Don’t want to wait for NBC to catch up with delayed coverage? Well we’re well underway here in Vancouver with the opening ceremonies.
It’s about halfway through the parade of nations, and Georgia just entered to a touching standing ovation that lasted through their entire walk across the stadium.
Earlier we had the flag brought in by Royal Canadian Mounted Police, then a nice version of “Oh, Canada” sung by Canadian pop star Nikki Yanofsky.
As the athletes march, members of four Aboriginal tribes, the Lil’wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh, are dancing in the middle of the faux-snow covered floor of the stadium. Four large statues emerged from the ground when the tribe members first came out.
More to come in a bit.
7 p.m.: Bet you didn’t expect to see the Peruvian flag carried by a guy who lives in Seattle, did you? Well, if you have been paying attention to all the pre-Olympic stuff, you might have, but if not, that was Roberto Carcelen, a cross country skier. He moved to the US as an adult, and only recently took up the sport, and he is Peru’s only Olympian.
7:12: Huge ovation for the U.S. when they enter the stadium.
7:15: Deafening ovation for team Canada.
7:20: Time to bring out the famous Canadians.
Nelly Furtado and Bryan Adams are now on stage singing together. That can only mean Steve Nash and Wayne Gretzky aren’t far behind.
Most impressive so far might be the fact that those Aboriginal dancers are still going at it. We’re at about an hour of no-stop dancing now for them.
7:25: Hey look, Snow!
OK, it’s fake snow, as this is the first indoor opening ceremony in Olympics history. But given the warm weather here, this might be the only white stuff we see falling from the sky over the next two weeks.
And now a giant polar bear is coming out of the ground. All right.
Bring out more Canadian pop stars. Or at least bring Bryan Adams back and make him sing “Summer of ‘69”
7:37: Yay, more musicians
Though sadly they didn’t listen to my request to bring back Bryan Adams. Now we’ve got Sarah McLachlan, the pride of Nova Scotia (and yes, I did make up that nickname, though she is from there), performing with a full orchestra while a bunch of people dance. Never been a huge fan of hers, but you can’t deny that McLachlan can sing. She sounds great, even in a dome with not-so-great acoustics.
7:44: Any old ceremony can suspend people from wires and fly them around. They’re stepping up the game here, however, flying a fiddle-playing guy in a canoe. Now if you ask my why they’re doing this, I can’t give you a good answer. But I’ll say I’m impressed anyway.
7:47: And now we’re on to the Riverdance portion of the show, it would appear. The stage is now surrounded by giant maple leaves, and on top are a bunch of fiddle players. Below are hundreds of people doing Irish dance.
Ooh, and now some crazy tap dancing. Good times.
8:05: Red-clad snowboarders and skiers are flipping and twirling above the stage, suspended by wires. No truth to the rumors that their training for this performance was cancelled by rain at Cypress.
8:14: We’re told the Olympic flame is 27 minutes out. Why’d they tell us at 27 minutes? My guess is that’s when they had a break to tell us.
Now we’ve got IOC president Jacques Rogge and Vancouver Organizing Committee president John Furlong at the podium. Rogge opened things up by saying a few words about Nodar Kumaritashvili, offering condolences to the family of the Georgian luger who passed away this morning after a training crash.
8:30: The Winter Games have officially been declared open.
Following words from Rogge and Furlong, we get a performance from another Canadian musician, K.D. Lang.
Lang performed a stirring rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” I’m not even remotely a Lang fan, but that was mighty impressive. If you’re watching at home, make sure you’re in front of the TV for that when it comes on a little later.
8:44: The Olympic flag is raised. Among those carrying the flag were hockey player, Bobby Orr, singer Anne Murray and actor Donald Sutherland.
After the flag was raised, the dome fell completely silent for one minute as a moment of silence was observed for Kumaritashvili. During that time, the Canadian and Olympic flags were lowered to half mast.
8:54: Here comes the Olympic flame. Champion paralympian Rick Hansen carried the flame in, then lit a torch held by Catriona LeMay Doan, an Olympic champion speed skater. She lit the torch of NBA star Steve Nash, who lit the flame of gold medal skier Nancy Greene. Greene then lit the torch of Wayne Gretzky (of course it was The Great One). The four then lit the Olympic cauldron, which raised up from the ground, together. Gretzky is now taking the flame to an outdoor replica of the cauldron.
That should just about do it for now.