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Early start Thursday for Sochi Olympics Events

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2014 Winter Olympics: What to Watch for

SOCHI, Russia (AP) -- 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 Thursday 10 a.m. (0600 GMT) at X-Treme Park in the mountains above Sochi.

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. (1400 GMT).

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 7.30 p.m. (1530 GMT) at the Iceberg Skating Palace.

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

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Olympic Security in Sochi
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Early start Thursday for Sochi Olympics Events
Security guard stands in front of a banner with the Olympic Rings at the Olympic Park in the Adler district of Sochi on February 2, 2014. Sochi will host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games from February 7 to February 23. AFP PHOTO / POOL / Alexander Demianchuk (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER DEMIANCHUK/AFP/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 02: A CCTV camera monitors activity inside the Olympic Park ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on February 2, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 04: Volunteers walk through security ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Olympic Park on February 4, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 04: Security services ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Olympic Park on February 4, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
A Russian security officer guards the Alpine Center in the Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort near Sochi onsFebruary 4, 2014. The opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympic Winter will take place on February 7, 2014. AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)
Plain-clothes policemen patrol the Rosa Khutor Alpine center in the mountain cluster on February 2, 2014 prior to the start of 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Russian security members patrol by the olympic cauldron and medals plaza in the seaside cluster prior to the start of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on February 2, 2014 in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER NEMENOV (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
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