The 21st Winter Olympics are now under way. It is my goal to do a daily recap of what is happening and some of the great stories to come out of the games.
The first day of the Olympics got started with a somber start. The death of Nodar Kumaritashvili, the Georgian Luger. I think it was a great touch that is fellow Georgian athletes still walked in the Opening Ceremonies in his memory with black scarves and black armbands.
The Opening Ceremonies itself left me with mixed emotions. There were some great highs for me, but also some parts that really left me questioning the games.
Throughout the whole Olympic experience, from the moment the Olympic bid went in, there has been a great focus on the Aboriginal people of Canada. Now I do understand that they are a part of our heritage, and they continue to be part of our country, but the focus of them was just to much. I think the real image of Canada almost got forgotten about.
This focus was brought into the Opening by a entire section being dedicated to the Aboriginals of our land, and also having the 4 chiefs be regarded as "Olympic royalty"
Now for the great parts! I love watching the athletes come into the stadium. This year it was great to see the Canadian athletes that would be competing the next day still be able to be part of the opening as it really is part of the Olympic experience.
The other part that I really love is the lighting of the cauldron. This whole process leaves everyone guessing as to who will be the one to do the lighting. Included in this process is the entrance of the Olympic flag. This year there were 8 people chosen to carry the flag, and I think that all 8 people were excellent choices. Former hockey star Bobby Orr; musician Anne Murray; champion race car driver Jacques Villeneuve; Betty Fox, the mother of cancer research champion Terry Fox; actor Donald Sutherland; gold medal figure skater Barbara Ann Scott; UNAMIR commander Roméo Dallaire; and Julie Payette, Canadian astronaut, carried the flag into the stadium.
After that came the actual lighting of the Olympic cauldron. This year there are 2, one indoors and one outdoors. The outdoor one will remain a permanent fixture in the city, while the indoor one will only be up until the closing ceremonies.
This years caldron was light by 5 people, the first time that a sole person has not done the lighting. Wayne Gretzky, Steven Nash, Nanct Green Raine and Catriona LeMay Doan were selected to light the tourch, with Rick Hansen selected to bring the tourch into the stadium.
The cauldron was supposed to rise from he floor with 4 pegs, and a middle cauldron. Unfortunetly only 3/4 rose and left Gretzky, NBA star Steve Nash and Olympic gold medal skier Nancy Greene Raine to simultaneously light the cauldron while fourth torch bearer, speed-skater Catriona LeMay Doan, was forced to stand by.
Later Gretzky was driven down to the waterfront to light the other cauldron.
I think overall the Openings were a great start. There were a few dry moments, but there seems to be with all Openings. One of my favorite parts was a poem that was read about being Canadian. I am still trying to find it online, and when I do will post it.
Hopefully the rest of the Olympics will go off great. And be sure to stay tuned for more daily recaps!