I was a huge fan of the Olympics. Years ago, Charlie & I would set our alarm and get up in the night to watch the events when they were in a totally different time zone . We would stay up all night watching and then go to work . ( It was an exhausting 2 weeks !!) Another year, we cut out huge rings and put them in our store window. Then we made stacks of the appropriate colour medals and posted them in the window each time Canada won a medal. We drove through town, horn blaring, and flag waving when Canada won hockey gold. Trust me - we were the only ones in town doing it ... lots of odd looks ! We would subscribe to extra sports channels and EAT & SLEEP the Olympics. They were an amazing thing.
I say was. Because the Olympics have changed for me. They now seem to be less about the athletes and the coming together of a world. They seem to be more about entertainment, celebrity parties, doping & cheating, protests against judges & other athletes, big shows, huge budgets and overspending, sponsorships, funding, and "personal bests" instead of that huge hunger to do it for your country. I loved "HIGHER FASTER STRONGER" much more than "Who has the best funded athletes" and "Who offers bonuses". Or "Where did George Clooney party last night?" The athletic events themselves take a back seat to the commentators and all that goes on outside of the competition. We often don't even get to see events if Canada isn't in them. Too bad really.
( This may all change in 2012 because, as some of you know, my goal is to participate . Yes. That's correct. As a an athlete. I chose ping pong as it is probably the only sport I could hope to do ... and I do have the Wii ping pong now so I can start training ... next year I hope to get a table ... and then "Watch out London... here I come ... ".)
BUT ... that being said, I can't just give up on the Olympics. I LOVE Canada and I LOVE the IDEALS of the Olympics. So I watched the Opening Ceremonies ... flicking back and forth ... I just couldn't help myself. Here are a few of the highlights and low lights for me ...
*FIRST has to be the slam poet Shane Koyczan and his poem "We are More" ... loved it ! It made the whole event for me.
*All the interpretive dance and special effects ... okay , not so much for me ... I had to escape to other channels ... I hate that stuff ! I honestly thought that guy walking in the special effects field and floating in the sky would never stop ... ( But I loved the Joni Mitchell song that he floated to !)
* The 106 day Torch Relay ... for the people, of the people ... genius idea !! Millions of thumbs up !!
* The sorrow of the Georgian Team was heartbreaking. The death of their team mate is so sad.
* HALLELUJAH by K.D. Lang. SPECTACULAR !!! Remember the last Olympics she performed at ... Calgary in the wedding dress ? Anyway, KD singing my favourite song EVER ( you rock Leonard Cohen !!) in a sea of sparkling lights... Breathtaking.
* Loved all the quotes from CanLit.
* The audience members capes forming the flags of different countries ... beautiful !
* Misha B. singing the Olympic anthem ? Pass for me. Sorry.
* The Olympic flag bearers ... a very interesting mix. Well rounded choices. Betty Fox, Anne Murray, Romeo D'Allaire, Donald Sutherland, Julie Payette, Villaneuve, Bobby Orr, and - love her - Barbara Ann Scott . ( Isn't she amazing ??). Great thought went into that.
* Loved the little lights that the audience had ... not as crazy about the cardboard drums.
* Flame lighters ... thrilled to see Rick Hanson especially.
* Thought the long trek outside to light the cauldron lost the oomph of the ceremony and ended the show with a bit of a whimper. ( But I am also not much of a Gretzky fan so , who knows, maybe that had something to do with it ... )
Anyway ... let's get on with the REAL Olympics ... the sports events !!!
So ... that's what I thought ... leave a comment to tell me what your favourite part was ...