Olympics begin with an extravaganza


4,500 athletes and performers at opening ceremony


Put away those munchies. The Vancouver Olympics Opening Ceremony (CTV, TSN, APTN, OLN, Sportsnet, 7 p.m.; NBC, 7:30 p.m.) is meant to be a celebration of athletic achievement and grace under pressure - even if Canada's contribution to lean cuisine does include poutine, maple syrup, sugar pie, butter tarts and Canadian bacon.

The details of the Vancouver Winter Olympic Opening Ceremony are a closely guarded secret at this point, not unlike the Games' cost, which won't be revealed until the 17-day party is over.

The Vancouver Opening Ceremony will reportedly feature some 4,500 dancers, athletes and performers. Expected attendees of note include Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, one of the few people to perform the actual moon walk, U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden - President Barack Obama being preoccupied with weightier matters - and movie star, humanitarian and international goodwill ambassador George Clooney.

The Olympic torch arrived in Vancouver yesterday, after journeying more than 45,000 kilometres across the great white north, through rain, snow, sleet and sub-zero temperatures. Montreal's Bombardier Inc. designed the Olympic torch to be weatherproof, which is just as well.

Because while the Opening Ceremonies itself is indoors, the weatherman predicts it will be raining cats and dogs outside. Surprise! Rain in Vancouver, in mid-February? As Jay Leno is fond of saying, why, you could knock me over with a feather.

Enjoy the show.

- Before Sam Raimi scaled the heights of quality TV drama with the likes of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, he was making Spider-Man movies. In Spider-Man 2 (Global, ABC, 8 p.m.), from 2004, Spidey (Tobey Maguire) takes on Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina), a baddie who practically oozes evil from his many metallic tentacles. How can you resist?

- Or you can spend a nice, quiet evening with calm, mild-mannered chef Gordon Ramsay. In tonight's Kitchen Nightmares (Fox, 9 p.m.), Chef Ramsay applies his gentle touch to Fiesta Sunrise, a family-run Mexican eatery in West Nyack, N.Y.

- Brave man, that Clark Kent. In tonight's Smallville (CW, 8 p.m.), Clark (Tom Welling) hangs out at a comics convention, hoping to find an enchanted comic book and praying to heck that nobody recognizes him.


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