So, did you watch? What did everybody think?
I thought I'd give you a little rundown on my thoughts.
Of course there was a shadow cast across the opening ceremonies by the tragic death of Gorgian luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili. The footage shown of the accident was difficult to watch for sure. Just a baby really, at 21 years of age. The sight of his 7 remaining teammates marching stoically into the stadium in the Parade of Nations to a standing ovation and thunderous applause brought tears to my eyes. My heart truly goes out to them, and to his family as well.
There has been much criticism since the accident. Is the track truly too dangerous? I'm generally one that sides in defense of those criticized when a sporting type accident occurs. I mean, after all, they knew what the risks were, right? But this time, I'm not so sure.
These athletes are the best in the world at what they do. Thousands of hours of training and perfecting their craft, with relatively minimal accidents or injury. Yet, on this track during practice runs over a dozen crashes occurred. One leaving one of the athletes unconscious for a time. And 15 months ago when the worlds elite came to familiarize themselves with the track, there were 73 crashes during training runs. SEVENTY THREE! Add this to the fact that Canada refused to let athletes from other countries start practicing on the track until this past week kinda moves me out of the corner of "Team Canada" on this one. I mean, even other racers had been talking about how dangerous the track is, and how they were fearful even before this accident. Did I mention, the sleds have been clocked reaching speeds up to 95 mph? It all seems a little insane to me.
So what do you think? Do you think there should be something done before competition starts on this track? Try to make it safer? Slower? Should the events be postponed? Cancelled?
The games have also been criticized for moving forward with the Opening Ceremonies last night. I really disagree with this. I feel that a postponement would have been unfair to the hundreds of other competitors, as well as everyone who had purchased tickets for the event, all the people who had coordinated to be there for this night. I know one U.S. hockey team member had an NHL game then flew in for the Ceremonies then immediately flew back out for another NHL game tonight. He wanted so badly to experience last night that he was willing to do this, and I'm sure he's not the only athlete that made these types of arrangements. So I think that the decision made to move forward was a good one. And using the night to honor the fallen athlete was particularly appropriate.
As for the ceremony itself...I quite enjoyed myself. The Parade of Nations is always interesting to me. Athletes just amaze me, and I see these young people who are realizing the dream of their lifetime and it just makes me feel all glowy inside!
I thought the presentation was spectacular. The special effects, the dancing, the singing, I loved it all. Almost. I didn't really care for the Slam Poetry. I can't really stand Slam Poetry as it is, but it seemed a little out of place in the majesty of the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics. Just me, but I could have done without that! Also, although I love K.D. Lang's voice, and I thought she did an amazing job last night, I didn't care for the message of the song. I've never really listened to the lyrics of this song, but listening last night, they seemed to kind of have an undertone of anti-faith, anti-putting your trust in God kind of a message, so I didn't love that. It's supposed to be a message of peace, but - whatever.
Other than those 2 things, I was thoroughly entertained and awed by the whole show. Some of my favorite moments: The tap dancing fiddlers with flames coming from the soles of their shoes, The Bryan Adams/Nelly Furtado performance - LOVED the song written by Bryan Adams. I'm going to see if it's available for download. The way they transformed the stage with all the projectors was beyond cool. Especially when the "floor" broke apart into all these little ice bergs, and pieces of floating ice that carried the performers away - that was awesome!
I remember always watching the Olympics here and there growing up, particularly figure skating. But since the games came to Salt Lake in 2002, I have been a true fan. Those 2 weeks were some of the most fun days and nights I've ever had! I went up town several times, and visited all the fun venues. We had tickets to Award Ceremony dress rehearsals, which were awesome, and just the whole spirit and atmosphere during the games was magical. Plus, those of you who know of my crush on Mitt Romney know that the 2002 Olympics was when I first became aware of his existence. I am keeping my fingers crossed for another Winter Olympics in SLC.
So, if you watched last night, what did you think? Go team U.S.A!!!