The Sochi Winter Olympics 2014 officially starts today. The British team are expected to bring home their biggest ever haul of medals, while the Russian regime is aiming to beat its own record for homophobic intolerance. But what if you can’t get to a TV to watch the glorious sporting accomplishments? No problem: just stream it live to your iPad or iPhone.

iPad Air review

Google's Winter Olympics Doodle

How to watch the Winter Olympics on iPhone or iPad: Stream live on iPlayer

The BBC is covering the Winter Olympics; most of the events will be on BBC 2 with a few of the bigger ones on BBC 1. You can stream BBC channels live on your iPad or iPhone using the iPlayer app. Start up iPlayer, then go to the On Now page, which shows which channels are currently live and what they’re showing.

We wouldn’t advise streaming live coverage if you’re on 3G, since the data can rack up. Last summer we tried streaming Wimbledon over 3G, and a minute’s tennis used 4MB of data - that’s potentially 120MB of data over half an hour. Quality, too, will vary depending on your 3G coverage.

How to watch the Winter Olympics on an iPad

How to watch the Winter Olympics on iPhone or iPad: Catch up on events you’ve missed

The iPlayer app is also your friend if you missed something and want to catch up. (Make sure to avoid Twitter if you follow anyone who’s likely to spill the results!)

Open the iPlayer app and scroll through the Most Popular options, or search for ‘olympics’ to find the available highlights programmes. You’ll be able to watch event coverage for a week after it’s been shown.

Best free iPhone apps

How to watch the Winter Olympics on iPhone or iPad: Download events to watch later

Streaming Winter Olympics coverage live obviously requires an internet connection - preferably Wi-Fi - but you may not have time to watch everything you want to while within range. Instead, you can download a highlights package from iPlayer and watch it on the Tube later, or at another time when you haven’t got a reliable connection.

Find the programme you want to download, tap on it to bring up the full programme page, and then tap Download, below the main image. Now go to your Downloads page (it’s the fourth icon along in the bottom row) and you’ll see it downloading in the Queue section. When it’s finished it will appear in the Downloaded page.

Remember that High Quality Downloads take up more space and are slower to download, but if you want to see every drop of sweat flying off the luge they’re the way forward.

How to watch the Winter Olympics on iPhone or iPad: The BBC Sport app

Instead of using iPlayer, which covers all of the BBC’s programming, you could try the specialist BBC Sport app for iPad and iPhone. This is also free.

Open the app, and scroll down to the Winter Olympics section, where you’ll see a range of news stories. Click on a story you’re interested in and the app will show you the accompanying highlights video.

How to watch the Winter Olympics on an iPad

How to watch the Winter Olympics on iPhone or iPad: Radio

Finally, if you want to listen to Olympics coverage discreetly, there's always the option of radio. Radio 5 Live are at Sochi, and will be covering all the big events.

You can listen to BBC Radio 5 Live using the iPlayer app, under the Radio section, but there is also a (free) iPlayer Radio app and with various other options by rival app makers. We're big fans of TuneIn Radio Pro, but there is a charge for that app. (There's a free version of TuneIn Radio too, however.)

How to watch the Winter Olympics on an iPad

Read next:

How to watch whatever you want on the Apple TV

Best TV guide apps: UK TV guides for iPad & iPhone

How to watch Ashes cricket on your iPad or iPhone

How to watch World Cup football on iPad or iPhone

How to watch the Rugby World Cup 2015 live on iPad or iPhone

How to watch Game of Thrones season 5 on an iPad or iPhone in the UK

How to watch Wimbledon tennis on your iPad or iPhone

Read our feature on using iOS apps to enjoy films, TV shows, home movies and web video on your iPad or iPhone