More than 500 Paralympic athletes from 44 countries were warmly welcomed to the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games as they paraded into BC Place Stadium to cheers from thousands of performers and an audience ready to celebrate their achievements.
Marianne Maibøll, who represents Denmark in sit-skiing, was the Danish standard bearer, and she wheeled into the arena with the Dannebrog in front of the small Danish delegation. She even stopped and waved to the few Danish spectators – including the visitors from Pressalit.
With the theme of “One Inspires Many,” the Opening Ceremony was a celebration of ability, courage and the human spirit. “From coast to coast to coast, these Games will inspire greatness,” said John Furlong, Chief Executive Officer of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. “We will witness stories of personal triumph and remarkable human perseverance. What you see over the next nine days will leave an impression on your lives forever.”
In a nod to the hopes and dreams of all future Paralympians, the Paralympic Cauldron was lit by 15-year-old Zach Beaumont, an avid snowboarder who hopes to one day compete for Canada in the Paralympic Winter Games.
The Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Games run from March 12-21 with sport events taking place at four competition venues in Vancouver/Whistler. The Vancouver-based Paralympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony marks not only one of the largest audiences in Paralympic Winter Games history but also the first time that the Opening Ceremony has been held indoors.