Friday, February 12, 2010

Will the Firths be the last?

What we know about the Feb. 12 opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics at Vancouver's B.C. Place Stadium:

Bryan Adams performed a duet with Nelly Furtado at the Feb. 10 dress rehearsal. On Feb. 6, a recording of Adams and Furtado was played repeatedly inside B.C. Place Stadium. The chorus was “sing something louder so the whole world can hear.” The piece included aboriginal chanting and drumming.

Adams will perform a private show for attendees of Molson Canadian Hockey House after the ceremony.

K.D. Lang and Sarah McLachlan performed solo pieces at the Feb. 10 rehearsal.

Members of the Four Host First Nations offered a welcome greeting. Performers on the white floor were dressed in white, but there were cheerleaders in the grandstands to assist with the audience participation elements. Everyone in the audience will get a bag of props and goodies. The cheerleaders were dressed in red toques, white sweaters, grey pants or slacks and white footwear.

Hudson’s Bay Co. provided the apparel.

Greece will march in first, Canada last. U.S.A. is third to last. Taiwan will be called Chinese Taipei, as usual at Olympics. 
Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean will formally declare the Games open. United States vice-president Joe Biden will be among the VIPs.

VANOC CEO John Furlong and IOC president Jacques Rogge will speak to the audience.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson will carry the Olympic flag.

A giant Olympic flag will be carried by eight people. Will they be eight great Canadians? Will Betty Fox, Terry’s mom, be among them?

A snowboarder flew through the Olympic rings at the rehearsal. A performer who did this stunt was injured during a rehearsal more than a week ago.

A pit for the cauldron was dug in the centre of the floor of the stadium in May 2009. This was among the wish list submitted by executive producer David Atkins to VANOC, which provided another $8.3 million for the production at a May 20 board meeting. The expenditure, but not the details, was disclosed on June 16 by VANOC. Click here to see a photo of the construction site in May and a link to the David Atkins Enterprises report that outlined what the production required.

The cauldron may not burn inside for all 17 days. An outdoor cauldron has been erected to the immediate west of the Vancouver Convention Centre, the international broadcast centre, and is hidden from ground view. The location is called Jack Poole Plaza, dedicated Oct. 2 to the founding VANOC chairman. Poole died in a Vancouver hospital three weeks later after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. He passed just hours after the Olympic flame was lit in Ancient Olympia, Greece.

VANOC CEO John Furlong told Global National on Feb. 11 that Wayne Gretzky would not light the Olympic cauldron.

The Government of Canada is paying $20 million for the ceremony and $25 million for the torch relay. Therefore, the Oct. 2006 brainstorming document released via Access to Information could provide a clue. In that document, it was recommended that an aboriginal athlete light the cauldron, just like at Sydney 2000 where Cathy Freeman did the deed.

Could twin cross-country skiers/ex-Olympians Sharon Firth and Shirley Firth-Larson from the Northwest Territories do the honour at the climax of the Vancouver opening ceremony?

The ceremony begins at 6 p.m. PST. The cauldron-lighting will come in the third hour.

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