2010 Winter Paralympics Opening Ceremony Print E-mail
Written by Peter Quartuccio   

Opening Ceremony: Root for the Home Team, but Appreciate and Cherish the Home Crowd


            There they sat.  Spectators draped in green, white, and shades of blue, waving their illuminating pompoms that set the BC Place aglow with a vibrant red.  As they cheered and applauded and sang, one got the sense that they could not have been prouder.  Last night’s Opening Ceremony for the 2010 Winter Paralympic Games in Vancouver proved a thoroughly moving and memorable evening, one which celebrated Canada, Canadians, and the Paralympians in attendance who, in the words of International Paralympic Committee President Sir Philip Craven, “redefine the possible.”


            Athletes from forty-four countries spread across five continents proudly entered BC Place last night, each with a story of triumph and each with a dream for Paralympic glory.  They were cheered and addressed and lauded all night, and while the celebrity appearances and thoughtful though redundant speeches were many, the focus never strayed far from the athletes and the setting for the games to come.  The ceremony exuded a sincere pride for country, a country that has provided inspiration for so many in the persons of Terry Fox and Rick Hansen, athletes who helped expand the notions of what was possible for disabled individuals in athletic competition.


            All of the festivities were aided of course by the aforementioned wonderful people fortunate enough to be present.  There was an effervescent feel to the proceedings that lent a real energy among the crowd, an energy that was evident throughout.  There were roars of anticipatory fervor when the mere implication of a United States-Canada sled hockey match-up was made by Sir Craven, who termed it “the clash of the titans.”  When British Columbia native and Paralympic champion Rick Hansen was announced, the crowd erupted and showered Hansen with boomingly loud cheers of adulation and respect.  The lighting of the flame produced a similarly emphatic response, and the faces of the thousands in the stands emitted pure joy as watched that enduring flame ignite.  The torch and all it stands got a captive audience tonight, an audience whose passion, reverence, and excitement contributed to making last night a truly magical evening.


            To see additional coverage of the 2010 Winter Paralympic Games in Vancouver, go to www.WheelchairSportsFederation.org.  


Photos taken by Carter Farmer.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 June 2010 23:39