Good As Gold: Let the 2010 Olympic Winter Games Begin!

It's a winter wonderland in Vancouver! Why all eyes are on the athletes skiing and skating for gold this year

Hundreds of athletes from more than 80 countries and countless sports fans have descended on Vancouver, British Columbia, for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. As we zoom full-speed ahead, here are the headlines making this 17-day gold rush one to watch.

Where's the snow?

As Murphy's Law would have it, the city of Vancouver has experienced its warmest January on record. Earlier this week, some worried the lack of white stuff would endanger all the snow events. At Cypress Mountain, home to the snowboarding and freestyle skiing races, helicopters and trucks have been hauling and dumping snow around the clock. And Olympic organizers have been forced to reduce athletes' practice times. However, at a news conference Monday, Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, wasn't about to indulge worrywarts: "There is no concern. And there is no Plan B." Now, that's confidence!

Lindsey Vonn, world's best female skier, is injured.

Vonn's huge potential to win Olympic medals for the U.S. -- she's favored to pick up five -- has drawn comparisons to Michael Phelps (and she's received nearly as much media attention, including sexy Sports Illustrated photos.So Vonn was already the talk of the games when she announced on Wednesday that she'd injured her right shin in training. "This is definitely one of the most painful injuries I've ever had," she said, adding that it was "possible" she'd be unable to compete. But as of yesterday, she was feeling good enough to ski, and she's benefited from some delays in the training schedule (due to poor snow conditions). Still, Vonn's shin is a major media focus as we head into the Games.

Bode Miller gears up for a comeback.

You remember this guy: Coming into 2006's Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, Miller was ski racing's reigning world champ. Favored to win five medals for the U.S., he was a rock star on the slopes and on numerous magazine covers. Only problem? Miller didn't win a thing. Even worse, throughout the Games, he was seen partying at Italian clubs late into the night. And with the press, he seemed oddly indifferent about winning. Four years later, he's back to redeem himself, planning to race in all five Alpine skiing events. Will he pull it off? His first opportunity is in this Saturday's Men's Downhill Alpine Skiing competition. If Miller wins, he could be back on top.

Apolo Ohno is poised to be the most-medaled U.S. Winter Olympian.

The goateed, 27-year-old Seattle native already has five medals from the last two Olympic Winter Games. Two more, and he'll break U.S. speed skater Bonnie Blair's record of six Olympic medals. Tomorrow, the 2007 Dancing With the Stars champ gets his first chance at 2010 gold during the men's 1500 meter race.

And the final torch-bearer is...

Canadians are still in suspense about who will light the Olympic flame in tonight's opening ceremony at Vancouver's BC Place Stadium (stars who carried the torch in Vancouver's final-stretch relay included Arnold Schwarzenegger and Canadian Sarah MacLachlan). The role is considered a high honor and will go to someone quintessentially Canadian. Many have put their money on hockey star Wayne Gretzky, the country's most celebrated athlete. But others speculate that since the cultural history of native, aboriginal Canadians will be highlighted throughout the evening, the honor will go to a native Canadian. 

To find out your local Olympic Games TV schedule, visit the official site of NBC's Winter Olympic Games. And if you're a fan of the snow events, visit Snow Menu for a map and timetable of the contests.

Plus: Lindsey Vonn and other Olympic Women to Watch
Plus: Sarah Schleper, Olympic Skier and Mom

Which Olympic event are you planning to watch this weekend? Chime in below!

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