Talk of the Games
The medal standings tell only part of the sports story of what's happening at the Games. For the rest, check out the latest dispatches from The Seattle Times' sports crew of columnists, reporters and producers.
No answer yet for Ceremony mechanical failure --- and Luge to go on
Posted by Bob Condotta
Organizers of Friday night's Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony said it was still uncertain the reason for a mechanical failure that marred the torch lighting ceremony.
One of the four arms that was supposed to come together to form the cauldron failed to rise from the floor, creating a delay until the lighting went on with just three.
"I'm still not personally sure what took place,'' said David Atkins, the executive producer and artistic director during a post-event press conference. "One of the arms was not able to be delivered to the field of play. Fortunately, we were able to function with three arms, as you saw, and the team did an extraordinary job at the last seconds to recover from that.''
Atkins said it was same piece of equipment that had worked perfectly earlier in rising and returning the four "welcome poles'' that signified the Four Host First Nations.
"Guess we'll know later what went wrong,'' he said. "It's a very complex piece of machinery and truly had to dance its place into its final position.''
Organizers also revealed there was almost a delay for the beginning of the ceremony when some of the leaders of the Four Host First Nations were late in arriving --- some of the protests apparently were to blame.
Combined with the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, the Opening Ceremony issues made for an especially trying day for John Furlong, head of the Vancouver Organizing Committee,
"It was just about the most challenging day you could ever imagine,'' Furlong said. "A day like no other. In a 1,000 years I would have never dreamed we would have had to deal with the things we had to deal with today.'' Furlong, however, praised the Ceremony, saying "it was a great lift for all of us.''
VANOC also announced at the press conference that the luge competition will go on as planned with the track reopening following a raising of the wall where the accident occurred as well as a changing of the ice profile. The decision was made in consulation with the International Luge Federation, VANOC announced.
Atkins took a philosophical approach to the malfunction, saying it gave proof that the ceremony was indeed a live performance.
"It's a live performance and all of those things happen,'' he said. "It's that excitement that makes it worthy, in a lot of ways. It's a reminder to me that that's what we do.''
Wayne Gretzky, one of the final torch lighters, revealed that the five involved had known since October but had not known who else was involved or the specifics and that it wasn't until this week when they all arrived and were brought to a rehearsal that they knew how it would unfold,
Here is the official press release from VANOC that has all the details on the Opening Ceremony (if none of the answers for what went wrong).
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