Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: olympics, special events

Last night was the kick-off of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics… and I loved it.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of watching sports… that is until the Olympics roll around.
The human drama. The competition. The one-shot-at-making-your-dreams-come-true!
Much better than those professional athletes making millions of dollars for just showing up!
Every time, my favorite part is the Opening Ceremonies. And last night was great.
The excitement. The colors. The pageantry. The emotion. The visual creativity.

It started out a little slow, with four “frozen” totem poles and introductions of the local tribes
of Canada… ho hum… and then they introduced the official Olympic people… again, boring.
I was getting a little concerned. But then it kicked in… and the pageantry began. With a much
smaller budget than Beijing, I think they did a wonderful job. With a lot of lighting, a lot of
dancing, and a lot of projections on white fabric… they created a masterpiece of imagery
as they “toured” the Canadian countryside. From the mountains & prairies… from sea
to shining see. Trees sprouted out of nowhere. Mountains rose from the arena floor.
Prairie grasses waving. Snowboarders skiing from the ceiling. Snow. Leaves. A polar bear.
And a school of whales seemingly “swimming” across the floor spouting water as they
“crested” the ocean’s surface… which was actually the floor?… but appeared to be water?…
but wasn’t?… thanks to the magic of huge floor-covering LED lighting panels. Not to mention
the rockin’ violinists & cloggers who danced with sparks shooting out of their heels!!!

Everything was magical, the excitement and spirit of the Olympics was definitely there to get
the party started. Until the “technical difficulty”… at the climactic moment when all eyes are
upon the four Canadian sports legends holding the Olympic Flames… waiting… and waiting…
for the four supports for the Olympic Flame to rise from the floor… and waiting… as only
three of them came up – and after waiting anxiously, they went ahead with just the three!
The flames were finally lit, and then Wayne Gretsky went out to light the outdoor version
of the Olympic Cauldron… without hesitation, without drama, without technical difficulties!

Typically the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics are a little less than impressive.
Compared to what they pull out for the Summer version, Winter pales by comparison.
Even without the fresh memories of the spectacular opening in Beijing last summer.
Possibly, the most incredible thing I have EVER seen on television!!! All in all, I think
Vancouver made a valiant effort in the painful “Beijing Follow-up” position. And now…
let the games begin!!!

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