Who will light cauldron?
Opening ceremony details leaking
By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency
Wayne Gretzky is the frontrunner to light the cauldron at the opening ceremony on Friday. (QMI Agency/Carmine Marinelli)
VANCOUVER -- The 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremony will include local pop stars Bryan Adams and Sarah McLachlan, a performer ski jumping through Olympic rings and hundreds of performers dressed in red toques and white sweaters, according to QMI sources.
Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean will formally open the Games on Friday night at B.C. Place Stadium while VANOC CEO John Furlong and International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge will greet the athletes and the worldwide TV audience.
Vancouver Olympic organizers have not commented on the program details for the 6 p.m. PST/9 p.m. EST extravaganza, but elements have slowly leaked in recent days. The last dress rehearsal was Wednesday night for an audience of sponsors and volunteers. Tickets were not available for reporters.
The ceremony will have heavy aboriginal involvement and themes. A source who was inside the stadium during Saturday rehearsals said a song featuring Adams and an unidentified female singer included aboriginal drumming and chanting with the chorus “sing something louder so the whole world can hear.”
A fireworks display around the perimeter of the stadium’s roof dazzled neighbouring condominium dwellers after Monday's dress rehearsal.
The Olympic flame cauldron will be on a hydraulic lift from a shaft dug in the middle of the air-supported dome's new false-floor. The 1983-opened stadium’s fabric ceiling is dirty from rock concerts and monster truck shows and will be obscured by circular curtains that will double as acoustic buffers. Both the cauldron and the curtains were key items described in an April 2009 list obtained by QMI that outlined Australian executive producer David Atkins’ demands of VANOC.
The identity of the person who will light the cauldron remains the biggest secret, but hockey legend Wayne Gretzky is the most likely. There will be at least one more cauldron which will burn outdoors beside the international broadcast centre on a plaza dedicated to VANOC founding chairman Jack Poole.
Cancer-victim Poole died Oct. 23 in a Vancouver hospital, just hours after the Olympic flame was lit in Ancient Olympia, Greece. British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell would not deny there would be a burning tribute to Poole.
“I’m sure you’re going to know more about it, there’s no point in keeping it secret forever,” Campbell told QMI on Monday. “You’ll hear all sorts of great stuff about Jack Poole in the next few days and, deservedly so, these are his Olympics.”