Maybe it's just because I'm not in the States, being bombarded with Official Sponsors of the XX Winter Olympics everywhere I look. If I hadn't seen a commerical on tv for the opening ceremonies earlier in the week, I would have missed it - Steph thought it started on Sunday. Nevertheless, I looked forward to watching the Opening Ceremonies all week and settled in on the couch with a big bag of popcorn (alone. pfft.) to watch the pomp and circumstance.
I LOVE the pomp and circumstance. I can't get enough of it. I love watching all the teams march into the arena, especially (in this year's case) the teams coming from places that never get below 70 degrees that consist of three people marching and two of them are coaches. I love the show the host country puts on, and even get teary-eyed with the inevitable Small Child Who Represents The Future runs from one side of the arena to the other (and Turin didn't disappoint). I love the tradition of the representatives of the athletes and judges who pledge on behalf of all the play fair. I love how the representative of the host country declares that the games are officially open. I REALLY love the way each country tries to outdo the others when it comes time to light the flame in the arena. I love it all.
I don't just love the ceremonies; in the past, I've had the tv always on during the two weeks of competition, whether it be Summer or Winter. That's going to be less doable here, since we don't have satellite or cable and they only show stuff in the evenings on the major channels - but whatever I can get, I'll be watching.
So, here are my impressions of the Opening Ceremonies (not in chronological order):
- Cutest part of the Presentation: The Child Who Represents the Future running across the arena, of course. This year we had a little girl in a red dress. She was cute.
- Oddest part of the Presentation: What was up with the guys doing Judo? Is Martial Arts very huge in Italy? Can anyone explain that to me?
- They obviously didn't think this through: I did like how they put the athletes in the middle of the arena - after all, they are the focus of the games. It was unfortunate, however, that they decided to put the podium in the middle of the athletes. I appreciate what they were trying to do, but it seems that one thing really is true for people from all over the world - put a camera in front of a crowd, and they're all gonna try to wave to their mommas. Even the ones from Mongolia.
- Cheesy yet cool moment: Aw, look at the acrobats crawling around the wall of netting. Oh look, they've made a Dove, the international symbol of peace. Should've seen that coming, but it was still cool.
- Strangest bit of commentary: I don't know what they said in other places, but the French commentators introduced Peter Gabriel as "the former lead singer of Genesis." 'Cause, you know, he hasn't been doing much these last twenty-five years since he left the band. Good job the Olympics called him up and asked him to sing.
- Moment of fear that turned out alright: When Yoko Ono appeared, I thought, "NO DON'T LET HER SING!" but of course it turned out fine. Bless her old Beatle-breaking-up heart.
- Best testosterone moment: The Ferrari race car that was put together on stage and then burnt rubber donouts in the middle of the arena. I couldn't help myself, I was screaming "Hell Yeah!" at the tv.
- Favorite surprise celebrity: Sophia Loren looks GOOD, y'all. For real.
- Verdict of torch lighting: Can't go wrong with fireworks, ever. Maybe a bit less traditional than normal, but freakin' spectacular to look at.