Olympic opening ceremonies.

I watched the Olympic Opening Ceremonies on TV. I must say that I mostly enjoyed them. I thought that the visual effects were well done. I appreciated the recognition of the first nations.I really enjoyed the fiddlers. I like the prairie scene but was getting bored by the time they showed the mountains and skiers and snowboarders. I thought that K.D. Lang and whoever sang the Olympic anthem were the best singers. I was embarrassed by the excessive nationalism . The guy with the beard doing a monologue about Canada was definitely a low point. VANOC President Furlong spoke well and with obvious feeling. Rogge is just plain boring in any language. But overall, I give credit to the organizers, a job well done so far, if the weather cooperates.

Just tragic about the luge accident involving the Georgian competitor. I would not mind if they got rid of all the sliding events.

It was great to see old time greats like hockey star Bobby Orr, and skiier Nancy Greene and it was fun to see the excitement in the streets as Wayne Gretzky took the flame to light the outdoor cauldron.

It is interesting to note that this idea of carrying the Olympic torch around originated with Hitler in a lead up to the 1936 Olympic games. I think that nature of the nationalism in the games now is of a more benign nature. The Olympics is just a big party. I, for one, do not think that having a small number of dedicated and specialized Canadian athletes win medals makes me as a fellow citizen, or the country any better. I really do not care that much about our medal count. It would be nice to win Olympic Gold in men’s hockey, but I predict that Canada will not be in the final.

From what I saw last night, walking around the Olympic facilities in Vancouver, it will be a great party for the next two weeks, with an amazing number of activities for people to enjoy, many of which are free.

Last night a friend, Dusan Benicky, originally from Slovakia, invited me to the opening of the Slovakian House here and I had some of the best food I have had in a long while. There was a band playing Slovakian and Gypsy music. Just a great party.

The true Olympic spirit to me is people from many different countries getting together to enjoy each other’s company and cultures.

Steve Kaufmann


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