VANCOUVER — The 2010 Winter Olympics get underway today with the first indoor Opening Ceremonies in the event's 86-year history, and that is looking like a wise decision. It rained all day Thursday and more rain is forecast through Saturday — threatening the start of some of the ski events.
Despite a few unavoidable leaks on Twitter and Facebook, the extravaganza remains shrouded in mystery.
Pop stars Bryan Adams and Sarah McLachlan are expected to be in the show at 60,000-seat BC Place, but will Celine Dion join them? Will there, in fact, be two cauldrons—one indoors and one outside by the waterfront? Most importantly, will The Great One, hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, light the cauldron?
Word is the show will feature Aboriginal drummers and acrobats from the world-renowned Canadian Cirque du Soleil. It will cover themes ranging from Canada's wilderness to its passion for winter sports.
More than 2,500 athletes and 10,000 journalists have gathered in this beautiful-but-snowless city, and a television audience of 3 billion is expected to tune in over the course of the 15-day competition.
SKIER OK AFTER CRASH: Stacey Cook was released from a clinic with pain and stiffness but no major injuries hours after crashing during the opening women's Olympic downhill training run Thursday.
X-rays and a CT scan showed no damage, U.S. Olympic team chief medical officer Jim Moeller said.
Cook, a 25-year-old skier from Mammoth, Calif., had trouble landing a jump on the upper section of the course and shifted her weight backward. She slammed into the safety netting at full speed but managed to get up and stand under her own power.
She then sat down and was tended to by medical staff, before being flown by helicopter to the clinic for tests.
Cook, participating in her second Winter Games, was one of two racers who started training runs before the session was canceled because of thick fog and low visibility.
She wasn't immediately ruled out for Friday's training run.
"We'll make that decision in the morning. She's going to be sore, that's for sure. But she's fine. There's no major injury," U.S. Ski Team women's coach Jim Tracy said. "She smacked her head. She smacked everything. She's lucky she didn't blow her knee out."
After the session was canceled, the race jury took a look at the jump where Cook fell to see whether it was unsafe and should be made smaller.
"The other racer who came down, (Italy's Lucia) Recchia, had no problem there, and all the forerunners also came through fine, but the jury is considering shaving it down," women's race director Atle Skaardal said.
SLIDER KNOCKED UNCONSCIOUS: A female Romanian luger was knocked unconscious after slamming into several walls during an Olympic training run.
Violeta Stramaturaru was taken to an onsite medical facility Thursday. There was no immediate word on her condition.
Stramaturaru was strapped to a backboard while members of the Romanian team looked on. She was responsive and moving her arms when lifted onto the stretcher.
Her scary crash came moments after her sister, Raluca, had safely navigated the 16-turn track, the world's fastest sliding surface.