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Vancouver Olympics 2010 Preview

Less than 18 months after Beijing capped its spectacular hosting of the summer Olympics, the XXI Winter Games will open in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Feb. 12.

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The victory ceremony podium for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, along with the medal and flower presenters and their costumes, are seen during a news conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010. The Winter Olympics begin Feb. 12.

AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward

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Less than 18 months after Beijing capped its spectacular hosting of the summer Olympics, the XXI Winter Games will open in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Feb. 12. And while Canada’s effort is unlikely to equal China’s in magnitude, the traditionally modest country is poised to make these Games, the third it has hosted, its most successful.

Here are some key trends to watch. For more on each individual sport, see our list of briefing pages below. Each page offers information about who to watch, when to watch, event details, history, graphics, photo galleries, videos, and links to more information.

Host Canada aims to win medal count

While Canada is one of the most populous snowy countries on earth, its athletes failed to win Olympic gold on home turf in the 1988 Winter Games. (It also hosted the 1976 Summer Games.)

Watch out this year. Since cooking up the $110 million “Own the Podium” program – a coordinated national push for Olympic success – Canada won a record 24 medals in the 2006 Games. That was a nearly 50 percent improvement over 2002.

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