Monday, February 15, 2010

Opening Ceremony Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics

It was so exciting to leave and make my way to BC Place for the Vancouver 2010 Opening Ceremony yesterday around 3:30 pm. Thousands of others were also making their way to BC Place. The wonderful Vancouver 2010 volunteers were plenty and along with the help of police were assisting people get to the stadium.

Lucky me I got to go through the express security line up. On my way in I happened to see Canadian design superstars Dean and Dan Caten of Dsquared. Stupid me I had just put away my camera and wasn't able to fish it out in time to get a photo of them. So as I walked by I said how much I loved them and Dean or Dan said thank you.

BC Place before the Opening Ceremony began.

I made my way into the stadium and to my seat which was in what you might call the nosebleeds. It was fine though, I was happy to be there as were all the others around me. We shared with each other how and when we purchased our tickets to the Opening Ceremony. As I was in line for a hot dog, I was chatting with a Vancouver person behind me. I mentioned that one of the things I was loving about the Olympics was how everyone was talking to each other and then the guy in front of me turned around and said " I know it’s great" which it is. Talked to some more BC people while I waited for my water. Everyone was in good spirits and wishing each other well, everyone was decked out in their Canada gear.

The preshow started at 5pm with hosts Ben Mulroney and Tamara Taggart who is a much loved weather reporter in Vancouver. During the preshow the audience participation for the Opening Ceremony was explained. We had all received our Audience Kit on our seats and the props we needed were in there. We were counting down the start of the Opening Ceremony from 10 seconds, creating stars in the sky with different coloured flashlights and giving the athletes’ a thunderous welcome with our drum kit. There were pre show performances by Jully Black and the Canadian tenors. The preshow ended around 5:45. A 10 minute countdown to show time appeared on the screen, then 2 minutes and then we were on! It was the 10 second countdown and we were standing and shouting out our appropriate numbers. It was every emotional for me. I’ve watched so many of these Ceremonies on TV, I really could not believe I was witnessing one with my own eyes. I had a crying fit for about 30 seconds and then calmed myself down.

I didn’t realize that as the opening segment with the snowboarder was being shown, the TV audience could not hear the cheers of the live audience. When the Winter Olympic cities were being announced and they came to Calgary we were cheering loud and proud for our other Canadian Winter Olympic host city.

During the Parade of Nations I had to keep reminding myself I was seeing this live in person with my own eyes. It was unbelievable. The is always one of my favourite parts of the ceremony. I cheered for the countries of my heritage, Armenia for my grandparents, Belgium for my Dad, The United States of America for my Mom. And everyone was on their feet clapping and screaming when Georgia entered the stadium, a tribute to the athlete they lost earlier in the day Nodar Kumaritashvili.

For those of you who saw the Opening Ceremony on TV, I don’t know if you could tell that the screaming and cheering started for Canada even before they entered the stadium. Everyone was on their feet, clapping, pounding their drums, screaming and waving their flags. It was so loud I can’t even remember if I heard them announce Canada. The noise went on for so long. It is such a thrill to be cheering for them. And I don’t believe I cried during this part which you probably don’t believe but it’s true. I screamed until I thought I was going to lose my voice.

The Canadian Olympic team.

The rest of the ceremony was magical, beautiful, an artistic tribute to our wonderful country, celebrating our heritage and seasons. Even the mechanical glitch of the Olympic Cauldron didn’t take away from the beauty and significance of the Opening Ceremony. I can tell you that after seeing the outdoor Olympic Cauldron on Saturday, you can really only see three arms of it at a time anyway so what is the big deal? Everyone in that stadium was a witness to what was probably the largest Canadian theatrical production in our country’s history. We were part of a show that was watched by 3.5 billion people around the world. What a memory for us! I only hope that I am able to convey properly even just a little bit what it was like to be there. Canada was on stage to the world and it was wonderful to see!  As I was leaving BC Place I heard a familiar voice.  I looked to my right and Brian Williams was right there! I mentioned in an earlier post how much I love his Olympic hosting duties.  I kept wondering if I should say something to him. In the end I decided not to, I'm just not that kind of person. I was happy enough just to see him. 

To see all the photos I took during the Opening Ceremony please click here.

The Olympic Cauldron after it was lit.  Along the bottom of the photo you can see the Torch bearers.

Update: So sorry I forgot to mention the Vancouver 2010 volunteers.  They were out in droves helping direct people to the security checkpoints and into the stadium. Afterwards they were assisting with helping people get home.  They are truly wonderful, dedicated people and these Olympics could not be held without them. If you see them anywhere be sure to say hello and tell them what a great job they are doing. And smile at them because they will be smiling at you.


  1. Great photos & personal description of what you saw! I hope all of your readers realize that these are Canada's Games ... that just happen to be in Vancouver.

  2. Wonderful description of the Ceremonies!
    Miss you already!

  3. It was good meeting you Christina. See you again soon.