Copyright 2010 SpeakFree Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.
And so it begins
It was seven years in the making and the Vancouver 2010 Olympics got under way with over 60,000 people in attendance at B.C. Place and over a billion watching around the world.
As a snowboarder jumped through the Olympic rings the show began.
The Canadian flag was walked in by RCMP members and raised by the Canadian Forces, at which time the national anthem was sung by Nikki Yanofski, the young woman who performed the song I Believe, CTV's official song of the 2010 Games.
Four giant totems were erected as first nations filled the arena floor for traditional dances. And with that, athletes from around the world entered and the crowd went wild.
Greece was the first to enter the arena, as is tradition. Canada, as host country, entered last. More about the crowd going nuts for that in just a moment!
Whether countries such as Algeria and Colombia with only one athlete each, or Russian Federation with 178, United States with 216, or Canada with 206 athletes, the national pride each of the participants had was electrifying.
Earlier in the day, the world was rocked by news of the tragic luge accident that took the life of 21-year-old Nodar Kumaritashvili of Georgia. As the team entered the arena wearing black armbands, the teary-eyed grieving athletes removed their hats and were greeted by a standing ovation from the crowd.
The rumbling and the cheers and the flashes increased tenfold as Canada entered and speed skater Clara Hughes beamed with pride as flagbearer. Canadian flags at home and overseas were flying high as the Governor General and prime minister waved to the hopefuls.
The Canadian tribute continued with Bryan Adams and Nelly Furtado (who moved like Posh Spice in her tight dress) as they mouthed the song Bang Your Drum while the crowd danced along.
Culture was a key theme during the opening, showcasing Canada's different regions, beginning with Canada's North. As it snowed confetti and the northern lights descending from the rafters, the twinkling audience was illuminated. As ice turned to water, animated killer whales swam onto the stage for a dazzling display where they later turned to salmon.
From sealife to landlife with giant Douglas fir trees centre stage, Sarah McLachlan hit the piano backed by an orchestra to lip synch the next performance while modern ballet dancers circled the floor.
Canadian colours of fall was the third segment with a canoeist flying in from the ceiling -- a fiddling canoeist, to be exact. As crimson immersed the room, giant maple leaf designs flew around as over 180 fiddlers and even more cloggers (tap dancers) rocked the house.
Ashley MacIsaac, arguably one of Canada's most famous fiddlers, took on the role of lead tapper dressed in a kilt as he played Devil in the Kitchen along with his fellow dancers and players, some of whose shoes were on fire at this point.
The orange and red glow shimmered as the Canadian Prairies was saluted. A lone performer rose from the ground seemingly running through a wheat field and soared and flipped through the air, landing in more computerized floor graphics of crop fields.
From the grace of the whimsical air performance, a massive electrical prairie storm disrupted things only to very quickly turn into a blizzard. The audience held up candle lights as fog filled the air and massive ice blocks took formation at centre stage to form a mountain.