Yes, Lindsey Vonn is out with an injury. Yes, Bob Costas is pompous. And yes, Vladimir Putin is a tyrant. But none of that will stop the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia next month from being a highly entertaining spectacle. Here are three big reasons why.

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Lindsey Vonn is pulling out of the Olympics due to a knee injury. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Skiing superstar Lindsey Vonn's announcement that she will miss competing in the Olympics next month does more than just prove she is human.

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Mikaela Shiffrin now has six World Cup victories at age 18. Photo from Wikipedia Commons.

Mikaela Shiffrin powered through goggle-sticking sleet, massive ruts and a ridiculously turny top section in Bormio, Italy to win her record-tying sixth World Cup slalom race at the age of 18.

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Lucy McLean of Hood River won the girls varsity with a time of 31.53.

More than 340 high school competitors from Metro Portland and the Gorge opened the racing season on Mount Hood by ripping through the gates in blustery conditions on the Magic Mile Saturday for the 2014 Christine Cato Memorial Race.

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Jay Pollock of Schnee Vogel tucks to the finish in a PACRAT race held last spring.

Opening weekend for Mount Hood youth and recreational racers has been pushed back indefinitely due to lack of snow, but the high school season will open on Saturday with a race on the Magic Mile.

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The top American racer in men's World Cup slalom races so far in 2013-14 has not been Ted Ligety or Bode Miller, but rather David Chodounsky, who spent part of the summer of 2013 coaching on Mount Hood and living in Government Camp.

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Bode in 2006. He is close to regaining top form. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Ted the Shred Ligety and 36-year-old Bode Miller ruled last weekend's Birds of Prey giant slalom race in Beaver Creek with the first 1-2 World Cup finish for American racers since 2005.

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Colton Viner of Glencoe High. Photo by Hank Bosak.

High school alpine racers for Metro, Three Rivers and Mt. Hood League teams have seven races scheduled for 2013-14 on Mount Hood.

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Ted the Shred is at it again. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Ted the Shred Ligety won his third consecutive World Cup season opener in Soelden, Austria Sunday.

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Bode Miller won gold, silver and bronze in Vancouver in 2010. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Lindsey Vonn will not be competing in the season-opening World Cup race this weekend in Soelden, Austria, but Bode Miller will return to the gates.

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