What a great finish to the Vancouver 2010 Olympics!

Olympic Closing Ceremonies ~ February 28, 2010

What a great finish to the Vancouver 2010 Olympics!

Clown-handyman fixes the caldron
Clown-handyman fixes the caldron

I thought the opening of the show was brilliant – the ultimate in Canadian self-deprecating humour. Let’s make fun of the big goof-up when the arm of the caldron failed to rise on opening night. So out of the floor climbs a handyman-clown – he fixes the broken arm by plugging it in, creating a shower of fireworks, and pulls it into position! Hilarious! And so nice that Catriona LeMay Doan finally got to use her torch, just 17 days late!

Neil Young - Long May She Run
Neil Young – Long May She Run

I know he’s a Canadian icon, but unfortunately, Neil Young cannot sing. He can’t carry a tune in the proverbial bucket. I remember when he recorded a line in Tears are Not Enough, a fundraiser for the famine in Ethiopia in 1985, and producer David Foster asked him to redo it because he was off-key – Neil just responded “That’s my sound, man.” I’m not anti-Neil Young: I have several of his albums on vinyl. He is a great songwriter and lyricist. I just wish he could sing his songs. Oh well, there are other great icons who can write ’em but can’t sing ’em – Leonard Cohen or Bob Dylan to name a couple. “Long May You Run” is a great song – an ode to Neil’s first car. The line “We found things to do in stormy weather” was very apropos.

To make up for Neil’s off-key tune, we had Michael Bublé – currently Canada’s best male vocalist. I enjoyed hearing his politically correct version of The Maple Leaf Forever. Michael, who recently showed his sense of humour as a guest host on Saturday Night Live, had fun appearing as a Mountie, then having the Mountie-chicks rip off his red serge uniform.

They only thing better than a Neil Young song and Michael Buble singing, would have been my personal favourite Canadian male singer – Burton Cummings. Wouldn’t it have been great to hear Burton sing “Share the Land”? Nothing could be more patriotic! I hear he put on a great show during Manitoba Day at the Olympics.

While I liked the idea of William Shatner and Catherine O’Hara doing Canadiana satires, I agree with some critics that they could have been funnier. It was great to see Michael J. Fox – I am so glad he hasn’t allowed Parkinsons to sideline him. The only improvements I’d suggest would be my two favourite Canadian comedians – where were Martin Short and Mike Myers? And while we were poking fun at stereotypes, how about inviting Graham Greene for some self-deprecating humour satirizing our First Nations?

Giant Mountie
Giant Mountie

The best part of the entire closing ceremonies was the giant air-filled things– mounties, players from a table hockey game, beavers, and moose, along with courier du bois dancing in canoes and maple leaves that looked like Las Vegas show girls! I’m sure all Canadians enjoyed the parody – and yes, I think the rest of the world got the joke, too. I heard one commentator say that it looked like a Canadian souvenir shop blew up.

And while it was good to see some French language added to the closing ceremonies (they came up with J’imagine to go with I Believe – Quebec singer Annie Villeneuve sang with Nikki Yanofsky), they went too far when they allowed Vanoc CEO John Furlong put some French lines into his speech. His French is absolutely atrocious and so embarrassing. Bring in someone else next time, John.

Overall the closing ceremonies were a wonderful wrap-up to a marvellous 17 days. Never have we seen Canadians so enthusiastic about their homeland!

Congratulations to all the Olympians and thank you for making us proud. Especially exciting for those of us in quiet rural southwestern Ontario is the big win by Scott Moir of Ilderton and Tessa Virtue of London – gold medal winners in Ice Dance. As a former hockey mom, who occasionally travelled to Ilderton arena, I remember 12 or 15 years ago, they had delicious hot chocolate with whipped cream and sprinkles on top. Little did we know that a future world champion was lining up at the snack bar with us! Anyway, I don’t think Ilderton could be any more proud of Scott!

So maybe we didn’t all-out “own the podium” – but our athletes sure made a very large down payment on it! Well done!

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