Games open in spectacular fashion

Some 60,600 awe-struck spectators served as extras in a majestic three-hour movie of sorts, officially opening the XXI Olympic Winter Games Friday night at the dazzling ice-blue wonderland otherwise known as B.C. Place.

Some 60,600 awe-struck spectators served as extras in a majestic three-hour movie of sorts, officially opening the XXI Olympic Winter Games Friday night at the dazzling ice-blue wonderland otherwise known as B.C. Place.

Sporting greats Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash, Nancy Greene, Catriona LeMay Doan and Rick Hansen teamed up to light the Olympic cauldron, ending a 106-day, 45,000-kilometre torch adventure that officially began in Greece.

The opening ceremony featured paper snowflakes, incredible music and dance, and Hollywood-like laser and light shows. Fans, who paid up to $600 for a ticket, participated like they were in an audition, showing precision and style when instructed by volunteers.

Olympics CEO John Furlong, who called the Games a unique magic, invited the world to share and experience what it feels like to be a proud Canadian. He urged the athletes to inspire the youth of the planet through their ultra talents.

“You are role models for our children – heroes, giants, human champions, the best ever,” said Furlong.

“You are living proof that men and women everywhere are capable of doing great good and that in life, as it is in sport, we should always give our best and never, ever give up.”

Montreal teen jazz-pop sensation Nikki Yanofsky, wearing a stunning bright red dress, delivered a stirring rendition of O Canada to jumpstart the extravaganza.

Seconds later, a snowboarder soared off a makeshift jump after the crowd held up flashlights to signify the final 10 second countdown to the ceremony. Spectators were considered the cast group in the production, using a set of six props activated at key points during the night. They wore white and blue ponchos.

Four gigantic ice-like totem poles then arose in the middle of the stadium and members of Vancouver and Whistler First Nation communities welcomed the world before being joined in colourful dance and song by Aboriginal people from other regions of Canada.

As is Games’ custom, Team Greece was the first of 82 participating nations to stroll into the stadium for the 48-minute parade of athletes, dwarfed by a backdrop of the 23-feet high, internally-lit Olympic rings.

The loudest cheer, of course, came for Team Canada, led by speed skater Clara Hughes. Just about all the spectators waived tiny Canadian flags and screamed support as the red-clad home country’s finest waved back in thanks.

B.C. rockers Bryan Adams, clad in a blue blazer and tie, and Nelly Furtado, wearing a form-fitting, partially strapless royal blue dress, quickly emerged on the centre platform and shook the roof with an energized Bang The Drum.

Huge images, ranging from a polar bear to the Northern Lights to Orca whales swimming in the Pacific Ocean and orange maple leafs, nicely complemented some beautiful artistic dance and acrobatics by the Alberta Ballet. Sarah McLachlan’s sweet sounds on Sacred Grove and Ordinary Miracle added further life to the Landscape of

Dreams.

Featured fiddler Ashley MacIsaac woke up the neighbours in Yaletown, False Creek and Chinatown as the musical play hit a super-charged speed.

Skiers and boarders, hanging by rope from the ceiling, turned in gold-medal tricks down a mountain face which also served as a monster screen showing highlights of various winter sports.

Furlong then addressed the world before giving the floor to International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge.

“And a special thanks to the thousands of Games volunteers for your enthusiasm,” said Rogge.

“Without you, none of this would be

possible.”

Ryan Nitchie of Armstrong, who is here volunteering at the Athletes Village, got a double-dose of the opening ceremony.

“During the entire ceremony I was teary eyed,” said the grocery store clerk and city

councillor.

“I am a very proud Canadian, but as a ‘good Canadian’, I don’t wear my patriotism on my sleeve. Watching the opening ceremonies rehearsal live at B.C. Place was like permission to be proud of my country, province and community…Seeing the opening ceremonies made me appreciate and feel thankful that I am part of hosting the world at the Olympics.”

Just Posted

Rainmakers wait out storm in Vancouver

Prince Rupert basketball team mentally prepare for home opener at Charles Hays gym on Friday

Council to host public hearing on cannabis sales zone

A look ahead to tonight’s Prince Rupert City council meeting

Another windstorm expected Monday, causing ferry delay

With another windstorm expected to hit Haida Gwaii on Monday afternoon, BC… Continue reading

Grim situation in coming year for northwest, B.C. fisheries

Annual post-season review in Prince Rupert informs DFO on how to manage 2019 fishing season

Nurses wanted, Northern Health promotes Prince Rupert in new video

There are 38 nursing job positions available in the area

Prince Rupert Rampage host Teddy Bear night

Prince Rupert Rampage teamed up with the Salvation Army to give back this weekend

Shop Prince Rupert is back

These businesses are all taking part in the Shop Prince Rupert event until December 21 at noon

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Omar Khadr to ask for Canadian passport to travel, permission to speak to sister

He spent years in U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay after he was caught when he was 15

One of Tori Stafford’s killers transferred to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Military closes book on oft-criticized support unit for ill, injured troops

The transition unit will provide support and services to military members struggling with physical and mental injuries so they can return to work.

Vancouver Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson named NHL’s first star of the week

Canucks centre scored two goals and six assists in three games

Protester says Canada doing U.S. ‘dirty work’ outside Huawei exec’s bail hearing

The U.S. wants to extradite Meng to face fraud allegations after Canada arrested the high-profile technology executive.

Most Read