Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The other opening ceremony

Some 27,000 people experienced a dress rehearsal for the 2010 Winter Olympics' opening ceremony on Feb. 8 at B.C. Place Stadium. Many of those who Tweeted were impressed by what they saw, but offered few details. We do know that Sarah McLachlan performed inside and we do know that there was a spectacular display of fireworks from the stadium's ring beam around 9 p.m. Louis J. Horvitz directed the David Atkins production.

We also know that the cauldron is in the centre of the floor, the program includes a Bryan Adams' duet and the performers are in red toques, white sweaters, grey slacks or pants and white footwear.

The show wasn't complete because there is still secrecy surrounding key elements.

All will be revealed at 6 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Feb. 12.

On Feb. 9 there is a much smaller and exclusive opening ceremony at the nearby Queen Elizabeth Theatre. The opening ceremony of the 122nd International Olympic Committee session. I have been cordially invited to sit in the gold section and wear a gold-ribbon pin for the 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. extravaganza. Few details have been released about the show, but you can bet it will include some speeches in both official languages and presentations of local First Nations culture for the world's sport aristocracy to enjoy before retiring to their ultra-secure Westin Bayshore hotel rooms for the evening.

Invitation and souvenir pin for the opening ceremony of the 122nd IOC session.

You can bet that the memory of Jack Poole will be invoked at the Q.E.T. The founding VANOC chairman will posthumously receive the Olympic order this month. A wall display in his honour was unveiled by Premier Gordon Campbell, widow Darlene and chiefs of the Four Host First Nations at the Monday opening of the Chiefs' House aboriginal pavilion. It declares Poole to be "Proud Metis. Proud Canadian. Proud Partner. Great Friend."

Politicians' small talk is always fun to listen to and sometimes cringe-inducing. At one point during a group photograph, Campbell turned to Four Host First Nations' CEO Tewanee Joseph and asked how to pronounce Eskwukweláýakalh Stamsh. That was the name given Poole during the 2008 closed-to-the-public (and media) naming ceremony at the Bayshore. The Coast Salish phrase means "pool warrior."

Whether Joseph didn't hear him or the answer was too complicated, I don't know, but Campbell eventually just called Darlene "Mrs. Stamsh."

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