It may be snowing in Whistler’s covered B.C. Place Stadium, venue for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic place where the Opening and Closing Ceremonies will take place.
“I think there are some extraordinary opportunities audio-visually and in terms of sheer physical effects,” said David Atkins, executive producer of the ceremonies for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games (VANOC), reports Pique News Magazine. Atkins, was speaking at a Whistler Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
“I think to make it snow in that stadium is going to be not only unique, but incredibly exciting for the audience.”
Vancouver 2010 organizers are also hoping to make use of the satellite connections that will be in place to link the Medals Plaza in Whistler to the stadium in Vancouver.
“Because of that set-up it would obviously be wise to take advantage of it for the ceremonies,” said Atkins.
“There are lots of things being discussed and there is a lot of opportunity to make sure that it embraces all that,” said Atkins.
Discussions about the ceremonies are in their infancy but 80 per cent of the line-up, which reportedly will be a star-studded event, must be locked in one year before Games time. The remaining 20 per cent, said Atkins, is kept open so artistic directors can include up-to-the-minute material.
There have been some concerns about the 2010 ceremonies, which follow the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games expected to be the most lavish, largest and probably the most expensive ceremonies in Games’ history.
But organizers of the opening and closing ceremonies for Vancouver and Whistler’s 2010 Games see that as a blessing in disguise, reports Pique. “I hope Beijing goes all out because it will mean… we can create a little pearl here, a gem, that will be more about spirit and the humanity of the Games than it will be about the spectacle of them,” said Atkins. “I think to a certain extent scale has overcome the content, the form has overcome the content.
“The budgets for Athens and Beijing… are just staggering budgets and you have to question whether the final result was value for money,” he said, adding that the 2010 ceremonies might set a new precedent for Olympic celebrations by bringing them back to Olympic ideals such as peace, and making the world a better place to live through sport.
“(Coming after the Beijing Games gives) us the unique opportunity to redefine the ways these ceremonies are actually performed and to draw them back to their essences,” said Atkins. “…We have to re-examine the whole process and redefine the whole reason these ceremonies were created.”
He said, “I think to make it snow in (B.C. Place) is going to not only be unique, but incredibly exciting for the audience,” adding that up to 7,000 performers will be needed to pull-off the opening.
A successful opening ceremony can have a great impact on the Games, said Atkins, who also produced the ceremonies for the Sydney 2000 Summer Games.
When the opening gala event took place about 85 per cent of tickets were sold. Within 24 hours of the event ticket sales had gone up to 95 per cent, and two days later every sporting event was sold out, reports Pique.
In all, about four billion people are expected to tune in their televisions for the Games, from the opening ceremonies, through the medal ceremonies, to the closing event.