Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010

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Photo from Tim in Sydney via Flickr.

Photo from Tim in Sydney via Flickr.

The 21st Winter Olympics, will be held in Vacouver, British Columbia, Canada, and the opening ceremony is being aired tonight February 12, 2010 starting at 6:00pm PST on NBC.

This year’s opening ceremony is to be the first indoor opening ceremony in Olympic history; it will be held inside the BC Place Stadium, better known as “the marshmallow” by local Canadians, along with an enthusiastic audience of 60,600 and an anticipated 3 billion to tune in on the television.

The opening ceremony is estimated to cost $38 million, making it the costliest Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Olympic history and the second costliest Olympic opening ceremony after the spectacular exhibition by Beijing in the 2008 Summer Olympics. The opening ceremony will be different from Beijing’s extravagant exposition, being less of a spectacle and more of an emotional production focusing on Canadian themes in order to capture and glorify the spirit and personality of their country, with a possible performance by Canada’s world famous Cirque de Soleil. We can also look forward to performances by Canadian stars Bryan Adams, Sarah McLachlan, k.d. lang and Nelly Furtado at the opening ceremony.

Wayne Gretzky, former hockey star whose father was also a torchbearer, was Canada’s chosen representative to light the torch up until late Thursday night. Reports are saying that Betty Fox may potentially be the one lighting the cauldron at the end of tonight. Betty Fox is mother of cancer activist Terry Fox who raised millions of dollars for research before his death in 1981, and she preserves his memory and foundation till this day.

Photo from Michael Francis McCarthy via Flickr.

Photo from Michael Francis McCarthy via Flickr.

Approximately 2,500 athletes from 82 different countries will be participating in the Winter Games. Serbia, Cayman Islands, Pakistan, Ghana, Peru, Colombia, and Montenegro are some of the new players in this year’s games. 216 athletes will be rocking the United States’ stars and stripes in the 15 different categories of sports. Ice sports such as bob-sleighing, ice hockey, and figure skating will be held in Vancouver and Richmond. Nordic events biathlon, cross country skiing, ski jumping, and nordic combined will be held in Callaghan Valley, and all alpine skiing events will be held on Whistler Mountain in Creekside.

Make sure to keep an eye out for American speedskater Shani Davis, who qualified and attempted to participate in all five individual events. Men’s Finnish ice hockey team will play hard to achieve their fifth gold medal with a strong team made up of 23 highly-skilled players including veterans Teemu Selanne and Jere Lehtinen. The figure skating competition will be a hot one to watch as well, as we gather to see Japan’s former world champion Mao Asada battle it out with South Korea’s Kim Yu-Na for the gold medal, both only 19 years old. Let’s see if this year’s Winter Olympics will create moments as memorable as Dan Jansen’s heartbreaking fall in the 1998 Winter Games, which led to an inspirational victory and record with his gold-medal win in 2006.

Men’s ski jumping will commence Friday’s festivities, and Saturday’s full day line-up includes men’s alpine downhill, women’s biathlon, women’s hockey preliminary round, and men’s 1500-meter short track speed skating. The full Winter Olympics 2010 schedule can be found here.

The Winter Olympics are scheduled to take place from February 12-28, 2010.

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