2010 Winter Games Begin
U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn may be out with injury
Lindsey Vonn is considered the greatest female American skier of all time—the Michael Phelps of the slopes—and expectations for her at the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada, the next two weeks are high. But as the Olympic flame is lit at Friday’s opening ceremonies, Vonn will be nursing a shin bruise that could affect her ability to compete.
"I'm sitting here today questioning whether I'll be even able to ski," Vonn said in a press conference on Wednesday when she first made the injury public. "It's hard to stay positive. A week ago I was feeling great, I was feeling healthy, I had no problems. And now I'm sitting here today questioning whether I'll be even able to ski."
The U.S. Olympic team numbers 216 for the 21st Olympic games in Vancouver. The team includes 123 men and 93 women.
"Our team goal is to bring home the gold medals," said hockey athlete Jenny Potter. Performing on the Olympic stage is like "being on top of the world," she told the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.
The U.S. team has a strong Olympic outlook this year. At the 2006 Winter Games in Torino, Italy, the U.S. team won 25 medals, more than ever before on foreign ice and snow. Many of those athletes are returning this year.
With Vonn nursing an injury, the next U.S. athlete to watch is Apolo Anton Ohno. He is competing in the fastest human-powered sport in the world: short track speed skating.
Ohno competed at the 2002 and 2006 Olympics. He became a sensation in 2002 and a major celebrity in 2006. Ohno currently boasts five Olympic medals, two of which are gold. He is not without competition, however. This year, teammate J.R. Celski, who won four medals at the 2009 World games, will be his biggest challenge on the ice.
A mix of young and old will take the track for speed skating, including Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick. Davis made his Olympic debut in Salt Lake in 2002. Since then Davis has established himself as the premiere middle-distance skater.
Hedrick made his debut in Torino in 2006, but took a leave from skating after that. He is now back on the ice and as fast as ever.
Despite the individual competition between the U.S. athletes, team spirit prevails.
"We all cheer for each other, and are there for each other," Potter said. "I think that’s what makes the U.S. stronger than most other countries."
From the opening ceremonies on Friday to the closing ceremonies on February 28, NBC will be broadcasting the games with more live events than ever before. This year, too, for the first time ever, competitions will be broadcast in high definition.
It all begins at 7:30 p.m. on Friday in both the Eastern and Pacific Time Zones. Check your local NBC affiliate listings for exact times in your region.
Also stay tuned to the Scholastic Kids Press Corps blog for in-depth coverage of the 2010 Olympics from Kid Reporter Daniel Wetter. Wetter will be reporting from Vancouver during most of the 16 days of competition.
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Daniel Wetter is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.