by Ralph Routon
Finally, we (almost) don't have to talk and write about preparations and anticipation anymore. At 11 a.m. Mountain time, the 2010 Winter Olympics will begin.
Though the opening ceremonies won't be until tonight inside B.C. Place in downtown Vancouver, the ski jumpers start their qualifying for the "normal hill" event this morning at Whistler, continuing into the afternoon with the finals on Saturday.
But for everyone in the city of Vancouver, it's all about the show tonight. After all, Whistler is more than two hours away (imagine the drive from Colorado Springs to Breckenridge, but with many more twists and turns). The forecast is for fresh snow in Whistler today and Saturday, but Vancouver will continue to have highs close to 50, lows about 44 and rain at some point every day. You don't need that heavy winter coat or gloves in the city, but you have to carry an umbrella everywhere.
This might not happen in many places, but the Canadian organizers have "asked" (demanded might be a better word) that spectators be in their seats a full hour before the festivities begin. That will allow enough time to rehearse "audience participation" portions of the program. Nobody's complaining.