Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport… the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat… the human drama of athletic competition… This is ABC’s Wide World of Sports!
I don’t know about you, but these words still touch a deep emotional cord. I was reminded of that show after Queen Latifah who is in Vancouver supporting Team USA, said, “I wish I could see every event. Ever since I was a little kid, since I watched Wide World of Sports on ABC, I always wanted to see the ski jump. I want to see someone fly down that hill, go up in the air and then land and nail it.”
Like her, I began my love affair with sports watching Jim McKay “span the globe” to bring celebrations of the human spirit into my home. It’s no wonder that I am glued to the competitions of the Olympic games, Wimbledon and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships (just to name a few) since these were all featured on that groundbreaking program. In fact, Wide World of Sports was the first to cover Wimbledon and March Madness.
So here’s to Queen Latifah and all the fans (like my friends Nate and Molly) who are in Vancouver to support our athletes. The Queen said it best, “It’s international. It’s us. It’s America. It’s the world. It’s Canada doing a great job representing their country, and giving us a great show, and welcoming us.” I’m right there with you in spirit.
I may not have been able to see them live (even though they took place in my own timezone – NBC you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do) or in person… but here’s my take on the highlights and lowlights of the opening ceremonies.
Best scarf – Canada
Most French – Great Britain
Most fashionable – Italy
Best knits – Andorra followed by United States (hat)
Best hat – Cayman Islands and Iceland
Most innovative use of the recent paisley fashion trend – Azerbaijan
Preppiest – Bermuda followed by Monaco
Most tragic use of prints – Finland followed by Czech Republic
Best jackets – Peru
Biggest flashback to the 80s – Germany and Poland followed (with love) by Bryan Adams
Best use of trendy colors (yellow and turquoise) – Sweden
Best sweater and belt combination – United States
Best mittens – Canada
Best performance – Beat Poet Shane Koyczan
Most mesmerizing – Orcas swimming through the ocean
Best song – Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now followed by k.d. lang’s Hallelujah
Coolest graphics – Native American motifs
Most surprising – Donald Sutherland is Canadian
Least surprising but biggest no-brainer – Wayne Gretzky lighting the torch
images: courtesy msnbc.com
Vancouver, British Columbia holds pivotal moments for me. Threads in my life today spin back to two trips I took in the 80s. I was young and impressionable and through those visits found that I love international travel (well any travel really), cosmopolitan cities, people, photography, and yes… decadent hotels.
The trips were so different, but together they left an indelible impression on me – one was a week-long international exchange and the other a weekend at the Four Seasons with my aunt. Both were heady experiences. I had just started experimenting with photography on a simple point and shoot. A few of those trips’ sights and sounds are captured on film, but most are just memories – sensory experiences whose images have never faded. The strongest impressions remain…
- Walking into a warm and comforting pool solarium at the Four Seasons Hotel that was surrounded by floor to ceiling windows with views of the city’s twinkling skyline. Swimming in that pool at night was like a dream.
- Discovering a seemingly similar culture that was much more unique than I imagined and whose depth could only be discovered by being there. An experience I’ve since repeated in Japan and Italy.
- The smell of sugar. We visited a raw sugar warehouse where sugar crystals attached to the air’s humidity and swirled around all of us like ethereal cotton candy. We all breathed it in and never wanted to stop.
- The constant buzz of the city – its energy and sophistication created a place on par with a shiny new toy, but with a buzz of activity that was palpable and addictive.
Queen Elizabeth Park – Bloedel Conservatory (love the mid-century modern style of architectural features in this photo)
Queen Elizabeth Park
American and Canadian Exchange Students (including me) playing around on the bus to the aquarium
Aunt Janice and I (at Halloween) – Unfortunately I don’t have any photographs of our trip (check out the old school Nikes I have on my feet)
Like Portland, Vancouver has changed a lot since that decade. I’m just a hop, skip and a jump from getting the chance to discover it all over again. And this time the city’s energy will be through the roof – multiplied by athletes and enthusiasts and journalists from around the world. My heart skips a beat just thinking about being a part of that experience.