Lindsey Vonn missing the Olympics is like Kobe Bryant sitting out the All-Star Game.
There's still plenty to see.
How will aging Russian hero Yevgeny Plushenko fare in figure skating? Will Shani Davis catch history, and what's going on with Canada's women's hockey team?
While there is a lot of focus on security at the Sochi Olympics, here are some other things to think about with the Opening Ceremony on Friday.
1 Sochi is a resort city on the Black Sea with a population of about 350,000. Brutal dictator Joseph Stalin vacationed there in the 1930s. The town provided numerous hospitals for Soviet troops in World War II until German advancement turned it into part of the front line in February 1943.
2 The 98 events at this year's Games are 12 more than Vancouver.
3 The Dutch band Kleintje Pils, which has entertained and amused crowds at speedskating events at numerous Olympics, is considering occasionally playing the Village People's "YMCA" as a show of support for gay rights. And for an encore, how about Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl"?
4 Gay former Olympians Caitlin Cahow (hockey) and Brian Boitano (figure skating) are among the official U.S. delegation to the Games; an obvious move by President Obama to show disapproval for Russia's anti-gay policies. Tennis legend and activist Billie Jean King had to decline at the last minute to be with her ill mother. A senior member of Italy's Olympic Committee called the contingent "absurd."
5 Nerves are so frayed about a possible terrorist attack that the U.S. Navy will position ships in the Black Sea in case a mass evacuation is necessary. Sure does make those German shepherds that Philly police brought out during the 1980 World Series seem puny.
6 Sochi is on the same latitude line as Toronto. With an average February temperature of 43 degrees, it is the warmest site for a Winter Games.
7 NBC and its derivatives will have 539 hours of coverage with NBCSN (230-plus) and NBC proper (185) carrying the majority.
8 Nancy Kerrigan will be an analyst for the figure-skating coverage. Tonya Harding, hopefully, will be nowhere to be found.
9 South Korea's Kim Yu-Na has a good chance to join Norway's Sonja Henie (1928-36) and East Germany's Katarina Witt (1984-88) as only the third woman to win consecutive Olympic figure-skating gold medals.
10 The outrageous outfits worn by Norway's curling team are zany/painful, but they also belie the team's ability. The Norwegians took silver in Vancouver and should again be among the biggest challengers for Canada, winners of the last two Olympic golds.
11 Bode Miller is the headliner, but Ted Ligety is the U.S. skier to watch. He's especially salty after coming up medal-less in Vancouver 4 years ago. "He fouls me harder than anybody else on the basketball court," Miller said of Ligety. "He tries to take me out in soccer. He's just very competitive."
12 Ligety last year became the first man to win three golds at a world championship since Jean-Claude Killy and recently became the first to win four consecutive World Cup giant slalom races since Alberto Tomba in 1991. Even those of us who don't know a Super-G from a Circle-K know the legendary names of Killy and Tomba.
13 American superstar skier Lindsey Vonn will miss the Games with a knee injury, but Lindsey Van is a pioneer in women's ski jumping, which, after years of legal wrangling, finally will make its Olympic debut. It has been a men's event since 1924.
14 The favorite in the women's ski jump is Japan's Sara Takanashi, 17, a star on the World Cup circuit despite standing just 4 feet, 11 inches.
15 Another debut sport is relay luge, which sounds like a four-car pileup on Route 422 waiting to happen. Participating teams send down three sleds one female, one male and a doubles team. At the end of each run, the sledder must hit a pad that opens a gate for their subsequent teammate. It's not nearly as easy as it sounds, and the competition is susceptible to all sorts of mayhem.