My Highs and Lows of the 2010 Olympic Opening Ceremonies

For me, the best part of attending the 2010 Olympic Opening Ceremonies was the energy I experienced from the moment I got into the line up to enter the stadium to walking out with everyone in the rain afterwords.  It was a happy crowd.

Being a participant of the ceremonies is very different from watching it on TV.  I felt a part of it.  Sixty thousand people!  It is the energy you experience that makes the difference.  You don’t get that when you watch it on TV.  You don’t just hear the cheering, clapping and pounding on the drums, you feel the vibrations from it. During the program there is so much to see.  When you watch it on TV, the camera decides what you’re going to focus on.  When you are there, you can look around at all the activities going on. You see things that the camera never shows. You can focus on what you want to look at.

Our seats were on the floor of the stadium, close enough to the stage to see the faces of all the performers. It was especially fun to see all the smiling faces of the athletes as they entered.  They were really enjoying the experience.

One theme of the ceremonies was the 4 different First Nations people, and the rest of Canadians, welcoming the athletes. The other theme was winter, apropos for a winter Olympics, complete with different types of fake snow – soap suds?? and confetti.  White was the color of the day.  It created a great atmosphere.

I enjoyed most of the program.  It was impressive. I liked how the movie of the snowboarder on the mountains ended with him [albeit at different person] bursting into the stadium on his snowboard. I was amazed at the different landscapes that were created by projecting images on the huge white stage. There were ice fields, oceans, fields and mountains conveying the vastness of Canada.  There were killer whales swimming in the oceans, spouting up misty air as they surfaced.  There were thunderstorms and aurora borealis.  There was so much to see.  K.D Lang’s performance of Leonard Cohen song, Alleluia, was very moving.

I enjoyed sharing the experience with my sons and my good friend, SS.  In the middle of the program my eldest son leaned over, kissed me on the cheek and thanked me for bringing him.

Now the downside.

When the National Anthem started, we were all standing.  I sang the first line of the anthem and then –  the anthem when sideways.  It was a jazzed up version of the anthem which might have been fine in some other situation or setting but certainly not this one.  It did not make our hearts ‘glow’.  I was just standing there confused and puzzled.  I did not feel right.  I felt disconnected from everyone.  Not being able to sing the National Anthem together with 60,000 people was a huge unexpected disappointment.  What a missed opportunity!  I’ve lived in Vancouver for almost 44 years.  I’ve seen the city change from mostly Caucasian people to one with 45% Asian people, as well as people from many other races.  The best way for people to feel connected to each other is to sing together, especially the National Anthem. I saw the movie, The Singing Revolution, the story of the Estonian people, who retained their independence from Russia by uniting and connecting through singing. There is such power in singing together!  Whoever made the decision to have that version of Oh Canada – what were they thinking????????    I hope they do not do that for the Closing Ceremonies.  I also did not enjoy the opera singer who sang the Olympic anthem. Not a good night for anthems.

Apart from the surprise disappointment, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  Now when I watch future Opening Ceremonies I will recall what it was like to be at the 2010 Opening Ceremonies.

With care and concern,

Dr. Bea

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