Opening Ceremonies

The end of week one neared and that meant that the beginning of the Olympics was nearly upon us.  I was eagerly awaiting Derek’s arrival.  Some of the research room gets assigned to Opening Ceremony duty – but I wasn’t one of those assigned.  So – I figured I would watch the Opening Ceremony on Russian TV back at the hotel.  But in an amazing stroke of luck – around mid-day on Friday, I was offered a ticket to the Opening Ceremony!!!

I guess they had seven or so tickets that flowed down to the research room – and they gave them to the people whose shifts allowed them to go.  Amazing!!! I came here not expecting to see anything except a lot of curling and maybe some events on TVs in the research room – so this was an unbelievable stroke of luck.  At first – I  turned it down – I had told Derek I would meet him at the hotel and he would be arriving right at the beginning of the ceremony.  So I felt terrible not being there for him – especially since I knew he would be really tired.

But after some consideration – I realized that this was really an opportunity of a lifetime.  Attending an Opening Ceremony for an Olympics?  For free?  Incredible.  I agonized over it, but decided to go and hope that he would understand.  I ended up sitting with Michael and Max to watch it.  Our seats were great and the Opening Ceremony was truly a memory for a lifetime.

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Fischt Stadium is beautiful and inspiring – just sweeping in its construction.

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The failed ring opening:

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People in lit up costumes forming the Russian flag (with the crazed flag waver in front of us):

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The parade of nations was visually spectacular – as a ramp lowered in the middle of the stadium to allow the athletes to march up and into the stadium; they flashed the country name (in 3 languages) on the stadium floor along with a satellite image of the country from space.  The overhead view was stunning.  I cheered loudly for the US of course – but also for my assigned flagbearer countries (one of our early jobs in the room is to find out who will be carrying the flags for each country so that they can get the graphics prepared for the broadcast).

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I took pictures of several countries – but don’t want to clog up the blog – so here are just a few.  The United States (of course):

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Timor Leste (East Timor) – the one athlete delegation that was one of my assigned flagbearer countries – go Yohan Goutt Concalves!

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The Jamaican bobsled team:IMG_0188

And of course the Russian team – the crowd went crazy – it was fun to be amidst all that energy!

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They did a great job making it a visual spectacle – particularly the way that they intertwined the graphics on the floor with the dancers on the stage.  And then the huge objects that they suspended and had floating into the stadium.  It was clearly a history of Russia, but as I hadn’t read the brochure that was provided at our seat, it was a fairly impressionistic history for me.

I felt so lucky to be there – and it was an amazing night.  Derek was awake when I arrived back and he totally understood why I took the ticket.  I’m sure I babbled on for many minutes to him in my excitement – he probably just wanted to get some sleep.

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