Games end on high note

By TERRY JONES, QMI Agency


A giant table hockey game in played during the Vancouver Olympics closing ceremony at B.C. Place Sunday, Feb 28, 2010. (MARTIN CHEVALIER/QMI AGENCY)

VANCOUVER — It was an Olympic Winter Games that didn’t really need a closing ceremony. Sidney Crosby’s overtime winner in the hockey finale, giving Canada a record 14 gold medals, would have worked just fine.

But they held one anyway, probably the most fun — and funny — closing ceremony in history, featuring tongue-in-cheek commentary on being Canadian by William Shatner, Catherine O’Hara and Michael J. Fox.

But the comedy club became a Michael Buble nightclub act. There was Neil Young. Nickelback. Avril Lavigne. Alanis Morissette.

It featured bobblehead mounties, hockey players skating to the one-time Hockey Night In Canada theme song, huge table-top hockey players (wearing gold medals) and a little kid dressed as a puck.

The massive inflated moose and beavers helped make it a stereotypical postcard of the country.

Just as when we were last at B.C. Place, things began Sunday night with three hydraulic arms of the Olympic cauldron raising — the fourth, which malfunctioned embarrassingly on opening night, remained in the ground once again. It was a joke, though, and the fourth arm went up eventually, finally giving Catriona Le May Doan her long-delayed chance to light the flame.

There was no delay in bringing the flag bearers, including Canada’s Joannie Rochette, and all the athletes of the world.

It seemed as if all the Canadian athletes, wearing old-time wool sweaters featuring a moose design, stayed around for the occasion — other than the men’s hockey players.

The parade of Canadians was so long they split it up and sent it in two directions, one leg finishing with Kevin Martin’s gold-medal winners — appropriate, because decades ago what they were wearing were known as curling sweaters.

The Olympic flag hand-off to the mayor of Sochi, Russia followed with the world’s longest rendition of the Russian national anthem.

A delightful Sochi presentation featured large “zorbs,” or giant glowing snowballs with electrical bubble boys inside, ballet dancers from the Bolshoi Theatre and Russian Olympians past and present — Vladislav Tretiak, Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Plushenko among them.

But this was Canada’s going-away party and Vancouver Organizing Committee head John Furlong stole the show before they really got to the show that ended with a string of performances by Simple Plan, Hedley, Marie-Mai and k-os.

Furlong began by talking about “the Canada we were and the Canada we are now” and said he believes the country is “more united now, more in love with our country and more connected to each other than ever before.

“Now you know us, eh?”

IOC President Jacques Rogge went overboard in praising Vancouver 2010.

“Thank you VANOC for an outstanding job,” Rogge said. “You have done it. You have won. These were excellent and very friendly Games.”

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca

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