Monday, July 13, 2015

Pan Am Opening Ceremony Flag and Torch Bearers

It's been a few days since the Opening Ceremony and I've had time to absorb my thoughts. I'm sure you've seen a lot of highlights so that's not what I want to focus on.

I don't like to criticize (and so didn't originally post this). For the past year or so I have heard people criticizing anything they could find to complain about the Pan Am Games. I have been a very strong supporter of the Games so the last thing I want to do is criticize something that I have been anticipating for so long.

So I slept on my thoughts waiting for it to simmer.

Let me start by saying that the Opening Ceremony was fantastic!! You can see some of my photos here. It went above and beyond my expectations. I was thrilled to see the rehearsal where they left us hanging as to who would carry the flags into the dome and who would be the last torchbearers, but I lost track of how many there were going to be. It seemed to go on for a really long time.

The rehearsal crowd went crazy when Donovan Bailey and the 1996 4x100m relay gold medal team were announced, just like they did for the Opening Ceremony.

I had thought of writing a blog post about who I thought would be flag bearers or torch bearers. Knowing there would be multiple, I thought perhaps my inside information would influence my choice. I decided that just like at the Opening Ceremony in Vancouver, I preferred to be surprised. Although a few names popped in my head, I decided to not think about it any further.

At the Vancouver Opening Ceremony, I was thrilled to be in the same building as Bobby Orr, Steve Nash, Catriona Le May Doan and Rick Hansen. I was surprised that they were again at the Pan Am Opening Ceremony as flag bearers or torch bearers.

They are legends in Canadian sport, but they are not the only ones. I felt like the TORONTO 2015 committee contacted the 2010 representatives. Wayne Gretzky can't make it? How about Mark Messier?

Here's an idea, how about Alexandre Despatie, Mark Tewksbury, Daniel Igali, Christine Sinclair or Clara Hughes? They may not be as well known as Bobby Orr (who I love btw - I have a Bobby Orr LP and had a Bobby Orr doll and puzzle growing up). This is a summer amateur Games and I just didn't feel that having NHL players represented was appropriate.

I loved 1984 Olympic silver medal winner Marita Payne-Wiggins (with her 4x400m relay team) passing the torch to her son NBA basketball player Andrew Wiggins and could appreciate why they brought back Steve Nash (from 2010) to light the cauldron. Even though they are professional basketball players, Steve Nash was instrumental in getting Canada to the Olympics in 2000 and hopefully Wiggins will lead Canada back to the Olympics in 2016.

Here are some other summer amateur/Olympic athletes that I would have contacted:

Clara Hughes
Brent Hayden
Curtis Myden
Alexandre Despatie
Ian Miller
Sylvie Bernier
Lesley Thompson
Ryder Hesjedal
Emilie Heymans
Silken Laumann
Christine Sinclair
Daniel Igali
Caroline Brunet
Mark Tewksbury
Carolyn Waldo

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