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The Winter Olympics Are Here – What did you think of the opening ceremonies?

Being Canadian it’s a must that you do an Olympic themed blog, and the opening day of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver certainly provided plenty of things to comment on.

Firstly, the terrible accident that claimed the life of a Georgian slider has really cast a pall over the opening of the Olympics. We really forget just how dangerous many of these events are.

The opening ceremonies are normally something I overlook, but being in my home country, I wasn’t going to miss them. I wasn’t disappointed. Even for someone like myself, who was born elsewhere, and moved to Canada in my teens, It was impossible not to feel a real sense of pride and surge of patriotism.

I was tweeting during the opening ceremonies, and was surprised to see a lot of negativity at certain points … especially regarding lip-synching. Who cares. I was moved by our National Anthem, and care little if it was live – how could it be in that arena.

The athletes are always the big draw, and it is amazing to see countries at their first Olympics, or having just one athlete. That is the true spirit of the Olympics. I have to admit, though, I was disappointed to see several countries with pro hockey players as flag-bearers. I don’t think the pros should be here, and especially not taking such a role. The amateurs are what this is all about. The reception for the Georgian team was especially poignant, and of course, the Canadian athletes coming in was a real thrill.

The light show was phenomenal, especially the whales, fall leaves, breaking ice, and prairies. The polar bear was also amazing, with the sensitivity and acknowledgement of the local native communities reflecting very well on Canada. The music was also a highlight for me, and while KD Lang’s “Hallelujah” was stunning, the fiddling was a real showstopper. I won’t comment on Nelly Furtado’s dress as it might take the blog from a G to a PG rating, but in the words of a famous Canadian – Schwing! Not sure about the shoes though.

One of the most gratifying moments for me was seeing Terry Fox’s Mother helping carry the Olympic flag. Then to see Rick Hansen carrying the torch in – these are after all the Olympics & Paralympics.

After KD, things sort of went downhill though. Speeches are always tough to fit in to a big event like this, and were made tougher with the acknowledgement of the luge accident. I was really confused with the Patti LaBelle impersonator too, and why she was screeching a poem? It would have been fun to see KD Lang wearing that dress!

Then we had the most awkward pause in Olympic history, while the hydraulics were being tweaked, and eventually abandoned, for the lighting of the flame. You have to feel sorry for the poor Canadian who didn’t get to light the torch.

Finally, seeing Gretzky carry a torch in the back of a car for 15 minutes, in torrential rain … thrilling. In fact, he had to carry three torches, as they don’t stay lit that long. Despite a bit of a damp squib of an ending, overall the ceremonies far exceeded my expectations, and I really enjoyed them. Let’s hope the games themselves are as interesting… and with Canadians everywhere craving our first gold on home soil, I’m sure they will be.

I’d be interested to hear how non-Canadians felt about the opening ceremonies, and your thoughts on the Olympics in general.

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