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Last Updated: Friday February 12 2010 08:13 GMT

Countdown to 2010 Winter Olympics

Someone skating during a practice session before the Winter Olympics start in Vancouver, Canada

Sport fans are turning their attention to Canada for the start of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Qualifying is due to start in the ski jump competition on Friday, before the opening ceremony kicks off during the early hours of Saturday, UK time.

More than 2,500 athletes will compete for 86 medals during the 16-day Games.

But a lack of snow has been causing huge problems for organisers who've had to bring in extra snow from elsewhere to help cover some of the slopes.

Shelley Rudman who competes in the skeleton event
Shelley Rudman will carry the flag for Team GB during the opening ceremony

Team GB doesn't have a brilliant track record at the Winter Olympics, winning just six medals over the past four Games.

But this year there are strong hopes of British success in the bobsleigh, skeleton and snowboarding events.

Team GB spokesman Andy Hunt said: "We're keen to mark the beginning of a new era for winter sports in Britain.

"It is extraordinary to have the number of athletes in the team that we do.

"We haven't set a specific medal target - our real target is for every athlete to achieve their personal best."