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Olympic organizers to make it snow indoors

Special effects, plans for opening ceremonies coming together

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Whistler will be an integral part of the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

That may even include making it snow in the covered B.C. Place Stadium, which will host the opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympics.

“I think there are some extraordinary opportunities audio-visually and in terms of sheer physical effects,” said David Atkins, executive producer of the ceremonies for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games (VANOC).

“I think to make it snow in that stadium is going to be not only unique, but incredibly exciting for the audience.”

Organizers are also hoping to make use of the satellite connections that will be in place to link the Medals Plaza in Whistler to the stadium in Vancouver.

“Because of that set-up it would obviously be wise to take advantage of it for the ceremonies,” said Atkins.

“There are lots of things being discussed and there is a lot of opportunity to make sure that it embraces all that.”

VANOC recently held a brainstorming session with 100 cultural innovators from across Canada to get a feel for what is culturally acceptable and what is not when it comes to putting together the opening and closing ceremonies.

While Atkins would not reveal any details he said there was a Whistler presence at those sessions.

“We have had cultural practitioners from Whistler (at the sessions) and there have been incredibly inventive and innovative ideas about how we can connect the two places in the course of the ceremony,” he said.

“But I can’t tell you what they are, of course.”

Discussions about the ceremonies are in their infancy but 80 per cent of the line-up, which will be a star-studded event, must be locked in one year before Games time. The remaining 20 per cent, said Atkins, is kept open so artistic directors can include up-to-the-minute material.

There have been some concerns about how the 2010 ceremonies will be received, coming as they do after this summer’s 2008 Beijing Games.

There is little doubt that the Beijing ceremonies will be the most lavish, the largest and likely the most expensive in Games’ history.

But organizers of the opening and closing ceremonies for Vancouver and Whistler’s 2010 Games see that as a blessing in disguise.

“I hope Beijing goes all out because it will mean… we can create a little pearl here, a gem, that will be more about spirit and the humanity of the Games than it will be about the spectacle of them,” said Atkins.

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