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The Den Mother Blogs the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony

Saturday, February 13, 2010, 03:30 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

Welcome to Vancouver, everyone. Actually, welcome to my parents’ family room, where I am watching the Opening Ceremony of the XXI Olympic Winter Games from Vancouver. Think of this post as a welcome to Vancouver via Shrewsbury. So, without further ado, I’m going to watch and comment as the spirit moves me.

9:00 p.m. The Opening Ceremony is dedicated to Nodar Kumaritashvili, the Georgian luger who died today in a training run.

9:11 p.m. Sorry, but that was the worst rendition of “O Canada” I have ever heard. With my own national anthem, I’m not a fan of singers adding a ton of extra notes that aren’t actually in the song, and the same holds here. And what was with the English parts being sung in half time? I’ll offer to our northern neighbors the same advice I offer to Americans singing “The Star Spangled Banner”: the song is just fine the way it was written. Anything you try to add to it just screws it up…

9:14 p.m. It’s a nice touch having the First Nations representatives welcoming everyone…

9:21 p.m. The Parade of Nations is my favorite part of every Olympic Opening Ceremony… As always, the Greeks enter first… Then there is the Algerian team, with its one athlete… NBC commentator Matt Lauer just mentioned, as Argentina came in, that a South American country has never won a Winter Olympic medal… Interesting that the Austrian women are wearing purple but the men are in blue…

9:27 p.m. The Bermuda team is wearing Bermuda shorts and are, no doubt, very happy the ceremony is indoors… Must every flag bearer wave the flag so severely? I remember when they just carried the flags… Ah, the Cayman Islands, that winter sports powerhouse… Someone just mentioned the black armbands some of the athletes are wearing in memory of Kumaritashvili… With the entrance of the team from China, I reminded my mother of when we attended the World Figure Skating Championship in 1981 and saw a Chinese pair skate. They were horrible. That was when China was just dipping its toe into figure skating. Now they’re contenders…

9:35 p.m. Funky pattern on the Finns’ jackets… The Georgian team, wearing black armbands and with a black ribbon adorning the flag, all look heartbroken. Everyone in the stadium is on their feet greeting them… Ghana? Ghana has a winter Olympic team?… I like the Brits’ outfits. Distinctive yet understated, very British… How ironic that Iceland has never won a Winter Olympic medal. You’d think that with all that ice… Very cool hats on the Indians… Hey, check out a woman carrying the Iranian flag. I didn’t see that coming…

9:46 p.m. I just learned that Israel’s only full sized ice rink is called the Canada Center… I’m devastated to hear that the Jamaican bobsled team didn’t make it this time… Some of the Japanese athletes decided to be friendly guests and are waving Canadian flags…

9:54 p.m. The Soviet Union has been gone for a while now, so why must every country that used to be part of the Soviet Union have to be identified by the commentators as “the former Soviet republic of [insert country name here]?”… Every four years, I find myself surprised by how many countries have very small teams. I don’t know why I always forget this is the case…

9:59 p.m. Another interesting factoid: Norway is the all-time winter Olympic medal winner… Pakistan, with one athlete, is competing in the winter Olympics for the first time… The Poles are waving little Canadian flags, too, though it’s easy to miss because their own flag is also red and white… Dad’s earlier question was just answered: 82 nations are here… Call me a brat, but I have to ask why no one is referring to “the former Soviet republic of Russia”…

10:08 p.m. Ma’s earlier question was just answered: Taiwan is known here in Olympic parlance as Chinese Taipei… Turkey’s flag bearer was the first woman to represent Turkey at the Winter Olympics, back in 2002…

10:11 p.m. Pardon me for just one second while I say: U!S!A!!! U!S!A!!! It’s nice to see my countrymen and countrywomen receive a warm welcome. And there’s Vice President Biden with his botoxed forehead…

10:14 p.m. By tradition, the host country enters last. Canada has never won a gold medal at a home Olympics (Montreal in 1976 or Calgary in 1988) and I’ve heard rumors that they’re thinking they might like to win the men’s hockey gold this year… If NBC’s annoying commentators say one more time that the Canadians have been “uncharacteristically” overt about wanting to win lots of medals, I’ll scream. Um, doesn’t every host country want that?

And that concludes the Parade of Nations. I’m exhausted but can’t go to bed until I see the raising of the Olympic flag and hear the Olympic anthem, which I absolutely love. Besides, I have gone on record as predicting that Nancy Greene will light the Olympic cauldron, and even though it’ll probably end up being that Gretzky guy, I still feel like I have to stick it out and see for myself.

I’ll be back then. In the meantime, I need a power nap.

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