Now that I can feel all ten of my toes again, I can finally begin to recount the wonderful night that was the Olympic Torch relay stop in Edmonton.
Though there were activities all along the relay route, including stops in Old Strathcona and at the Legislature, I joined in on the festivities in progress at City Hall. I arrived just in time to see a short comedic piece about the origins of the torch by Teatro la Quindicina, and to listen to a spirited rendition of The Olympic Theme by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.
City Room festivities
Athletes that had competed in the Olympics and Paralympics were recognized, and with that, the crowd dispersed into a rapidly filling Churchill Square.
May and me
The relay path to the stage
The crowd was treated to entertainment that included local group Asani, but for the most part, the stage presence came from seasoned relay stopover performers. The RBC MC earned my admiration as the most energetic of the bunch, and was able to elicit quite the noise from the crowd, while the Coke acrobats stole the show with their flexibility and fluid movements. While the “you’re the best crowd we’ve seen so far” statements rang hollow, I appreciated how well rehearsed and theatrical the entire show was.
As we danced in place in a futile effort to keep warm, I couldn’t help but marvel at how cool it was to be among the pulsing crowd, alongside hundreds of other Edmontonians about to witness our leg of the Olympic journey. The excitement was palpable.
The moment we’d all been waiting for arrived in a flurry of camera flashes – I could barely see torch carrier Dorren Ryan as she made her way to the stage, and was thankful for the footlong flame to guide my eye and camera lens.
The torch arrives!
Up on stage, she lit the celebratory caldron, and the crowd erupted in cheers.
Though I think more entertainment followed the climactic moment, we decided to book it in favour of heat. I’m really happy to have been a part of the evening though – bravo to the organizers, and to my fellow Edmontonians who came out for the event!