Still reeling from sensory overload from the opening ceremony. The one in Turin was my first in person and it was lovely. But it’s hard to believe anything ever will compare with the precision of Sunday’s opener in Beijing.
The artistry was overwhelming, the precision was stunning, and the power was awe-inspiring. Mind you, as a friendly reporter next to me noted, it’s a little easier to gather 10,000 army acrobats when you’re a totalitarian government.
It’s an advantage Vancouver won’t have in 2010, that’s for sure. But 2010 winter chief John Furlong didn’t sound too worried about it when he spoke with Canadian Press in the afterglow of the closing fireworks.
“Will we have a show like that? No. Will we have a show that’s wholly Canadian? Of course it will and it will inspire the world,” he said.
Furlong said there were more than a few times he looked at the show and wondered, “How did they do that?
“But also, if they can do that, then I can do something as creative.”
There certainly is no shortage of creativity in Canada. The trick will be to pick the right folks and let them loose.
Perhaps Canada will want to throw a changeup, if you want to use the sports parlance. China was very high-brow and cultured on Friday night. Sydney’s show in 2000 was more fun, and it might be wise for Vancouver to take a page from Australia’s book and have a little bit of fun with things.
In an interview with the Star in June in his Vancouver office, Furlong said Canadians don’t necessarily want to be defined by stereotypical Moose and Mountie shows. “Except the rest of the world gets great pleasure out of seeing those things.”
Furlong said he remembers making his presentation to International Olympic Committee members in Prague in 2004, when Vancouver was given the Winter Olympics.
“We had two RCMP officers in the room during the presentation. When it was over, one of the IOC members told me, ‘When they walked into that hall, they had our complete attention.’”
WHAT’S IN A NAME
Hard to believe, but there’s an equestrian athlete representing Britain who goes by the name of Daisy Dick. And she’s actually a pretty good quote. She was asked about her dressage performance down in Hong Kong on Saturday and replied, “I am not satisfied. I find the horse a bit tense and he finds every flower-pot terrifying.”
Australian women’s basketball coach Jan Stirling got to meet Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at a game the other day. Obviously, the guy makes friends fast. “I’ve never really met Kev before, it was wonderful to have the Prime Minister there and a great thrill for the girls.”
You gotta love a country where they refer to the PM by half of his first name. You think anyone from China calls President Hu Jintao “Jin?” And lives to tell about?
IT HAD TO BE HU
Chinese leader Hu Jintao had a busy time of things on Thursday. Xinhua News Agency put out a list of his appointments late that day that read something like:
15:41: Chinese president meets Laotian president
16:12: Chinese president meets Serbian president
16:42: Chinese president meets Belarus president
17:12: Chinese president meets president of Montenegro
17:42: Chinese president meets Brazilian president
Wow. Think they talked about Brett Favre going to the Jets? How boring could this possibly be for Hu, anyway? And where was Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s session? Oh, yeah, we forgot.
It costs eight RMB (about $1.35) for a tall Tsing Tao beer at the media village. It’s also 8 RMB for a smaller one. Which begs the question, who’s buying the small ones for the same price as a large? And how do we get their journalists’ license revoked?
Colleague Doug Smith we think has already mentioned this, but the rooftop Coca-Cola bar at the main press centre here has last call at midnight. A lot of sports don’t even end until 11, and guys – and girls – don’t finish work until 2 or 3 a.m. many days. So what’s with the earlier closing? Is this Toronto 1956 or something?