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Olympics 2010: Opening Ceremonies

Olympics 2010: Opening Ceremonies

[ Sun, 2010-02-14 19:21 ]
Courtesy of Chris's posterous, Flickr
The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics opened Friday night in front of 60,000 spectators—the first opening ceremonies to be held indoors. The show conspicuously avoided the whizz-bang pyrotechnics—and the whizz-bang budgets—that have come to dominate recent Olympic opening ceremonies. From a pod of orca whales swimming through a virtual ocean to skiers carving up a mid-air mountain, here are the Top 10 moments.

Olympic Opening Ceremonies. Top 10 Moments

The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics opened Friday night in front of 60,000 cheering spectators—the first Olympic opening ceremonies to be held indoors. From killer whales swimming through a virtual ocean to skiers carving up a mid-air mountain, the show captured the spirit of the host country. Here are the Top 10 Opening Ceremony moments.

1. Best Adrenaline Rush: Snowboarder Johnny Lyle flying down a ramp and jumping through the Olympic Rings inside the BC Place stadium. The kid nailed a fairly serious vertical drop in front of, oh, an estimated three billion TV viewers. That’s pressure.

2. Most Touching Moment: Crowd giving a long standing ovation as the tiny Republic of Georgia Olympic team entered the stadium wearing black scarves and armbands to honor their fallen teammate, luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, who died earlier that day during a training run.

2a. Least Surprising Tragedy: With luge competitors hitting speeds of up to 95 mph at the Whistler sliding track, the course was the fastest in the world. Safety concerns with the track were raised well before the fatal crash of 21-year-old Kumaritashvili. Olympic officials have since lower the start point for luge events to reduce top speeds, but continue to be at the center of a growing controversy on the cause of the fatal accident.

3. Coolest Corporate Decision That Wouldn’t Happen in the U.S.: Inclusion of B.C. slam poet Shane Koyczan in the Opening Ceremonies performing a patriotic spoken-word live performance. 

4. Best Special Effects Not in the Air: The huge floor of the stadium became a virtual open ocean prowled by spouting killer whales and spawning salmon in the most impressive high-tech wow-effect of the ceremonies. 

5. Best Special Effects in the Air: The “Peaks of Endeavor” segment of the show had skiers and boarders suspended from the top of the stadium skiing and riding a mountain floating in the air.

6. Worst circa-1985 Audience Participation Move: Having 60,000 spectators in the packed stadium do The Wave to countdown the start of the ceremonies.

7. Most Popular Musical Performance: Barefooted singer k.d. lang wowed the audience. Close second: Sarah McLachlan.

7a. Oddest Musical Performance to American eyes: Punk fiddling? Sporting spiked hair, motorcycle leathers and a sleeveless red-plaid lumberjack shirt, a fiddler sawed away at his instrument in perhaps Canada's weirdest musical export. 

 

8. Best Michael Jackson Thriller Moment: At the start of the ceremony, four giant totems appeared out of the floor. Each raised their huge arms, locking them straightforward, palms down, looking not unlike zombies ready to throttle the audience.

9. Most Overplayed Goof Heard Round the World: The hydraulic glitch that prevented the fourth huge column to connect with the Olympic caldron for the official lighting was repeatedly rebroadcast and analyzed on TV. Audience members hardly noticed the mishap in real-time—and the improvised three-legged caldron worked just fine.

10. Loudest Applause: Not surprisingly, the entrance of the host Canadian Team—the final country in the Parade of Nations—brought the house down.