By: Arik Shams
The 2010 Winter Olympics, being held at Vancouver in February, promises to be a truly momentous event. This year’s theme, “With Glowing Hearts,” (taken from the Canadian national anthem) represents “the pride that results from outstanding achievement; be it an athlete’s performance of a lifetime or the valuable contribution of a dedicated volunteer,” according to John Furlong, CEO of the Vancouver Organizing Committee.
The Winter Olympics consist of 86 medal events in seven categories: Luge, Skiing, Skating, Ice Hockey, Biathlon, Bobsleigh and Curling.
Ninety-seven countries are participating, with Ghana, Bahamas, Gabon, Colombia, Pakistan, Peru, Serbia, Montenegro and the Cayman Islands debuting this year.
Some athletes to watch this year include five-time medalist short-rink skater Apolo Anton Ohno, snowboarding superstar Shaun White, skier Lindsey Vonn, luger Erin Hamlin, favored speed skater Shani Davis, and figure-skaters Evan Lysacek and Tanith Belbin to name a few. Team USA is going after the gold much more aggressively this year. After the last Winter Games at Torino in 2006, the U.S. walked out with nine gold medals and 25 total – the second highest number won that year. The most exciting events this time around for the U.S. will be figure-skating, speed skating and hockey. The hockey team is much younger than last time, and hopes to improve significantly from their previous appearance when they finished in eighth place. Some other events to watch out for include the face-off between long-time figure-skating rivals Kim Yu-Na of South Korea and Mao Asada of Japan.
The games start on February 12, with the opening ceremony starting at 6 p.m, and will be aired consistently on WDAM-TV until they end on February 28. A complete and detailed schedule can be found on nbcolympics.com/tv-listings.