Paige Larson: On the Opening Ceremonies



RAIN – yes, it rained last night and this morning. Not only rain, but thunder and lightening!! It woke most of us up in the night and continued on until mid-morning. No rowing due to the lightening! They gave out rain jacket poncho things to everyone, so we were ok. When I went to breakfast the Nigerian guide was carefully negotiating all the puddles, stopping at each one to tell the “sight-impaired” athlete exactly how big it was so he could step over it. Guess Nigeria is a bit drier than Vancouver!!

 The news of today is the Opening Ceremonies of yesterday. They were truly excellent! The staging and busing to the holding area was easy, and they had bag dinners for everyone when we got there. Milling about, taking pictures and socializing is always fun. The march in was truly inspirational as the stadium, aka the “Bird’s Nest”, was full – 91,000 people. The noise was deafening and it really pumped everyone up. Some of the country’s outfits were amazing – the traditional ones always great to see. The show was singing, dancing, video projection and fireworks. Many of the performers were disabled. There were deaf dancers who did an amazing dance, and also a group that did one with their arms through cloth, with their arms moving like swans and birds flying. They had a person on high wire up at the top of the stadium, and many other amazing touches. A 9 year old girl who lost her leg in the earthquake did a ballet piece with many other dancers who danced with pointe shoes on their hands. There was a number with over 2000 boys about 8 or 10 years old dressed as little bugs. They did a stomp/break dancing type number in total unison that went on for over 8 minutes. They were one of the highlights of the show. The speeches were mercifully short, followed by the flag entry, which was also quick. The torch came along, ending with a man in a wheelchair pulling himself and his chair up to the bottom of the torch where he litthe “Paralympic Caldron”. Unfortunately we could not see the fireworks as they were set for people from the other side of the stadium to see – but we could sure hear them, and they showed them on the video screen (one at each end of the stadium). The only glitch we saw was part of the stage flipped over numerous times with different things on it representing the changing seasons. A couple of the panels got stuck so some guys ran out and eventually fixed them. After the show we were out of the stadium and on to buses, back to the Village in very quick order. All in all it was an excellent opening ceremonies, which ran very smoothly.

 And so things have now begun, and we have live feeds from all the venues in the Clinic here. I have spent the day here again after my jog this morning. There were very few out this morning in the rain (very light rain really by day light). The pool was actually empty – of people, not water! Canada has already won a medal – bronze in men’s individual pursuit. It was unexpected that he would win, so we are very excited! Stay tuned for more info as the Games continue.


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