With 2,500 athletes from more than 80 nations expected to take part over the next 17 days, Canada is promising to put on a magnificent show. The opening ceremony tonight will culminate in the lighting of the Olympic flame - 12,000 torchbearers have helped carry the Olympic torch from Athens to Vancouver over the past four months.
Tonight the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver will be broadcast on BBC Two. From tomorrow, the live TV coverage will begin hosted by Sue Barker, Hazel Irvine and Clare Balding. Vancouver is eight hours behind GMT, so live TV coverage will start most evenings at around 7pm and continue through to the early morning UK time. There will also be a catch up show every lunchtime on BBC Two featuring the best of the overnight action.
Clare Balding will be based mainly at Whistler, the venue for alpine and nordic events two hours north of Vancouver itself, and the site of furious snow stockpiling of late.
Olympic gold medallist Sir Matthew Pinsent and Lizzie Greenwood Hughes will be reporting on TV and also writing blogs and appearing on the website. Matthew is actually carried the Olympic torch last Friday a week before the start of the games.
Also on TV - Graham Bell and Matt Chilton along with Kerrin Lee-Gartner (Canada's 1992 Women's Downhill gold medallist) will guide the viewers through the alpine skiing events; Ed Leigh will be on hand for snowboarding and freestyle skiing; Paul Dickenson and Colin Bryce will follow Team GB's hopefuls in the sliding events, while Paul will also cover ski jumping; Hugh Porter and Wilf O'Reilly will be rink-side for speed skating; British skating icon Robin Cousins (celebrating 30 years since his gold medal on the ice at Lake Placid) covers figure skating with Sue; Steve Cram and Rhona Martin, like Matthew Pinsent an Olympic gold medallist, will cover curling; Rob Walker will cover biathlon, nordic combined and cross country; and Bob Ballard and Brent Pope follow the ice hockey.
There will also be masses of information on the BBC website, including biography pages for every athlete competing at the Games, and guides to each sport, just in case you need some background information.
You can catch the coverage of the opening ceremony on BBC Two very early tomorrow morning between 1.45am and 4.45am.
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