Salt Lake City Winter Olympics begin on Friday
With just two days to go now until the opening ceremony of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, Radio Prague's Ian Willoughby has prepared this special preview of what Czech sports fans can expect at the games.
By the way today is Ales Valenta's 29th birthday.
Valenta came fourth in the last Winter Olympics and has shown good form in recent months. That said, he's sure to be under a lot less pressure than the Czech ice hockey team. Not only did the Czechs win the gold at the Nagano olympics, they've also gotten in the habit of winning the World Championships in recent years. Anything less than another gold would surely be a disappointment to a Czech nation used to victory and celebrating on Prague's Old Town Square.
The Czech team for the games is the second biggest in Czech sports history with 78 members - the country will take part in all disciplines with the exception of curling and snowboarding.
For those of you who don't know a lot about winter sports a few disciplines may need a little explaining. They include... biathlon - a combination of two very different sports - cross-country skiing and shooting nordic combined skiing - ski jumping and cross-country skiing luge - sledging on your back skeleton - sledging on your front, head first moguls - skiing down a 27-degree slope over large uniform bumps with bumps up to 1.2 meters high. In moguls skiers perform moves in the air with names such as daffy, spread-eagle, twister, helicopter, iron cross and - my favourite - backscratcher.
The closing ceremony of the Salt Lake City games takes place on February 24 - let's hope by that time the Czech Republic has got at least a few medals in the bag.