Ceremony has more surprises than secrets

Cobb: We owe it to the people to keep the surprise

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

VANCOUVER - K.D. Lang closed the Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics with a little bit of punk and a little bit of country. She is expected to help open the Vancouver Games on Friday night at B.C. Place Stadium.

Lang performed at the Wednesday night dress rehearsal before as many as 50,000 people, according to a source who attended the event. Bryan Adams performed a duet with Nelly Furtado while Sarah McLachlan also sang.

Tickets were not available for media and VANOC officials refuse to comment on the program, which begins at 5:45 p.m. PST.

VANOC deputy CEO Dave Cobb wouldn’t even comment Thursday on the number of performers involved.

“Canadians especially have been waiting for these Games for a long time and people, even my family, are saying I don’t want to know,” Cobb said. “We owe it to the people to keep the surprise.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and VANOC CEO John Furlong greeted the audience of volunteers, workers and sponsors Wednesday night. David Atkins, the Australian executive producer, thanked attendees and asked them not to divulge the secrets of the ceremony.

Members of the Four Host First Nations started the ceremony with a welcome greeting. Performers on the white floor were dressed in white, but cheerleaders in the grandstands sported red toques, white sweaters, grey skirts or pants and white footwear. The audience kit for interactive portions of the ceremony was not available.

A snowboarder flew through the Olympic rings. Four totem poles representing the Four Host First Nations popped up and slid out at centre stage. The event concluded abruptly before the portion of the ceremony in which the torch relay makes its final lap around the stadium and the cauldron is lit.

The identity of the final torchbearers and the eight people who will carry the Olympic flag remains a closely guarded secret. Documents obtained by QMI indicate the cauldron will be on a hydraulic lift, emerging from a shaft dug in the centre of the stadium’s floor.

A cauldron on a plaza dedicated to late VANOC chairman Jack Poole is expected to burn outdoors for the duration of the Games beside the Vancouver Convention Centre.

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