Sunday, February 28, 2010

Done and done

The 2010 Winter Olympics is over now. Canada ended up with a record 26 medals altogether, including 14 Gold medals. What an amazing achievement for Canada!

Canada received its final medal today in the Men's Ice Hockey game: I think you all probably know that Canada won over the US in overtime. We didn't watch the game (I think I've mentioned before that we don't care for Olympic hockey) although we were thrilled that Canada beat the US in both Women's and Men's hockey. It isn't just about the medals... it's about beating the US. :)

The venue for the closing ceremonies was pretty well identical to that of the opening ceremonies; everyone in the stands wore white so that flags and information could be projected onto them.

The closing ceremonies opened with a mime sequence parodying the technical problems encountered in the opening ceremonies. The errant pillar was lit correctly this time. :)

I liked The Sichu presentation where Russia was showing off its winter wonderland, its icons, and superstars. They managed to show different eras and aspects of the Russian culture in different parts of the presentation. There were some parts that looked positively otherworldly, like the very beginning sequence and the guys in the Zorbs. They also showed figure skaters in Sochi on ice that is right at the edge of the water... it was a clear night there and the moon was shining onto the dark, dark water... it was so beautiful. Amazingly, they also had a conductor in Vancouver conducting an orchestra in Moscow - how awesome is that?

The middle part of the closing ceremonies was quite boring... I know that closing speeches by officials are a required element of the closing ceremonies but I wish there was a way to speed them up... or to give them in just one language. After the speeches, Neil Young sang.He's one of my least favourite singers ever and I would have been happier if someone else had been chosen to sing. His songs are great; he's a brilliant poet, but a good singer he is not.

The final act was worth watching. The closing ceremonies definitely ended on some funny notes :) I knew they were doing the "I am Canadian" thing, but I didn't expect much after the speeches and what. We laughed and laughed when it turned out to be William Shatner did the closing speech! He even called Canada "the final frontier" - how hilarious is that? His speech was followed by Catherine O'Hara doing a comedy sketch with slides and it was too funny!

I didn't think they could top that... but they did, with Michael J Fox. He got a partial standing ovation. Each of these performers thanked the visitors and athletes for coming to Canada and being here in their own funny way.

Michael Buble performed a fine rendition of The Maple Leaf Forever accompanied by a lovely spectacular with mounties, hockey players, maples leaves, canoes, and huuuge versions of mounties, hockey players, beavers, and flying moose. They left no Canadian stereotype out - the attendees were all given flashing moose antlers to wear, too - how Canadian, eh? It was funny and silly and light-hearted all at the same time.

After that huge performance, it was time to party! The floor turned into a huge dance area/mosh pit area so that people could really enjoy themselves during the live performances. Nickelback took the stage first, followed by Avril Lavigne, Alanis Morissette, Simple Plan (they're from Montreal? Who knew), Hedley, Marie-Mai, K-OS,  and finally Scrap Art Music. I loved the coloured beach balls gloating through the crowd at the end... they were so pretty.

For better or for worse, all of these performers all clearly sang and played their songs; there was no lip-synching here. Most acts performed quite well - even Avril did ok, and she used to be pretty bad during live performances. I loved how a variety of artists from different parts of the country (including French artists) and different music styles performed. There was a little of almost all kinds of music during this concert. It seemed like the crowd didn't really connect with all of the artists, though. During some performances, the crowd on the floor wasn't dancing or moving around even though the music was catchy.

So that's it... another Olympics is over. Congrats, Canada!

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