February 17, 2010

Pix of 2010 Olympics opening ceremony

Opening Ceremonies for Vancouver 2010Last night, Vancouver, British Columbia welcomed the world, as over 2,600 winter athletes from 82 countries entered the BC Place arena, ready to compete in 86 events in 15 different sports. The opening ceremony focused on Canadian diversity and heritage, with emphasis on the many cultures of the First Nations. After the longest Torch Relay in history, the Olympic Flame has come to rest and now lights the cauldron of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. (30 photos total)Rodney Pond describes the action:

2010 Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony:  Aboriginal Peoples ShineThe Aboriginal Four Host First Nations welcomed the athletes at the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada. The First Nations speakers were from the Lil'wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh tribes. They were surrounded by welcome Totem Poles that resembled tall ice glaciers. 300 Aboriginal youth performers from the First Nations, Inuit and Metis joined in the celebration with their bright, colorful and traditional costumes.

Native actresses Chantal Rondeau and Lisa Muswagon were dancers in the opening ceremony. Men and women hoop dancers (my favorite), drummers, men's fast & fancy and women's shawl dancers, joined them. As the parade of athletes walked into the stadium, NBC commentator Bob Costas praised the Aboriginal dancers for their stamina and grace. The native performers even danced energetically with singers Nelly Furtado and Bryan Adams with their tribute song Bang the Drum. The 2,600 athletes and Canadian spectators were all beating their own white "single-hand" drums throughout. That was way, way cool.

The theme for the opening ceremony was called "Landscape of a Dream." The audience followed chosen travelers across Canada. We were transported to every region from the frozen icebergs, secluded mountaintops, and prairie grasslands and then into the deep oceans. We saw salmon, eagles, bears, whales, running horses (my favorite) and huge horizons above. Narrator and Actor, Donald Sutherland even quoted from a speech by Chief Dan George. The audience burst into applause upon hearing it.

The impressive Totem Poles and the Aboriginal designs from a spectacular lighting display was a feast for the eyes. It was very clear that the First Nations peoples were strongly represented in the opening ceremony. It is about time and what a better place to receive such recognition than during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. NBC drew an impressive 32.6 million viewers for Friday night's broadcast.
Comment:  Some impressive photos on the Boston Herald site. I almost wish I'd seen the ceremony. <g>

For more on Natives in the Olympics, see Aboriginal Performers in Opening Ceremony and Native Participation in 2010 Olympics.

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