Olympics Commence in Vancouver; Georgian Team Paid Respect

Tom Chieppo

The stage was all set for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

This year, the Olympics started on Feb. 12, 2010 with an opening ceremony in Vancouver, Canada. The closing ceremony will take place on Sunday Feb. 28.

Unfortunately for one team, and the entire world watching, a horrible tragedy occurred early last Friday when Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died in a horrific crash on the sliding track at Whistler. The seven remaining members of the Georgian team decided to stay and compete, wearing black arm bands as they marched behind a black-trimmed flag during the opening ceremony. As they marched, the crowd paid their respects with their applause and cheering.

Approximately 2,500 athletes from a record 82 countries are participating in the Olympic games this year. Some of the biggest teams hail from the United States, China, and Canada. Canada, expectantly, had the loudest ovation as the last contingent of the parade of nations. Traditionally, the team from Greece marches first in the parade of nations while the home team takes the floor last. The Canadians have the home field advantage and they are looking to dominate the Olympics this year by racking up tons of gold medals.

Special effects in the ceremony included a giant, sparkling polar bear rising from the stadium floor and hovering over some of the performers on a simulated ice flow. The ceremony resembled a Christmas spectacular as candles waved in the audience to the rhythm of the performances.

The cultural segment of the ceremony featured many of Canada’s best-known musical stars such as Bryan Adams, Nelly Furtado, Sarah McLachlan, and K.D. Lang. Several well-known Canadians received the honor of carrying the Olympic Flag at the end of the ceremony including Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Orr, singer Anne Murray, race car driver, Jacques Villeneuve, and Betty Fox (mother of national hero Terry Fox).

Overall, the Olympics are all about rooting for your country and respecting the opponents’ efforts and cultures. There is no doubt that Vancouver will host fantastic and awe-inspiring Olympic games, and all of us will remember the memorable moments that the winter games will share.

Editor’s note: From all of us at The Charger Bulletin, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Georgian Olympic team, the Georgian people, and  all of those affected by the loss of Nodar Kumaritashvili.