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Sochi Olympic events to start a day before opening ceremony

LONDON (AP) -- Competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, will begin a day before the opening ceremony - a first for a winter games.

IOC sports director Christophe Dubi tells The Associated Press that qualifying events in figure skating, freestyle skiing and snowboarding will take place on Feb. 6, 2014. The opening ceremony is on Feb. 7 and the games will run to Feb. 23.

Dubi says the early qualifying will be in the men's and pairs short program in figure skating, women's moguls in freestyle and men's snowboard slopestyle.

That means the actual period of the games will run over 18 days rather than the standard 17.

Sochi will feature 98 medal events, 12 more than the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

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