Monday, February 15, 2010

My responsibilities at the Opening Ceremonies in Vancouver

If Vancouver was Pyongyang, I expect that many in the audience for the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic Games would now be in a gulag.

When I got to my seat, I saw that it was covered by a cardboard drum. Inside the blue drum was a Canadian flag, two flashlights, batteries, a drumstick, a baby-blue poncho, and a plastic card (the purpose of which eludes me to this day).

Members of the audience had expected a "pre-game show." Instead, we would spend the next hour training how to wave a flashlight and beat out a respectable rhythm on a cardboard drum.

Most television viewers likely did not notice the extent to which the audience had screwed up.

But I imagine the eight North Korean athletes in attendance (above photo) -- familiar with mass games --  were appalled by the lack of synchronization.

Truth be told, most sections of the stadium did not obey their section leaders; indeed, many of the section leaders appeared to have lost track of whether or not their section should, at a particular moment, do downward strokes with the colored flashlight or do the clockwise rotations.   

At one point towards the end of the ceremony I was juggling two cameras, a pair of binoculars, and one flashlight while looking for my drumstick which I had dropped.    Anyway, here are some pictures I managed to take despite the other responsibilities.

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