Column: A chronological look at the Olympic Opening Ceremonies

-á-á-á-á-á-á-á The Olympics are finally here, which means the opening ceremony is also here. Here are some of the highlights:

8:46 p.m. ---á NBC's Bob Costas sits down to interview President George W. Bush. I smell a "Saturday Night Live" skit in the making.

8:53 p.m. -- Would it really be a sporting event without R. Kelly singing a song of inspiration? Gee, the video montage of past Olympic Winter Games seems to have a whole lot of Americans in it.

9:08 p.m. -- The flag that flew at the World Trade Center is brought into the stadium. It is definitely a somber moment, until Costas chimes in with, "The temperature here is in the 20s."

-á-á-á-á-á-á-á 9:14 p.m. -- Now we move on to the ever-popular artistic portion of the opening ceremony. I'm not really sure what it is about, something to do with a storm, a child and the "the fire within." What I'm really impressed by are the people walking around on the ice on stilts. Stilts!

9:18 p.m. -- Costas comments on the performance like it was an NBA game by saying, "It isn't going so well for the child of light right now, but I have a feeling it will turn around." If he had added "in the second half," it would have been perfect.

9:23 p.m. -- Here comes Greece. For those of you who don't know, Greece is always the first in the parade of countries. The rest of the countries then come in alphabetical order with the host country coming in at the end.

9:29 p.m. -- Bermuda's one athlete enters the stadium. I think he should get some kind of medal just for wearing shorts in Utah in February.

9:39 p.m. -- Costas uses the words calamity and imbibing. He must have gotten one of those "Word a Day" calendars last Christmas.

9:41 p.m. -- Isn't that former NFL great Steve Young carrying Great Britain's name placard!? It is! I guess you can take the Mormon out of Utah, but you can't take the Utah out of the Mormon.

9:53 p.m. -- Prince Albert of Monaco is competing in his fifth Olympic Winter Games as a bobsledder. Why can't our political leaders participate in Olympic events? I'd pay good money to see Dick Cheney compete in the ski jump. Once. Just once.

10:03 p.m. -- I just noticed how many attractive female winter athletes are being shown. Good job, cameraMEN.

10:10 p.m. -- USA! USA!

10:26 p.m. -- There are now 67 golden eagle skaters on the ice. I just felt I had to mention this because it will probably be the only time in my life when I have the chance to say "67 golden eagle skaters."

10:36 p.m. -- Now the child of light leads "pioneers" in horse-drawn covered wagons onto the ice. Am I the only one who thinks mixing horses and a skating surface is a bad idea?

10:40 p.m. -- OK, now I'm really lost. There seem to be skaters dressed as coyotes and mountain lions squaring off in some type of animal stare down. You know who I hope wins? You guessed it. I don't care.

10:46 p.m. -- Hoedown!

10:49 p.m. -- Other countries may have great opera singers or ballet dancers perform at their Olympic opening ceremonies, but don't fear; we have the Dixie Chicks.

11:09 p.m. -- President Bush officially opens the Winter Games. It's about time.

11:25 p.m. -- The torch is finally in the stadium. Who's going to get to light the flame? Oh, the suspense is killing me.

11:30 p.m. -- "Do you believe in miracles?" The cauldron is lit by the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" U.S.A. men's hockey team. It really isn't much of a surprise when you think about it, but it is still pretty cool.

Well, that just about does it. Enjoy the games. everybody.


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