Olympics Notebook: Vancouver 2010

Sweden’s Queen of the Slopes revels in lack of attention

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OLYMPICS/All the pre-Olympic attention in women’s Alpine Skiing has been on American Lindsey Vonn, her form, her posing on the cover of Sports Illustrated, her shin injury, her cheesetherapy, her husband/coach/spokesman Thomas and her ever so hip social networking ability (yes, she tweets her facebook updates). It’s almost as though seven-times world champion Anja Paerson wasn’t here…..

Which suits the 28-year-old Swede just fine. The true Queen of the Slopes, the most successful active women’s skier on the circuit, Paerson doesn’t mind the lack of attention.

Despite her elevated status in the sport, only two non-Swedish journalists bothered to turn up to her pre-Olympics press conference. That was even more surprising given that, as well as being a multiple medal contender, Paerson, who has been on the World Cup tour for 12 years, also happens to be one of the smartest, most articulate athlete on the circuit and is frequently outspoken on issues of concern to her and her fellow skiers.

I was fortunate enough to witness a lot of Paerson’s successes in the mid noughties –- some key wins in her two overall World Cup titles in 2004 and 2005, the two golds in the world championships at Bormio in 2005 and her Olympic gold in slalom a year later at the Turin Games. In among those many highlights (she is the only woman to have won gold in every world championship event) there have been times when she has looked and sounded bored or frustrated with skiing. There has been the feeling that she needed to be angry to perform well.

Winter Games: Picture of the Day

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OLYMPICS-SPEEDSKATING/

Each day, Paul Barker chooses his favourite frame from the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Today was day one of comeptition … over to Paul:

“Reuters photographer Lyle Stafford caught Sven Kramer’s emotion perfectly after Kramer climbed into the stand to celebrate his 5,000 meter speed skating victory with his father and mother (top) and other supporters from the Netherlands.”

Vancouver podcast — day 1

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Kevin Fylan is joined by Steve Keating, Ossian Shine and Mary Milliken for a fireside chat on day one of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

We discuss the opening ceremony, and that extraordinary failure at the end, plus the state of Lindsey Vonn’s shin and the first gold medal at the Games.

Winter Olympics — day one

After the tragic death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, followed by an opeing ceremony that largely successful — apart from that Olympic sized fail towards the end — the Winter Olympics gets properly underway on Saturday.

There are five golds up for grabs now that the alpine skiing has been cancelled, with the first of them due to be decided at around 1115 local time (1415 ET and 1915 GMT).

Was Fortress of Solitude an Olympic fail?

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OLYMPICS-OPENING/

The bit we were all waiting for at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony veered from Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, to Harry Potter’s Leaky Cauldron and finished up with Wayne Gretzky as Running Man, which was appropriate enough, I suppose, considering Arnold Schwarzeneggar had been one of the torchbearers earlier in the day.

Sadly, it didn’t quite add up to a satisfying Hollywood ending.

The long, awkward silence waiting for the first cauldron to be lit in a team effort seemed to be because one of the four giant icicles from the Fortress failed to appear. At least, that was the view of many commentators. Within minutes of the ceremony ending there was already a long Twitter feed under the hashtag #olympicsfail.

Winter Games: Picture of the Day

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OLYMPICS-OPENING/

Welcome to our Picture of the Day feature from the just opened Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Each day of the Games a senior photo editors will choose a frame they particularly like from our team of photographers at the Olympics here in Vancouver, and up at Whistler and Cypress.

Georgian luger dies in horrific crash – update

OLYMPICS-LUGE/Georgian luge competitor Nodar Kumaritashvili has been killed after a horrifying crash in training for the Winter Olympics.

The 21-year-old’s sled left the track at the Whistler Sliding Centre at around 90mph, according to observers, and smashed into a course side structure.

Winter Olympics opening ceremony

Welcome to our live blog on a big day for Vancouver, as the city welcomes the world for the Winter Olympics. The opening ceremony doesn’t get started for another eight hours or so but we’ll be here all day to keep you posted on the torch relay through the city and all the excitement travelling with it.

Lindsey gets down with her digital Vonn-tourage

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FILM-BUZZ/Lindsey Vonn has re-connected with her huge online following — which I, for one, am determined to call her Digital Vonn-tourage — and put a brief dalliance with old media behind her.

Vonn, the 25-year-old Alpine skiing world champion and Face of the Games, turned to a major U.S. TV network and a traditional IOC press conference to break the news on Wednesday that she had a badly bruised shin that might keep her out of the Olympics.

Winter Olympics memories — You might as well jump

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VANCOUVER-OLYMPICS/What comes to mind when you think of the Winter Olympics of the past? Is it graceful ice skaters or the bruising hockey encounters? Is it the hip-swerving skill of the slalom or the knee-trembling speed of the downhill?

Our Olympic memories are reflections of the prisms through which we viewed the Games — in reality, the priorities of our national television stations.

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