As the Vancouver Winter Olympics get underway, Canada’s national pride is glowing with the prospect of success. After months of commercials and merchandise sales leading up to the games. the moment we’d all been waiting for finally came. Given the fatal crash of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili earlier that day, the mood was both respectfully sombre and giddy with excitement for the upcoming games. Two out of three Canadians watched at least part of the ceremonies, and 33 million US viewers tuned in as 96 countries were welcomed to British Columbia, entering the stadium parading flags and athletes.
The ceremonies that followed, according to some, were disastrous and embarrassing. Indeed, pundits agreed, Canada had managed to start off these Olympic Games on the wrong foot. But I disagree whole-heartedly.
For those of you who may have missed the ceremonies, there was a technical problem near the end of the show that left a bitter aftertaste in the mouths of many. Canadian legends Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash, Catriona Lemay Doan, and Nancy Greene all partook in the traditional final leg and lighting of the indoor Olympic cauldron. However, a delayed rising of a final column prevented the lighting from working as planned. I choose to ignore that an estimated $40 million spent on the ceremonies ended in technical blunders and instead look at the positive side of things: it was nowhere near Beijing’s bill of more than $100 million spent on their ceremonies.
There will always be glitches and people will always screw up somehow – let’s not forget Beijing’s little-girl lip-synching catastrophe. Our response to our failings – in true Canadian fashion – should be that we look at the bright side and continue to give it our best.
The torch malfunction was a disappointment, but when you have such national talent and pride coming together to show the world what our country represents, there is only a wonderful moment to be shared. The show overall was a success. The special effects were wonderful, with outstanding displays of lights and artistic installations. The stage was elaborately transformed from the Rocky Mountains to a vast ocean of whales, and sprouting redwoods and colourful displays of Northern Lights filled the stadium. The show glittered with flying skiers, stomping tappers, and talented musical delights from some of Canada’s best musicians, including Sarah McLachlan, Bryan Adams, Nelly Furtado, and newly acclaimed Montreal-born Nikki Yanovsky. Notable celebrities and athletes of both past and present celebrated on the international stage in welcoming the world to our shores, making me proud of Canadian talent.
The ceremonies had a unique flare and creativity, with beautiful incorporations of heritage and history that captured the very essence of our nation’s pride.
In response to those naysayers doubting whether we can we live up to all this hype, the answer is that we can. I believe that the bar has been raised and set by Canada, and this shows our success. I, for one, have always loved the Olympics and the publicity they bring; my TV will be on in the background and tuned to CTV coverage of the events 24/7 for the next two weeks. To the best of our abilities – with glowing hearts and true patriot love – let’s welcome the world and show them what Canada is really made of.