Good morning, and happy Friday. Here are five of the top stories we are following this morning at NBC News:
1. Winter Olympics take world’s center stage
Almost 3,000 athletes from 88 countries have landed in Sochi, Russia, for the four-year splendor of sport and the human spirit, which kicks off with today’s opening ceremony. NBC will air the event from Fisht Olympic Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Read more in NEWS, and also watch live coverage from the games at NBC OLYMPICS.
NBC Olympics co-host Meredith Vieira sat down with production designer George Tsypin to talk about the hard work that goes behind putting together the opening ceremonies. Watch the video at NBC OLYMPICS.
2. U.S. suggests Russia snooped on American diplomat
The Russians are accused of leaking audio of top U.S. diplomat Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs, using an expletive about her E.U. colleagues. The audio, which comes just as Nuland arrived to the violence-marred Ukraine, was confidential but posted on YouTube by the Russian government, the White House said. Read more in NEWS.
3. Jay Leno gives emotional goodbye from 'Tonight Show'
There was laughter — and tears — when the late-night funnyman signed off Thursday night for the final time after 22 years hosting “The Tonight Show.” “It really is time to go and hand it off to the next guy,” the 63-year-old said amid a star-studded finale. He passes the torch on to Jimmy Fallon. Read more in POP CULTURE.
The White House made sure to give Leno his due.
4. Immigration reform stalls in Congress
House Speaker John Boehner has hit the pause button on a major immigration overhaul in the U.S., and the reasons range from a need for party solidarity among Republicans to a lack of trust with the Obama administration. Read more in POLITICS.
5. West gets brunt of new snowstorm as many in Northeast remain in dark
Oregon and northern California are getting pounded with snow Friday, leaving treacherous road conditions for commuters. Meanwhile, snow and ice storms this week that blasted their way across the Northeast has left nearly half a million people without power. Read more in NEWS.
… What’s trending today? Olympics edition
What a save! Luge athlete Shiva Keshavan, an Indian national racing under the Olympic flag, had a spill off of his sled during a training run. But the 31-year-old made an incredible recovery and regained control.