2010 Winter Olympics
Get more out of Vancouver with our guide to watching the Winter Games in Prague
Vancouver hosts the Winter Olympics Friday, February 12 through Sunday, February 28.
The Czech Republic will be one of 82 nations competing in the Western Canadian city, with a team of 92 sportsmen and sportswomen.
Czech Olympic Committee (?eský olympijský výbor; ?OV) Chairman Milan Jirásek has said that equaling the four medals the Czech team won in Turin in 2006 would be a great result.
Vancouver is nine hours behind Prague. (When it's 9am in Vancouver, it's 6pm in Prague; when it's 5pm in Vancouver, it's 2am the following day in Prague.)
CZECH ATHLETES TO WATCH
Men's Ice Hockey Team
With the Czech national football team missing out on the World Cup, the Olympic hockey tournament will be the country's most closely watched sporting event this year, and any improvement on 2006's bronze would be a very big deal indeed.
Coached by Slavia Praha's Vladimír R?ži?ka, who captained his country to an unexpected gold in 1996, the Czech roster is drawn almost exclusively from players in North America's National Hockey League (NHL) and the Russian-based Kontinental Hockey League (KHL):
Ond?ej Pavelec (Atlanta Thrashers, NHL)
Jakub Št?pánek (Vítkovice)
Tomáš Vokoun (Florida Panthers, NHL).
Miroslav Bla?ák (Salavat Yulaev, KHL)
Jan Hejda (Columbus Bluejackets, NHL)
Tomáš Kaberle (Toronto Maple Leafs, NHL)
Filip Kuba (Ottawa Senators, NHL)
Pavel Kubina (Atlanta Thrashers, NHL)
Zbyn?k Michálek (Phoenix Coyotes, NHL)
Roman Polák (St. Louis Blues, NHL)
Marek Židlický (Minnesota Wild, NHL)
Petr ?ajánek (SKA Saint Petersburg, KHL)
Roman ?ervenka (Slavia Praha)
Patrik Eliáš (New Jersey Devils, NHL)
Martin Erat (Nashville Predators, NHL)
Tomáš Fleischmann (Washington Capitals, NHL)
Martin Havlát (Minnesota Wild, NHL)
Jaromír Jágr (Avangard Omsk, KHL)
David Krej?í (Boston Bruins, NHL)
Milan Michálek (Ottawa Senators, NHL)
Tomáš Plekanec (Montreal Canadiens, NHL)
Tomáš Rolinek (Metallurg Magnitogorsk, KHL)
Josef Vaší?ek (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, KHL)
Speed Skating: Ladies' 5,000 m + Ladies' 3,000 m
The 22-year-old is the current world champion and world record-holder at 5,000 m and is the Czech Republic's most realistic hope of gold in Vancouver. Her brother, Milan Sáblík, is also a talented speed skater.
Cross-Country Skiing: Men's 50 km, Mass Start Classic + Men's 15 km Free
Now 32, the Czech Republic's biggest skiing star remains a strong medal contender. After winning the recent Tour de Ski series for the second time, Bauer will be looking to improve on the silver medal he won in Turin four years ago.
Freestyle Skiing: Ski Cross
The International Olympic Committee has included ski cross -- skiing's equivalent of motocross -- in the Winter Games for the first time, giving 35-year-old Kraus, who's won the last two world championships, a great chance of a medal.
Alpine Skiing: Ladies' Slalom
Záhrobská, who turns 25 the day before the Games begins, also competes in the Giant Slalom, the Super G and the Super Combined but it's in the shorter event that she's won medals at each of the last three world championships.
Czech President Václav Klaus won't attend the Vancouver Olympics in protest at Canada's decision, in July of last year, to reintroduce visas for Czech citizens. Prime Minister Jan Fischer will attend the Games, however.
Video on YouTube
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