re-sized winter olympics 2010

The Winter Olympics are less than 2 weeks away…

… and 3 hopeful skiers from New Zealand have already arrived.

Jossi Wells, a freeskier who will be challenging the world’s best in the men’s skiing slopestyle; his brother Byron, who will be competing in the superpipe event, and Shelley Gotlieb, currently ranking 6th in the world in women’s snowboarding. She will be competing in the women’s snowboard slopestyle. All 3 skiers are Cardrona Alpine Resort team athletes from South Island, New Zealand.

Canada is gearing up for their winter games and the mood is almost carnival despite the freezing temperatures. Canadian powers-that-be are aiming to ensure that everyone in Canada benefits from them, including Canada’s original settlers – a people now called The First Nations.

With this in mind, over the next 16 days more than 300 First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth, aged 19 to 29, will experience the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be at Canada’s Games in person and showcase their culture and region through a range of activities and special events.  The games, after all, are being held in the traditional lands of the Lil’wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

The flame was lit in Olympia on 22nd October,2009 and traveled from Greece over the North Pole to Canada’s High Arctic and on to the West Coast and Vancouver. The relay started its long Canadian journey from the British Columbia capital of Victoria.

In Canada, the torch will travel approximately 45,000 kilometers over 106 days, making it the longest relay route within one country in Olympic history. The Olympic Torch will be carried by approximately 12,000 Canadians and has venerated one of them – Jack Poole (VANOCwebteam).

Jack Poole was a Canadian businessman and philanthropist. He was at the head of the Canadian bid committee, called VANOC, that was responsible for bringing the Winter Games to Canada. They are also responsible for everything since then – the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. Jack Poole died of pancreatic cancer on the 23rd October, just hours after the Olympic Flame was lit at Olympia.

The Olympic Torch is getting closer to its destination – today it is traveling from Fort St. John  to Prince Rupert, B.C.

Speed skater Clara Hughes, 37,  a five-time Olympic medalist, will carry the Canadian flag at the Opening Ceremony of the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games, the Canadian Olympic Committee said Friday. She is not only a speed skater but a Canadian cyclist too, which makes her one of the few athletes to medal at both the Summer and Winter Games of the Olympics. She is the second most decorated Canadian Olympian. The most decorated is also a speedskater – Cindy Klassen with six medals.

“This is without a doubt the greatest honour of my sporting life,” Hughes said. “Leading the Team into BC Place is something I look forward to because of the world class Canadian athletes beside me, and the inspiring stories behind each one of them.

“These Games will have a profound impact on every Canadian, fostering so many hopes and dreams. I remember being that young person and seeing the Games in Calgary – that was the beginning of my amazing journey that has brought me here today.”

Hughes is the sixth speedskater to be name flag-bearer, following Gordon Audley in 1952, Ralph Olin in 1964, Gaetan Boucher in 1984, Sylvie Daigle in 1992 and Catriona Le May Doan in 2002.

Canada's Clara Hughes crosses the finish line in World Cup trials at the Richmond Olympic Oval in October 2009.

Super G World Champion, Didier Cuche from Switzerland, is determined to be at the Games despite surgery on Saturday after fracturing his right thumb in a fall in Friday’s giant slalom at Kranjska Gora. “The Olympics are still on. We will see how the operation goes and how (the injury) can be protected,” said the super-G world champion. Apart from the thumb, he is superb form. Last week he produced a double downhill-super G triumph on the Streif at Kitzbuehel to take his season win tally to four and career total to 13.

He will definitely not want to miss the big one and certainly not for a broken thumb. He broke a rib 6 weeks ago in Val d’Isére and that didn’t slow him down much either.

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