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 Local

GPS Tracking Suggested For Accused Stalkers And Domestic Abusers

Terry Branstad 101113

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad says it's time to give judges the authority to order electronic surveillance of some of the men and women who are accused of stalking or domestic abuse in Iowa.

in Local

Iowa Home Sales Lower

for sale

Home sales in Iowa decreased last month by 9.2-percent compared to August 2013, according to a new report from the Iowa Association of Realtors.

in Local

Lt. Governor Decision May Take Weeks

Dave Heineman

Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman says it might take a couple of weeks before he names a new Lt. Governor to replace Lavon Heidemann, who resigned.

in Local

Courts Might Overturn Ballot Decision

gavel

A constitutional law professor doesn't believe the courts will allow a change to the Nebraska Republican gubernatorial ticket to stand.

in Local

Feeding South Dakota Seeks Grant

grocery shelf

Wal-Mart is offering $3 million in grants to Feeding America food banks across the country.