There’s no doubt that international tensions will be a big part of the story, but no one wants the Olympic Games to be dominated by politics and saber rattling. So let’s get this over with now. From Vox: Here’s what war with North Korea would look like. “A full-blown war with North Korea wouldn’t be as bad as you think. It would be much, much worse.”

+ “The IOC’s premise is that while it absolutely must punish Russia, it shouldn’t punish Russian athletes who can’t be proven to have cheated. To anyone who didn’t receive a share of a Ural Mountains nickel mine as a kickback, this is understood to mean the IOC isn’t really punishing Russia.” Dan Wetzel explains how Russia was banned from the Winter Olympics, but still showed up in full force.

+ “US and senior North Korean officials say they have no intention of meeting each other at the Winter Olympics – even though vice-president Mike Pence and Kim Jong-un’s younger sister will be seated just meters apart at the opening ceremony.” (I don’t see any issue. Pence has a knack for avoiding the reality right in front of him.)

+ Pence responded to news that Adam Rippon (a gay US figure skater) didn’t want to meet with him in South Korea with a tweet: “I want you to know we are FOR YOU. Don’t let fake news distract you. I am proud of you and ALL OF OUR GREAT athletes.” (OK, Adam. What are you gonna believe? The Veep’s accurately covered and well-established record or the all caps?)

+ A little early controversy on the US team — about the coin toss that decided who gets to carry the flag during the opening ceremonies.

+ Jia Tolentino: “Cheerleading, by nature, is a form of propaganda—I can say this, I think, having cheered in Texas for six years. But the North Korean cheerleading squad, which will perform at the Winter Olympics opening ceremonies, this Friday, in Pyeongchang, South Korea, occupies its own stratosphere of weaponized comeliness and discipline.”

+ The opening ceremonies aren’t until Friday. But the games are already underway. Things got started when the US curling team beat Russia. (What can I say? You meddle with our elections and try to destabilize our democracy, and we bring the brooms, baby!)