Today marks the start of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. This will be Canada’s second Winter Olympics (Calgary hosted in 1988). David Atkins, the director of the opening and closing ceremonies at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, is the mastermind behind the ceremonies in Vancouver this year.
Although the details of the event are a closely guarded secret, here are a five factoids about this year’s opening ceremonies:
Five Factoids about tonight’s Opening Ceremonies in Vancouver
Canada spent $40 million for the February 12 opening ceremonies, making it the most expensive opening ceremonies in Winter Olympics history.
The 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremonies will be the first ever to be held indoors. It’s a good thing, because rain is often in Vancouver’s forecast!
Because it is the birthplace of the Olympic Games, Greece always leads the march of the athletes. After the Greek team, the countries will follow alphabetical order from Albania to Uzbekistan, with the host team, Canada, appearing last.
The flag bearer for the Canadian team is Clara Hughes, a cyclist and speed skater and the first athlete to win multiple Olympic medals in both the Summer and Winter games. She won the gold medal in the 2006 Winter Olympics for the women’s 5000 meter speed skating by 1.01 seconds!
Doves on fire!
One of the traditions of every Olympic opening ceremony is the release of doves, which symbolize peace. Originally the doves were released before the lighting of the Olympic cauldron. But in the 1988 Seoul Summer Games several doves perched on the cauldron and went up in flames, forcing the International Olympic Committee to change the traditional order. Yikes!
The opening ceremonies are guaranteed to be a spectacle. Tune into NBC at 7:30 p.m. EST or check your local TV listings to catch the Olympic spirit and cheer your country on!