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    Olympic events underway at Sochi

    A cross country athlete skied by the Olympic Rings during a training session Thursday at the Laura Cross Country Skiing and Biathlon Centre in Rosa Khutor, Russia.
    ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images
    A cross country athlete skied by the Olympic Rings during a training session Thursday at the Laura Cross Country Skiing and Biathlon Centre in Rosa Khutor, Russia.

    SOCHI, Russia — Competition at the Sochi Olympics has begun, 32 hours before the opening ceremony.

    Early starts are needed because of 12 men’s and women’s medal events added since the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

    Men’s snowboard slopestyle qualifying runs — without American star Shaun White, who withdrew Wednesday — got underway at 10 a.m. Thursday 10 a.m. (1 a.m. Eastern time) at X-Treme Park in the mountains above Sochi.

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    Women’s qualifying runs were following in the afternoon, and women’s moguls qualifying was scheduled to start freestyle skiing events at 6 p.m. local time.

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    Men’s slopestyle and women’s moguls are among the first medals to be awarded Saturday.

    Down in Sochi, the new team figure skating competition begins at 7.30 p.m. local time at the Iceberg Skating Palace.

    The men’s short program is to be followed by the pairs.