This is it. After years of work, billions of dollars and tons of blood, sweat, and tears on the part of both organizers and athletes, the 2010 Winter Olympics officially begin this evening in Vancouver! The Opening Ceremony is being held indoors - a first for the Winter games - at BC Place, and will begin at 6 p.m. PST. Certain aspects of the ceremony are still be kept under wraps, including who will light the Olympic cauldron; rampant speculation has put forth names like Canadian hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, although NBC.com is reporting that only three people know the identity of the final torch-bearer. How's that for suspense?
With a budget of $40 million dollars (split between the Opening and Closing ceremonies), the Opening Ceremony will be viewed by a crowd of 55,000 people in BC Place, as well as an estimated three billion television viewers. Superbowl XLIV, eat your heart out! The theme of tonight's festivities is "To Inspire the World," and will feature the games mascots, Miga (a sea bear), Quatchi (a mythical sasquatch), and Sumi (an animal spirit), as well as athletes representing countries from around the globe.
After tonight's big coming out party, the games begin! The first snowboard event is Men's Snowboard Cross, which will be held on Monday, February 15th. Stay tuned throughout the games for Olympic updates!