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Let the games begin!

vancouver_fireworks_600x196.jpgWalking through Vancouver on Friday evening after the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics is reminiscent of a city celebrating a Champions League triumph. There are groups of locals excitedly chanting for no apparent reason, and even the odd hug for complete strangers in the street.

The reason, of course, is pride; they're taking these Winter Games personally here. There's a big digital clock in one of the main squares which counted down every second of the seven years since Vancouver won the right to host the Olympics - and with very few exceptions, excitement has been rising steadily as the clock has ticked towards zero hour, and the start of the opening ceremony.

So it's been seven years in the making, and the city is all dolled up like a teenage girl on prom night. There's perhaps a little too much make-up here and there, but you can forgive Vancouver her delirious reaction to a successful evening - even if the ceremony was rather overshadowed by the tragic death of luger Nodar Kumaritashvili.

The Georgians will compete in memory of their team-mate, the Canadians want to "own the podium", while the British are hoping for their most successful Winter Olympics since the 1930s. So I'm here with Eleanor Oldroyd to report and commentate on all the highlights - as well as the inevitable lighter moments. Ellie's currently swanning around in the mountain village of Whistler, hoping for some snow.

Vancouver is eight hours behind the UK, so we'll have a daily roundup of all the overnight action from 6am on the Breakfast programme. It'll then be repeated on a loop from 7.30am on sports extra. And all the sports bulletins during Breakfast for the next fortnight will come live from Canada.

Britain's first medal could come as early as Tuesday, with Zoe Gillings in the snowboard cross. Watch out too for Shelley Rudman and the bob-skeleton team, in action from Thursday at the notorious Whistler Sliding Centre. Three medals is the target for Team GB, who also have high hopes in women's bobsleigh, curling, speed skating, and could even figure in the ice dancing.

Let the Games begin!

Vassos Alexander is a sports reporter at BBC Radio 5 live

  • There'll be a daily highlights catch-up from Vancouver repeated on a loop from 7.30am on sports extra.
  • Commentary from Vancouver is restricted to the UK, so international listeners may be unable to listen to 5 live at times during the Winter Olympics.
  • If you haven't watched Eleanor Oldroyd's bobsleigh run yet, you should.
  • Picture shows fireworks exploding at the end of the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics seen from the Vancouver Olympic Village on February 12, 2010. AFP/Getty Images.


  • Comment number 1.

    ha ha-This blog was a runaway success wasn't it !

    Complete waste of the license fee payers money sending Mr Alexander to Vancouver when it could have been done from the studio in London with reports from the tv presenters who were out there !

    Is Vassos going to be covering Glastonbury as well this year ? Go on why not, it's not your money you're spending-It's ours !


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