News

5 things to know about the Winter Olympics

5 things to know about the Winter Olympics

OLYMPIC GAMES: The 2014 Winter Games open Friday, Feb. 7. Photo: Associated Press

Here’s five things you’ll want to know about the 2014 Winter Olympics.

SECURITY
It’s foremost on many minds as Olympic competition begins and thousands stream into the Black Sea resort city. The Russian government says it’s doing all it can to ensure safety, and on Thursday a deputy prime minister went even further. “We can guarantee the safety of the people as well as any other government hosting a mass event,” said Dmitry Kozak.

TOOTHPASTE
It’s the latest item to fall under scrutiny after the U.S. Homeland Security Department warned airlines flying to Russia that terrorists might try to smuggle explosives on board hidden in toothpaste tubes. The threat was passed onto airlines that have direct flights to Russia, including some that originate in the United States, a law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity told The Associated Press.

SNOWBOARDING
It begins, but without marquee name Shaun White, the world’s most famous snowboarder. He pulled out of slopestyle, a new Olympic event, to concentrate on the halfpipe, where he’ll have a chance to win his third straight title next week. After practice slopestyle runs, White said: “The potential risk of injury is a bit too much for me to gamble my other Olympics goals on.”

WORLD LEADERS
It’s a record, says the Sochi Olympics’ chief organizer: Sixty-five heads of state and government and international organizations will be attending Russia’s first Winter Games. Dmitry Chernyshenko says that’s more than any other Winter Olympics and three times the number of leaders who attended the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Here’s who you won’t see, though: President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron and German President Joachim Gauck.

OPENING APPROACHES
Friday night’s opening ceremony will showcase Russia to the world on its own terms — a storyline intended to impress the many nations in attendance and allow President Vladimir Putin to put forth the message he’s been trumpeting for months now: that his country has successfully combined its storied history with modern innovation and is ready for anything. The intended audience is as much Russians as it is the rest of the world.

Recent Headlines

in Music

10 of the most memorable MTV Video Music Awards moments

mileycyrusvma

Since debuting in 1984, the MTV Video Music Awards have prided themselves on being a stage for all things hip - and often - controversial.

in Music

This week’s top alternative tracks

beck

LISTEN: This week's top alternative songs, according to the weekly Billboard chart.

in Viral Videos

This is one way to get a tan

10-overlay22

It's summer and the beaches are packed - so this guy got some private sunbathing time while sky high.

in Music

Pink Floyd’s flying pig set for auction

pigs

Executives at Air Artists, the firm behind the floating porky, are selling off the blow-up pig as part of a rock memorabilia sale, which will also feature items created for the Rolling Stones, Iron Maiden and AC/DC.

in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: Taylor Swift & Lisa Kudrow bring back ‘Smelly Cat’ from ‘Friends’

11-overlay6

From Central Perk to the Staples Center, Phoebe Buffay has hit the big time.