Pique'n'yer interest 

Soft opening

Two tickets to the opening ceremonies? $600. A case of beer to watch the ceremonies at home? $23. Watching Wayne Gretzky lurch around in the back of a pickup truck in the pouring rain, seemingly lost, alternating between waving and holding on for dear life while a bunch of crazies run beside him making faces at the camera? Priceless.

Let me start off by saying that the Games could not have started any worse. No snow at Cypress. Training runs cancelled and events delayed in Whistler. The torch relay being knocked off course by anti-poverty activists. Mobs swarming Arnold Schwarzenegger yelling "Get to the Chopper!" And a death. A tragic, senseless death. Instead of pride I felt shame that we had to build the fastest and therefore most dangerous sliding track in the world. Athletes are supposed to push their own limits, but they aren't supposed to die trying. My heart goes out to Nodar Kumaritashvili and his family, his teammates, his fellow competitors.

Which brings me to those opening ceremonies. There were some highlights- the snowboard sequence at the start, the killer whales, the slam poet. A few good musical performances, though the selection of music was a tad too Mountain FM for my tastes. Aside from the fiddlers (so relieved Ashley MacIsaac kept his kilt on!), it was much too sombre and serious.

I wrote down a few of my thoughts:

5:57 p.m... "Tonight, the greatest athletes on earth arrive seeking bounty, glory, history... they're all here, neither to praise or honour us, but to defeat us." So much for sportsmanship, apparently we're at war... the camera pans from Manuel Osborne-Paradis on top of a mountain to the roof of B.C. Place, zooming in until...

Darkness. Well, not quite darkness. Everything is blue and you can see the floor is covered by white material... Snow in B.C. Place!... That, or the roof fell in again... No, it's definitely snow. Then a voice rings out... It's French!... now that's classy!... and probably confusing for the rest of the world who believed that most Canadians speak English... 6:07...The Mounties march in full dress carrying the Canadian flag... I'd have liked to have seen a member of our military in there but don't know the protocol.

If Nikki Yanofsky wasn't standing below the flag I'd have no idea she was singing O Canada...

The First Nations come out next and welcome us to their territory... shirts were optional... Hey, those totem poles look kind of like... never mind, they have arms...

6:21... Out come the athletes. Jarmoir Jagr is chewing gum while he carries the flag for Czech Republic... the French team painted on moustaches in French colours... Georgia appears looking shocked and wearing black armbands, get a standing ovation... the German men look like Rebel Alliance pilots... here comes Iran... and then Israel?... awkward!... What? A 51-year-old skier from Mexico? (rewind)... yep, a 51-year-old skier... it looks like the U.S. team shopped at The Bay... and here comes Canada!... Premier Gordon Campbell is waving the flag wearing his red mittens, Stephen Harper claps politely...

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