We're now inside the 100-day mark until the start of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Every Olympics creates its own storylines as it goes, but here are 10 that you'll want to keep in mind going into the Games.
3. How will Russia's anti-gay propaganda laws shape this Olympics? Gay rights organizations worldwide have condemned Russia's harsh laws banning gay "propaganda," and many prominent athletes have joined in the protests. The issue has layered every element of the Games with potential meaning, as with the German Olympic team's rainbow-themed uniforms pictured above.Shaun White, conquering hero. He's shorn most of his trademark red mane, but Shaun White remains one of the best-known winter Olympians. The two-time medalist will seek to win gold for the third straight Olympics.
5. Lolo Jones, two-season Olympian?: Lolo Jones is seeking to make the U.S. bobsled team, which would make her one of the few athletes to compete in both the Summer and Winter Games. Can she do it? That'll be an interesting story heading into the Games.
6. How will the Games reflect on President Putin? Russian President Vladimir Putin has spared absolutely no expense in an effort to make the Sochi Games a crowning moment in the nation's history. Combine a bill that's in the range of $50 billion (making this by far the most expensive Games in history) with concerns about the treatment of locals, as well as the gay-rights issue, and Putin is walking a tightrope of world opinion.
9. Who will be the breakout names? Every Olympics introduces a new crop of athletes into the American consciousness — think MacKayla Maroney and the rest of the Fierce Five from London's gymnastics competition, for instance. A good bet this year? Figure skater Gracie Gold. She's being coached by Frank Carroll, who also mentored Michelle Kwan and Evan Lysacek. Plus, she's got the right surname.
10. New events in play. While no entirely new sports have been added to the Sochi games, there are several new events, including team figure skating, women's ski jumping, team luge relay and others.
The Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony will take place on Feb. 7, 2014. Bundle up – maybe – and mark your calendars now.
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