Tonight are the opening ceremonies for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. With Russia’s anti-gay stance leading up to the games, it’s been difficult to muster any enthusiasm. At the same time, you are aware that all across the globe, young athletes have been preparing with countless hours of dedication and practice for their given events. And so far things don’t seem to be going so well in Russia. Here are a few news items from just yesterday…
* American authorities are warning airlines with flights to Russia for the Olympic Games to be on the lookout for bombs in toothpaste containers or other similar cosmetic tubes. Citing unnamed government officials, CNN and ABC News report that the warning was issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to both domestic and foreign airlines. The warning says intelligence reports suggest such containers could be used to store the ingredients for a bomb to be assembled aboard an aircraft. Authorities cautioned that they haven’t identified any specific threat to the U.S. though.
* There’s no Bud for you, Sochi … TMZ Sports has learned Budweiser has decided to NOT throw its traditional Winter Olympics party this year and it’s all because the company is not comfortable with the situation in Russia. In the past, Budweiser was known for hosting huge parties — like the Club Bud bashes during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and at the 2006 Olympics in Turin. An email from a Budweiser rep says the company does not want its U.S.-based representatives in Sochi … and the message is clear — the terrorist threat is simply looming too large.
* Openly gay tennis legend Billie Jean King won’t be making the trek to Sochi as part of the U.S. Winter Olympic delegation as previously planned. She is bowing out due to concerns over her mother’s health. The White House announced that former U.S. hockey player Caitlin Cahow, originally scheduled for the closing ceremony, will take King’s place.
* Shaun White has pulled out of the Olympic slopestyle contest Wednesday, about 24 hours after being banged up on a course that riders are criticizing as unduly harsh. White issued a statement, saying that after much deliberation, he has decided to forgo the new snowboarding event and concentrate on halfpipe, where he will try for his third straight gold medal next week. “With the practice runs I have taken, even after course modifications and watching fellow athletes get hurt, the potential risk of injury is a bit too much for me to gamble my other Olympics goals on.” (via TMZ)