The Paralympic Games opened last night with a moving and memorable ceremony last night. Like their Olympic counterpart, they featured parading athletes, moving speakers, lots of dancing, and a fair amount of singing. These ones, however, placed a particular focus on youth and on the future of the growing Paralympic movement. The theme of the night was "one inspires many, a celebration of ability".
Students Live and Sharing the Dream members, dressed in our Opening Ceremony Ponchos and ready for audience participation!
Visually, two moments from the ceremony stand out. The first, occured when wheelchairs began to roll out from the gate below us, guiding giant balloons, which floated hauntingly overhead. The second was the women who signed a song from the center of BC Place, as flowers and spirals of colour sprung from beneath her.
Giant balloons, float hauntingly overhead
Flowers springing across the floor of BC Place
On a musical note, the high point of the night was when a purple-clad Nikki Yanofsky stepped onto the stage and, in her usual fashion, belted out a beautiful and inspiring melody, accompanied by a youth choir from Vancouver.
Nikki Yanofsky performing at the Paralympic Opening Ceremony
Lastly, the spiritual highlight of the night, undoubtedly, was a tear jerking homage to Terry Fox, ending with his parents carrying the torch into the stadium. Also of note was a portion dedicated to Rick Hansen. Opening and closing ceremonies producer, Patrick Roberge, was quoted earlier in the week by The Province as having remarked that "with national heroes such as Rick Hansen and Terry Fox, Canadians are "incredibly ready" to give their full support to international Paralympians."
The Paralympic Cauldron, surrounded by youth