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More of the Olympic Opening Ceremony

Saturday, February 13, 2010, 05:17 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

I’m back, having forgone the power nap to watch the “cultural” portion of the Vancouver Opening Ceremony. I enjoyed it very much.

11:17 p.m. The head of VANOC, John Furlong, is now addressing the athletes, also invoking Nodar Kumaritashvili… Now, a reference to “the longest torch relay in Olympic history”… Lots of Canadian pride…

11:26 p.m. IOC head Jacques Rogge delivers his thanks to Canadian and provincial officials and many others, including “thousands of volunteers”… Now he’s speaking French, which I can’t help you with… What exactly is “Governor General of Canada?” I don’t know, but she just declared the Games open…

11:32 p.m. Oh. My. God. k.d. lang is performing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” I’m in tears, and there is only one other person in the world who understands why. I feel very alone right now. Please excuse the personal aside.

11:39 p.m. Eight “Canadian legends, not necessarily athletes,” are carrying in the Olympic flag: Terry Fox’s mother Betty Fox, actor Donald Sutherland, race car driver Jacques Villeneuve, Olympic champion figure skater Barbara Ann Scott, singer Anne Murray, Senator Romeo Dallaire, Bobby Orr (woo-hoo!), and astronaut Julie Payette… The Olympic hymn, which I always thought was absolutely beautiful, is sung by an opera singer whose name escapes me but who has the biggest hair I have ever seen…

11:46 p.m. One minute of silence in memory of Nodar Kumaritashvili. and the Canadian and Olympic flags are flying at half staff…

11:48 p.m. The Olympic oaths are taken on behalf of the athletes (in English) and the officials (in French)… NBC just took an abrupt and oddly-timed break, but I suspect they’re trying to cram in a commercial before the torch enters the stadium…

11:51 p.m. I’m thinking Wayne Gretzky will end up lighting the cauldron because he hasn’t been seen at all yet. Ma and I just agreed that the coolest flame lighting ever was the flaming arrow in Barcelona in 1992… Paralympian Rick Hansen brings the torch into the stadium. It’s mounted on the side of his wheelchair… He hands off to Olympic champion speed skater Catriona LeMay Doan… to NBA All-Star Steve Nash… to Olympic champion skier Nancy Greene… and there’s Gretzky. I was –>| |<– that close… Or maybe I was right after all, sort of, as it appears the last four of them will help light the cauldron via four structures that rise up from the floor to meet a similarly rising cauldron… There appears to be some mechanical difficulty preventing one of the four structures from operating. They are proceeding with the other three, an unfortunate but ultimately minor glitch in an otherwise flawless ceremony… Now Gretzky is leaving the stadium to light a cauldron outside that will be visible from around the city…

12:06 a.m. Why are we watching Joe Biden?…

12:09 a.m. Gretzky and the torch are in the back of a truck being driven through the streets of Vancouver, destination unknown…

12:14 a.m. He’s lighting a replica of the one inside the stadium, with all four towers functioning. That’s the one everyone will be able to see.

My work here is finished. Beginning Saturday morning, I will have daily (I hope) Olympic recaps. Good night, readers.

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