The Olympics Opening Ceremony
This past Friday, the world watched the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Winter Olympics. You may be wondering why I would be talking about the Olympics on a blog about New Jersey. Well, not many people know this, but Jersey City actually made a bid to host the 1987 Summer Olympics. (Yes, I know there wasn’t an Olympics in 1987…but the good people of Jersey City didn’t know that.)
Anyway, I think the team in charge of the Vancouver opening ceremony did a great job of showcasing exactly what Canada is all about. Let’s face it, Canada is pretty much just an extra with no lines on the world stage. But the opening ceremony gave this perennial understudy the chance to shine.
Just like Australia did at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and the U.S. did at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Canada paid tribute to its indigenous people at the opening ceremony. Although all three nations claim to take pride in honoring their native inhabitants, let’s get real. I don’t think these native Australians, Americans, and Canadians can forgive hundreds of years of oppression and neglect for the chance to dance around in feather headdresses in front of the world.
That being said, the native Canadian display was tasteful and entertaining. At least compared to other performances throughout the night. We watched several famous Canadian singers, like Sarah McLaughlin, Nelly Furtado, Bryan Adams, and some opera singer with a glittery afro. We also saw a rather odd performance by Mr. KD Lang. Although he has a soothing baritone and was wearing a stylish suit, they didn’t give him any close-ups. He must’ve forgotten to shave or something.
The highlight for me of any opening ceremony is the march of nations. I know a lot of people find it boring, but I find it really interesting to watch as each country comes in. Especially with Matt Lauer and Bob Costas informing us about each country’s history in the Winter Olympics and other random facts.
Admittedly, my enchantment with the parade kinda ended when the U.S. walked in and the cameramen decided to focus only on Shaun White. I know he’s immensely popular and everything, but he’s not the only athlete on the U.S. team. I really get tired of looking at his strange and oddly feminine face. He looks like the bastard child of Carrot Top and Melissa Rivers.
So the love affair between the camera people and Shaun White continued throughout the show. Every time something happened, they would show his reaction. Anyone else get tired of looking at his horse teeth and ginger red hair? Also, how come every time they showed him, there were always like 5 other guys hanging on like they’re his posse or something? Those guys are Olympic athletes in their own right, yet they only get attention by being in frame with that freak.
Aside from Shaun White, I thought the opening ceremony was very well done. Although people wondered how Vancouver could compete with Beijing’s unforgettable opening, the Canadians were able to hold their own. Being typically Canadian, the ceremony was humble and quiet, marred only by that dysfunctional torch thing.
I was impressed with how they handled the unexpected death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili. At the beginning of the ceremony, there was a message on the screen saying the ceremony was dedicated to him. Also, it was pretty touching to see the Georgian team march in with black armbands to pay tribute to their fallen teammate.
All in all, the opening ceremony of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics was pretty entertaining. With a tasteful tribute to a tragic death, a long-overdue recognition of Canada’s native people, and a literal “who’s who?” of Canadian singers, it didn’t disappoint. Unfortunately, Shaun White and his freaky face had to ruin everything.