After what this city experienced during the 2010 Winter Games people, understandably, wanted to maintain that Olympic spirit and atmosphere. And despite the massive size difference between the two games, it’s been very encouraging to see the amount of support Vancouver has shown for these Paralympics. Case in point: The Opening Ceremony.
Over 60,000 people bought tickets for the event. That, and the ceremony itself, far exceeded my expectations.
The evening began with a pre-ceremony show where the organizers engaged the crowd and asked that we all participate. Depending on the section and the seats, a colour poncho (Green, White, Blue and powder blue) was given along with a white pom-pom (with flashing lights) as part of the spectator kit. We were also taught certain “moves” that we needed to perform at certain points during the program. It was an interactive affair that turned out really well.
The ceremony was not flashy and the focus, rightly, was on the athletes and their triumph over adversity. Towards the end, Rick Hansen addressed the crowd and the Paralympians and offered his encouragement.
“Never give up on your dreams, and enjoy the Games, everyone.”
Then Lloyd Robertson (CTV News lead anchor) delivered a moving tribute to the late Terry Fox moments before his parents brought the Paralympic Flame into B.C. Place. The torch was passed around amongst a group of decorated Paralympians before the cauldron was lit by 15 year old Zach Beaumont, whose aspiration is to become a Paralympian himself.
Overall it was a sincere and inspiring presentation and a fitting prelude to these Paralympics.