Subject Material

XXI Winter Olympic Games, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Published: 12.02.2010
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Vancouver MascotsVancouver Mascots Connect 2 Canada
Opphavsmann: Connect 2 Canada
IlanaaqIlanaaq is a symbol which means friend in the native Inuktitut language. Ironically enough to some it also looks like a hockey goalie!
Opphavsmann: TheTrident

Is it that time already? Winter Olympic fever is upon us once again. Yes, four years have passed since we last time sat idly in front of our televisions for 16 days straight. Along with the rest of the world we watched the Torino Winter Olympics unfold in 2006. Norway captured 19 medals and is looking to match that again this year at the 21st Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Many of us still have vivid memories of the Lillehammer Winter Olympics in 1994, a time of pure fun, great sportsmanship and patriotism just bursting at the seams. Canadians are about to experience the same national pride as more than 80 nations, 5500+ athletes and 10000+ media representatives descend on Vancouver. This is Canada’s third time as host, beating out S. Korea and Austria, for this year’s winter games. They were first host to the summer games in Montreal (1976) and later the winter games in Calgary (1988).  

Opening ceremonies begin on Friday, February 12 and within 16 days approximately 86 events will be held at various venues. This year’s opening ceremonies mark a first as they will be held indoors. Canada will be marching in with a team of close to 200 athletes. The only other country to have as many participants is the USA. Norway will be represented with close to 100 athletes with favorites like Bjørndalen, Svindal and Northug. While these many be household names to most of us, Canadians have their own names to boast – legends like Wayne Gretskey and Bobbi Orr and today’s talents; Scott Niedermeyer and Chris Prolonger. Who might they be? Well, while Norwegians are known to be born on skis, Canadians are born in skates! Hockey is their national sport and they are looking for gold on their home turf. Hockey rinks are found in every corner of this cold and winter loving country, so it is only natural that most of the best hockey players in the world come from Canada.

Speaking of Canadian winters, the talk of Vancouver has been more about the mild weather rather than who will walk away with the most gold medals. Vancouver has been experiencing an unusually mild February making this possibly the warmest Olympics in history. The average temperature has been +4.8 Celsius, which has caused great concern for snowboarding and freestyle skiing events being held at Cypress Mountain. Snow is being airlifted by helicopter in hopes of avoiding cancellation of any events. Mild weather and rain are predicted, not helping the situation any.

Vancouver’s Olympic logo is a statue made of 5 colored stone figures, each representing a different region of the country. It is a symbol, based on the Inuit Inukshuk people of Canada and is called Ilanaaq, which means friend in the native Inuktitut language. Ironically enough to some it also looks like a hockey goalie! Grab your seats and let the show begin as Vancouver, and all of Canada, have their arms open wide to friends of the world.

Official site:

Olympic Quiz

How much do you remember?


Discuss the rather provocative statements below. Decide who you agree with and conduct a class poll to see which statement gathers the most support.


I hate the Olympics. Is it sensible to spend all this money on sports - after all those who us who watch TV get fatter, competitions are marred by doping and in terms of waste, pollution an energy consumption it is totally unethical. Besides, why does it matter who beats who by a split second. Is that important?  LET'S SEE HOW FAST WE CAN EAT: NOW!!!
They're jerks. . .


I can't wait till it starts. All this great entertainment! I feel a rush of pride when our nation’s flag is hoisted to the top. Nothing beats a great, friendly competition between top athletes. The Olympic Games makes the world a friendlier, happier place. What can be better in these times of earthquakes and environmental doom! We need the excitement and the joy of great sports.

Roman Numerals

XXI Winter Olympic Games. . .
Why don't we write 21st? There’s no good reason why we should not write 21st - other than that we just don’t do it. Have a go at Roman numerals. Can you write down how old you are?

Search for Roman numerals on the internet if you want to find out more. Here are the first ten numbers (1 - 10): I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X


  1. Find out who is behind the Olympic Games. How does this organization differ from other organizations?
  2. What is the origin of the Olympic Games in ancient times? Find out how and where the Olympic Games were first held.(Easy: primaryhistory/ancient_greeks/the_olympic_games)
  3. Find an Olympic athlete that you admire and give a brief presentation of him or her in class.