; men's 20 km individual biathlon; women's 10 km classic cross-country

If you've picked up your paper hot off the press you might still catch the Canadian luge relay team trying for a medal in this new event. Alex Beaulieu-Marchand is the lone Canadian in the slopestyle field, but there will be no shortage of skiers well known to Whistler in the event, also a new Olympic discipline.

Friday, Feb. 14

Men's super combined; women's skeleton; women's 15 km individual biathlon; men's 15 km classic cross-country

The final women's skeleton run brought heartbreak for Canada in 2010 when Mellisa Hollingsworth fell out of a medal position and down to fifth place. This Valentine's Day, she and Sarah Reid will look to make Canadian hearts swell when taking their third and fourth runs at the Sanki Sliding Center.

Whistler's Morgan Pridy will likely make his Olympic debut in the men's combined race, looking to build off his first-ever World Cup points in the discipline, earned last month at Kitzb├╝hel, Austria. He's skied well in training runs for the event so far this week.

Saturday, Feb. 15

Men's skeleton; women's super-G; women's 4 x 5 km cross-country relay

The men's skeleton gold looks like it's headed somewhere other than Canada this year for the first time since 2002, but a medal isn't impossible. Canadians Eric Neilson and John Fairbairn will push for the podium on Feb. 15, their last day of competition.

Two of Marie-Michele Gagnon's nine top-10 finishes on the World Cup alpine circuit this winter have come in super-G, but her best chances for a medal come later in the week, particularly as this will be her first race after getting hurt in the super combined this week.

Sunday, Feb. 16

Men's super-G; women's snowboard cross; men's biathlon 15 km mass start; men's 4 x 10 km cross-country relay

Another big day for local athletes — Maëlle Ricker, currently nursing a broken wrist, will try to defend her Olympic gold from 2010 in snowboard cross while competing in her fourth Winter Games. She and Dominique Maltais provided a one-two Canadian finish at the world championships last winter.

Pridy joins Canadian Cowboys Manuel Osborne-Paradis, Erik Guay and Jan Hudec in the super-G, which is likely the best chance the men's team has left for a medal in Sochi. Don't forget: Guay has posted top-five super-G finishes at each of the last two Olympics. Is this the year he punches up into the top three?

Monday, Feb. 17

Two-man bobsleigh; men's snowboard cross; men's aerials; women's biathlon 12.5 km mass start

Canada had three pilots ranked top-10 on the World Cup this year — Justin Kripps, Lyndon Rush and Chris Spring. All three of them drove their way onto the podium at least once this World Cup season.

Squamish's Rob Fagan and other Canadians Chris Robanske, Kevin Hill and Jake Holden will take to the snowboard cross course, hoping to recapture a medal after Mike Robertson's silver in 2010. Travis Gerrits, a world championship silver medallist and a World Cup winner this year, is Canada's lone aerials competitor.

Tuesday, Feb. 18

Men's halfpipe ski; women's giant slalom

The Whistler-based halfpipe team will shoot for multiple medals, though they'll be up against tough French and American squads who are capable of doing the same. Mike Riddle, Justin Dorey, Matt Margetts and Noah Bowman all have the ability to lay down a gold-medal run in the pipe for Canada.

Marie-Michele Gagnon leads the women's alpine team into the Feb. 18 GS, but fellow Canadians Erin Mielzynski and Marie-Pier Prefontaine could turn in strong showings in this race as well.

Wednesday, Feb. 19

Women's bobsleigh; men's giant slalom; men's and women's parallel giant slalom; biathlon mixed relay; cross-country team sprints

Can they find the Olympic magic together again? Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse will attempt to tame the Sochi track and reclaim the bobsleigh gold they captured as a duo in Whistler in 2010. Humphries has been the undisputed top pilot since the last Winter Games and claimed another World Cup title this season.

Jasey-Jay Anderson is back to defend his gold medal in the men's PGS, while fellow Canadian rider Caroline Calvé can challenge for a medal on the women's side.

Thursday, Feb. 20

Men's ski cross; women's halfpipe ski

Whistler's Dave Duncan has been on fire this World Cup ski cross season and he'll look to roll the momentum over to Sochi alongside Canadians Brady Leman and former world champ Chris Del Bosco, who was fourth in 2010 and on the podium for the Olympic test event in Russia last winter. All three are serious medal contenders.

Roz Groenewoud showed that her knees are doing just fine when she reached the Winter X Games podium last month, just a few weeks removed from bilateral knee surgery.

Considered one of the favourites ever since halfpipe skiing was announced as a new Olympic event, a medal will be in sight for the Squamish resident. Alberta's Keltie Hansen could be a dark horse pick for a podium finish.

Friday, Feb. 21

Women's ski cross; women's slalom

Marielle Thompson arrives in Sochi in the middle of a dominant season of ski cross racing. The Whistler product has two wins and four podium finishes this season, and also skied to a silver medal at last year's Olympic test run. Former world champ Kelsey Serwa and fellow B.C. skier Georgia Simmerling give Canada a very deep lineup for this event.

The Canadian alpine team will once again turn to Marie-Michele Gagnon in what's been her strongest discipline. She goes into Sochi ranked fourth on the World Cup tour in women's slalom thanks to three top-five results this winter.

Saturday, Feb. 22

Men's slalom; men's and women's parallel slalom; women's biathlon relay; women's 30 km cross-country mass start

Whistler's Mike Janyk has a long wait for his race, but will be Canada's best hope for a strong slalom finish while making his third trip to the Olympics. Janyk has struggled for much of this season but has posted top-20 finishes in each of his other two appearances at the Winter Games.

Sunday, Feb. 23

Four-man bobsleigh; men's 50 km cross-country mass start

Why, yes, there is more than just a men's gold medal hockey game on the day of the closing ceremonies. Lyndon Rush drove Canada 1 to bronze in four-man competition at the Whistler Sliding Centre in 2010. The crews piloted by Chris Spring and Justin Kripps can factor into the medal discussion as well.

Finally, the long-distance cross-country race that runs on the last day of every Winter Olympics is a tradition that you won't want to miss.

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