Sunday, February 28, 2010

Vancouver Closing Ceremony (Photos)

The closing ceremony of the Vancouver games was pretty nice, but it included some awkward, inappropriate things.

I wasn't exactly in the mood, still feeling a bit spent after the gold medal hockey game.

It was especially annoying the way hosts Bob Costas and Al Michaels kept bringing up Canada's win.

Basically, the ceremony was run-of-the-mill stuff, but it also contained an unusual, unbridled, and, in my opinion, unbecoming nationalism.

At times, it didn't seem like the closing ceremony of the 2010 Winter Games. It seemed like a celebration of the success of Canadian athletes, not the achievements of the athletes of the world. It was a Canadian self-congratulatory event.

Still, there were some pleasant moments.

It was kind of cute the way it opened, making fun of the Olympic flame cauldron malfunction of the opening ceremony. A guy with clown makeup managed to get the fourth arm up.

A clown playfully connects two power wires to raise an arm from the Olympic Cauldron during the closing ceremony for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Sochi, Russia, the site of the 2014 Winter Games, did its presentation.

Neil Young sang "Long May You Run," a reprise of his farewell to Conan O'Brien. It served as a reminder that Jay Leno returns as host of The Tonight Show on Monday night.

Singer Neil Young performs during the closing ceremony for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

The Olympic flame was doused during Young's song apparently. All of sudden it was extinguished. I missed it.

William Shatner's recitation was goofy.

Canadian actor William Shatner delivers a monologue during the closing ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, February 28, 2010. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen (CANADA)

Catherine O'Hara's monologue was sort of funny and a little crude.

Actress and comedienne Catherine O'Hara performs during the closing ceremony for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Michael J. Fox talked about his pride in Canada. He said he's lived in the U.S. for thirty years but Canada is his home team. Fox said, "If I'm watching the U.S. and Canada playing hockey, I'm sorry, I'm wearing a maple leaf on my sweater." OK.

Michael Buble sang "Maple Leaf Forever."

The giant hockey player figures wearing red and white uniforms and gold medals around their necks were more than a bit in-your-face.

Performers skate during the closing ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics February 28, 2010. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn (CANADA)

There were lumberjacks running around with inflatable beavers and moose.

An inflatable beaver is rolled on the stage during the closing ceremony for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

It was so very heavy on Mounties and "O Canada."

Enough with the maple leaf already.

Closing ceremonies usually have more of an emphasis on the party and celebration and world unity than on tourism and the pride of the host nation.

I don't remember the Beijing ceremony being such a hometown pep rally.

Chris Plys, member of the USA curling team, shares on Twitter that some athletes were put off by Canada's celebration rally posing as the closing ceremony.

He writes:

i think canada crossed the line tonight in the closing ceremonies. this was the olympic closing ceremonies not the canadian after party....

it really has nothing to do with culture, that was great. but athletes that lost today were present and it was kinda disrespectful

not that i was affected by it personally but talking to the athletes that were affected, they were offended.

The closing ceremonies are a celebration of unity. That's why we all walk in together. I think that's why it upset me

That's coming from an Olympian, an athlete, a person at the ceremony.

I had the same vibe watching on TV, like it was Canada's after party, a celebration of the Canadians' achievements.

What happened next was really strange. The closing ceremony didn't end yet, but when it hit 9:30 CT, NBC left the festivities and went to its premiere of a new program, The Marriage Ref.


That was weird.

No five minutes of closing credits. No goodbyes from Costas. Just a reminder to catch the "closing party" at 11:30 ET. There was no smooth transition. It was very abrupt and handled very, very poorly.

Really strange.

I've got to believe NBC is getting some complaints about that move.


The NBC network coverage returned after its "pause" to air The Marriage Ref (I didn't watch it) and local news.

Bob Costas referred to it as an "intermission."

No, it wasn't an intermission. It was a blunder.

When NBC resumed coverage there were more musical acts, fireworks, and a few interviews with athletes attending the closing ceremony.

Fireworks explode over the BC Place after the closing ceremony of the Vancouver Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky)

A brief segment plugging the Summer Games in London 2012 was shown.

Al Michaels and Bob Costas gave their closing thoughts.

Then came at least ten minutes of credits accompanied by scenes of the Canadian landscape and some moments from the Olympics.

Who was the last highlighted athlete? Canada's Sidney Crosby.

Thanks, NBC, for sticking in the knife and then twisting it.


Bill said...

Big Bonehead move on NBC's part. I hope another network gets the Olympic bid next round.

grace :) said...

wow! sounds like you and Chris Plys have something in common...sour grapes! Vancouver hosted a funny and typically (for canadians) self deprecating look at all things "canadiana" with tongue firmly planted in cheek. btw i'm an american living in Canada and i think they presented themselves amazingly well. they had a lot to be proud of and included everyone in the opposed to ones who would obnoxiously yell 'USA USA USA" till the worlds ears begin to bleed....

Mary said...

Sour grapes? Are you kidding?

Keep in mind, I'm talking about the closing ceremony of the OLYMPICS, a celebration for all.

I think it's completely appropriate for Canadians to be proud of their country. I'm proud of mine.

It would be interesting to watch the Salt Lake closing ceremony and compare how much emphasis was put on the host nation. I don't recall celebrities coming out and talking about their pride in the U.S. or their allegiance to America.

As an American, you find it obnoxious when fans chant "'USA' till the worlds ears begin to bleed"?

Oh, man. That's revealing.

There's nothing wrong with cheering for one's athletes. I like the displays of nationalism and the flag-waving at the Olympics. There's a time and a place for it.

That's the point.


FYI, NBC will be carrying the Olympics in London.

Mommy L said...

Ya, you are just upset that the US didn't come home with the Gold and that Canada had more Gold medals than ANY other country, something that all Canadians have every right to be proud of and celebrate, and yes, celebrate at the Closing ceremonies....after all, they did graciously host the games you need to remember that. In addition, Canada had NEVER had a Gold medal on home soil, you need to remember that they have a lot to be proud of and any other country would do exactly the same thing had they been in the same position.

FYI The Gold medals were on the giant hockey players before the hockey round robin even started. AND and interesting not...the producers of the ceremonies were Australian....just thought you might like to digest that piece of info before you bash the creative team. Chris Plys is just mad he didn't win.

I was in the seating section with the Olympians of the world and they ALL loved it! They were cheering, high fiveing, dancing, hugging, crying etc etc (all the Olympians from all the countries). I was also on the field of play with them during the concert and they were dancing, signing each others programs, taking pictures, showing off their medals (rightly so!) saying their good the point where security was still politely trying to push everyone off the field of play 45 min after the conclusion of the ceremony....they were commenting to performers how much they loved the ceremonies and how much they had loved being in Canada. They were even trading their team regalia with the performers costumes. And all of the countries were still there partying, not just the Canucks.

If athletes were complaining (Chris) it was probably mostly from team USA because of the loss of the hockey game and that is also understandable...HOWEVER; the US had their chance at Salt Lake to showcase their country and they did and no one judged or complained...funny how the US is the first to criticize every other country out there....and you wonder why/how you get the rep you do on the world scale....