In the days leading up to the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver there was a bit of speculation in the media as to what direction the event would take. Because the last games in Bejing were so over the top in terms of special effects and mega spending people wondered what Vancouver would do with much less of a budget

For me, the Canadians came up with the perfect response, a ceremony that combined the required level of effects with a level of stunning simplicity that placed substance over style and reminded me why I have always had a great deal of affinity for the people of my neighbor to the North.

A perfect example came when Thomas Saulgrain danced both on the ground and in the air to the strains of Both Sides Now by Canadian native Joni Mitchell. There was, of course, a certain technical aspect to the wires needed to carry him into the air but that was merely a means to an end. His performance was perhaps one of the most visually stunning and purely beautiful of any prior ceremony. Simple and elegant.

Even the one technical blunder during the lighting of the cauldron demonstrated the simple elegance of the planned event. Rather than try for some spectacular method of lighting like a flaming arrow they chose to go with one of the most brilliant concepts I’ve ever seen, having all four people light the flame.

All things considered it was a very Canadian kind of opening and for that we should all be grateful.

If you missed any of the ceremonies you can rewatch them at the NBC web site

PATRICK EDABURN, Assistant Editor
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Copyright 2010 The Moderate Voice
  • DdW

    Agree. I thoroughly enjoyed the ceremony. The choreography and visual effects were just stunning. What China achieved with thousands of participants (and lots of $millions), Canada accomplished with, as you say, (relative) simplicity, elegance, taste and style.

    Shame about the technical hitch at the end, albeit I would not call it a blunder.

    Thanks for commenting on a great ceremony put on by our great friends to the North.

  • djmcamed

    To bad the network only makes the videos available in the U.S.A.. I live in Richmond, B.C., about a mile from the Skating Oval, which I have been bicycling past regularly since they moved the cows out to build this beautiful waterfront structure. I would love to see some of the NBC highlights.

  • I loved Beijing’s spectacular display and mammoth choreography. And I loved Vancouver’s simplicity and emotion. I can’t pick one over the other. So I’ll just say that is the two best Olympic opening ceremonies that I have seen.

  • WagglebutII

    Exchange the word stunning with surprising and I’m with you. I really wasn’t impressed with it. I was even less impressed with the jerky camera work with the teams entering the arena(?). It was dressed down and I found it boring. I look forward to the games however and expect my chagrin to be short lived.

  • tink38570

    I’m from the U.S, and I loved the opening ceremonies. You are right on the mark about Thomas Saulgrain’s performance. It was one of the best single opening ceremony performances that I have ever seen. Congrats Vancouver and Canada for a great opening ceremony.

  • kritt11

    Great job, Vancouver! The whales swimming beneath the arena floor were a spectacular effect, and I loved the way the Canadians celebrated the native heritage of the four tribal groups. I didn’t watch the Chinese opening ceremony, but thought this one was really emotionally rich and meaningful.

    BTW, we visited Vancouver and Whistler last June and it is an amazing area! The scenery is breath-taking the people friendly, the cuisine and architecture diverse and the city clean and bustling with energy.