Figure skating takes center stage on day 1 of Sochi Olympics

The Sochi Olympics begin Thursday on WNWO.

Amid fears for safety and ahead of Friday's opening ceremony, competition kicked off in Sochi Thursday for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

American Hannah Kearney is the defending Olympic gold medal winner and one of the favorites to take the title in Sochi. The top 20 women will advance to Saturdayâ??s final.


beginning at 9 a.m.

Figure skating, the marquee event of the first day of competition, features athletes in the men's and pairs short programs. For the first time in Olympic history, figure skaters of all four disciplines â?? men, ladies, pair and ice dancing â?? will compete in a team format, representing the ten countries with the strongest all-around squads. WATCH LIVE beginning at 10:30 a.m.

CATCH all the action from Sochi at WNWO's OlympicZone

Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country is ready to show the world an impressive show during these Olympic games. Friday night's opening ceremony will showcase Russia to the world and the many nations in attendance.

Organizers in Sochi say a record number 65 heads of state and government and international organizations will attend the Sochi games, the first Winter Games held in Russia. Among the world leaders not planning to attend: President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron and German President Joachim Gauck.

READ: What to watch on Day 1 of Sochi Olympics


WATCH WNWO's Will Kunkel and Tori Carmen at 7:30 p.m. every night - except Sunday - prior to NBC's Olympics primetime coverage for the O-Zone. You'll be the first to see exclusive coverage on local athletes and preview the night's events from Sochi.