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Olympics: Snowboarders to launch Sochi gold rush

Published on Feb 8, 2014 7:31 AM

SOCHI, Russia (REUTERS) - Action in the Winter Olympics starts in earnest on Saturday with five gold medals up for grabs, opening with the new Games discipline of snowboard slopestyle and concluding around midnight with the floodlit women's moguls.

Canadian Maxence Parrot is favourite to take the first gold of the Games in snowboard slopestyle after American Shaun White withdrew claiming the course was too dangerous.

Slopestyle, which has similarities to skateboarding, is one of the events introduced to help spread the Games' appeal to a younger television audience.

Dutch speedskater Sven Kramer, expected to become one of the faces of the Games, is favourite to retain his 5,000 metres title in what should be an atmospheric afternoon in the indoor Adler Arena.

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