5 Things to Know Before the Olympics Begin
Like, for instance, they have already begun
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2014 7:59 AM CST
In this Feb. 1, 2014, file photo, the roof of the Bolshoy Ice Dome is lit in red as the Olympic cauldron stands at right in the Olympic Park before the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.   (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

(Newser) – Sochi's opening ceremony kicks off at 11am ET tomorrow, and if you just can't wait for the Olympic news to begin, well, here you go.

  • Competition has already started: Some 32 hours before the opening ceremony, to be exact. The AP reports that early starts are required because Sochi's slate holds a dozen men's and women's medal events added since the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Everything happening in advance of tomorrow are just qualifying rounds, though. Among them: men's snowboard slopestyle and women's moguls.

  • Security: Everyone is worried about it, and Russia says everyone should chill. USA Today reports that Russian deputy PM Dmitry Kozak today said, "The level of threat in Sochi is no worse than in New York, Washington, or Boston. Based on information we received from our intelligence services, there's no reason to believe Sochi is under more threat than any city on the planet." He would not, however, comment specifically on...
  • ...Toothpaste bombs: Homeland Security officials yesterday said airlines flying to Russia ahead of the Olympics ought to pay special attention to passengers' toothpaste tubes because they could contain explosives to make a bomb. DHS officials aren't aware of any specific plot in the works, though.
  • Dangerous course? Shaun White made waves when he pulled out of aforementioned new Olympic event slopestyle yesterday, saying that "the potential risk of injury is a bit too much for me to gamble my other Olympics goals on." The Washington Post reports that it's only added to the questions of the extreme nature of the course, which killed the gold medal dreams of Norway's Torstein Horgmo on Monday when he broke his collarbone in a training session. After a number of athletes clamored for changes, the tops and bottoms of a few of the jumps were "smoothed out."
  • A record: These Winter Olympics will see more heads of state and government and international organizations than any prior Winter Games, and three times the number of leaders who showed up in Vancouver, reports the AP. Of course, big names like Barack Obama, Francois Hollande, and David Cameron won't be there.
And then there's the gripes about the accommodations and the food...