Luge Death Can't Dim Opening Bash

50K pack indoor arena to kick off Vancouver Olympics
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2010 8:55 PM CST
Updated Feb 12, 2010 10:58 PM CST
Luge Death Can't Dim Opening Bash
Aboriginal people of Canada perform during tonight's opening ceremony for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Despite the training-run death earlier in the day of a luger from the country of Georgia, the Olympics' opening ceremonies went on tonight in Vancouver, with a jubilant countdown by the crowd filling BC Place Stadium. The festive mood, and the opening rain of confetti, contrasted sharply with the grief that befell the games earlier in the day when luger Nodar Kumaritashvili of the republic of Georgia died in a horrific crash on the sliding track at Whistler.

While protesters and rain clouds gathered outside, more than 50,000 ticketholders packed into the stadium for the evening extravaganza, the first Olympic opening or closing ceremony ever held indoors. According to program, the show was to climax with the Olympic cauldron being lit jointly by four Canadian sports heroes—hockey great Wayne Gretzky, skier Nancy Greene, speedskater Katrina LeMay Doan, and basketball All-Star Steve Nash. (Read more 2010 Vancouver Olympics stories.)

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