Was Fortress of Solitude an Olympic fail?
The bit we were all waiting for at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony veered from Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, to Harry Potter’s Leaky Cauldron and finished up with Wayne Gretzky as Running Man, which was appropriate enough, I suppose, considering Arnold Schwarzeneggar had been one of the torchbearers earlier in the day.
Sadly, it didn’t quite add up to a satisfying Hollywood ending.
The long, awkward silence waiting for the first cauldron to be lit in a team effort seemed to be because one of the four giant icicles from the Fortress failed to appear. At least, that was the view of many commentators. Within minutes of the ceremony ending there was already a long Twitter feed under the hashtag #olympicsfail.
The audience at the BC Place stadium appeared confused by the decision to gather Nancy Greene, Steve Nash, Rick Hansen, and Catriona Le May Doan along with Gretzky to share the honours. Was that it? Was it over?
Well, no, not so fast! It turned out Gretzky really was the chosen one, as he ran out of the stadium, hopped into a pickup truck and went off to light a second cauldron on the Vancouver waterfront. For one horrible moment it looked like that cauldron’s flame had gone out but no, we were spared another long wait while somebody found a match.
The ending was a shame because the show was otherwise pretty appealing. Sure, the drums the assembled crowd were given by organisers and encouraged to bang made it sound as if they were booing. But there was a lot of other good stuff, from the giant polar bear — a particular favourite on our live blog – to a series of terrific musical performances, the highlight for me being KD Lang.
There were also tributes to the 21-year-old luger Nador Kumaritashvili who died in the terrible crash at the Whistler Slider Centre earlier in the day. When the cauldron was lit, I wonder if I was alone in thinking of it as a memorial to the Georgian.
ONE OF OUR ICE CRYSTALS IS MISSING: Canadian hockey legend Wayne Gretzky (R) exits, as (from L-R) Rick Hansen, Catriona Le May Doan, Steve Nash and Nancy Greene watch during the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games at the BC Place stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia February 12, 2010. REUTERS/Jim Young