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Live from the Winter Olympics opening ceremony (Part 3)

February 12, 2010 |  7:59 pm


9:15: It's all over folks. Not the best opening ceremony of all time. Today's death cast a bit of a pall over it. However, looking back it captured the spirit of Vancouver perfectly. A big, friendly city gets a big, friendly opening ceremony.

9:14: The Gretzkymobile comes to a stop and Gretzky light the external cauldron. The opening ceremony comes to a close.

9:11: You can tell they don't worry about security as much in Canada, as dozens of citizens are running alongside the Gretzkymobile. It's like a scene out of "Rocky." Meanwhile, the people in the arena who paid $1,000 a seat are wondering why they have to watch the climactic moment of the opening ceremony on TV.

9:09: Three whole minutes of watching Wayne Gretzky carry the torch in the back of a slow-moving truck. And he's not at his final destination yet.

9:06: Gretzky hops into whay we will call the Gretzkymobile to take the flame to the external cauldron. While we are waiting, NBC will interview Joe Biden.

9:02: Wayne Gretzky runs outside the stadium to light the external cauldron.

9:00: They go with only three of the four chutes. Doan is the odd one out and doesn't get to light the cauldron. The fire races up the chutes to light the cauldron in an impressive display.

8:57: The Olympic cauldron rises from the arena floor. Apparently there are technical difficulties though, as one of the four chutes used to send the flame to the cauldron is refusing to come up.

8:53: The Olympic flame enters the arena, carried by Canadian Paralympian Rick Hansen. He hands the flame to Catriona LeMay Doan gold medalist in speedskating, who passes it to NBA star Steve Nash, who gets the assist by passing it to Nancy Greene, the most successful Canadian Alpine skier of all time. She hands it off to Wayne Gretzky. How many times does an L.A. King get to light the torch?

8:50: Garou comes out to sing. Yeah, I've never head of him either.

8:48: The athletes' oath is taken.

8:47: A minute of silence is observed to honor Georgia luger Nodar Kumaritashvili.

8:43: Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman sings while the Olympic flag is raised.

8:39: Betty Fox, Donald Sutherland, Jacques Villeneuve, Barbara Ann Scott-King, Anne Murray, Romeo Dallaire, Bobby Orr (who gets a huge ovation) and Julie Payette carry the Olympic flag into the arena.

8:33: k.d. lang takes center stage and sings Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." A great song, and a nice version of it. Just below Jeff Buckley's version.

8:31: Let it be forever recorded that at 8:31 Vancouver time, the Vancouver Winter Olympics were declared open by Canada Governor General Michelle Jean. 

8:26: John Furlong is done speaking, but now Rogge is speaking again.

8:24: John Furlong is still speaking.

8:16: John Furlong, the CEO of the Vancouver Organizing Committee speaks. If you listen closely, you can hear TVs all across the U.S. turning to another channel to see what else is on.

8:15: IOC President Jacques Rogge says a few words in memory of Nodar Kumaritashvili, the Georgian luger who died in a training accident today. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends, family and teammates.

8:12: The mountain falls away to reveal Canadian poet and performer Shane Koyczan. He recites a poem as again all the momentum from the light show falls apart.

8:08: A montage of Winter Olympics events in projected on the mountain. In-line skaters skate around the mountain. Each skater has LED lights on their costume, and with some extra light show help, an illusion of Vancouver appears where the mountain was. This has been an amazing light show tonight.

8:03: Everyone in the audience has been given a miniature flashlight, which they are all waving at once. It looks like a blizzard has hit the arena, as a canvas mountain rises from the floor, dominating the arena. Skiers and snowboarders are lowered from the ceiling, giving the illusion that they are traveling down the mountain.

7:53: They are now tap dancing, and some of the tap dancers have sparklers on their feet. Apparently they blew their entire special effects budget on the fancy floor light show.

7:47: You guessed it. More dancing. This time accompanied by multiple fiddlers.

7:44: We are at the "Rhythms of the Fall" segment. A blue and white canoe slowly lowers from the ceiling with a man playing a fiddle. A shadow of the fiddler is projected on a moon in the arena. The fiddler tosses his cape from the canoe, and it triggers a cascade of maple leafs, falling to the arena floor.