Live text commentary - 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver - Opening Ceremony
STANDARD BEARER: Great Britain are led into the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics by skeleton slider Shelley Rudman (Getty Images)
KEEP REFRESHING FOR REGULAR UPDATES FROM THE BC PLACE STADIUM, VANCOUVER
21:16 (-8 GMT): That's all from BC Place but stay tuned for all the reaction from Sportsbeat's team in Vancouver
21:15 (-8 GMT): And who else but Wayne Gretzky to light to official outdoor cauldron!!!!
21:07 (-8 GMT): There's a hint of confusion here about what's going to happen with the outdoor lighting but I'm sure it'll be resolved shortly
21:03 (-8 GMT): This is an indoor stadium and one that surely cannot withstand the heat of an indoor cauldron - the outdoor one still needs to be lit yet
21:01 (-8 GMT): There's a twist in the tail to come yet though....
21:00 (-8 GMT): It appears all four of our torchbearers will light the cauldron - they all ignite the four shards and the cauldron is lit!!!!!
FIRED UP: The Olympic torch is lit by Wayne Gretzky, Catriona LeMay Doan, basketball star Steve Nash and 1968 Olympic ski gold medallist Nancy Greene (Getty Images)
And after a journey of more than 45,000km, during which the torch has passed through thousands of red-mitten clad hands, Gretsky was selected to carry out the final and all-important act of lighting the cauldron.
And he was joined by Olympic double gold medallist speed skater Catriona LeMay Doan, basketball star Steve Nash and 1968 Olympic ski gold medallist Nancy Greene.
In actual fact, LeMay Doan's shard, intended to help light the cauldron didn't work properly so alas, she missed out.
20:59 (-8 GMT): Now come four giant shards of ice from the floor. This is one of the more drawn out cauldron lightings I've witnessed
20:54 (-8 GMT): Bringing the Olympic flame into BC Place is Canadian Paralympic athlete Rick Hansen, it makes its way to former alpine skier Nancy Greene and then of course it finds its way to ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky
There are still four torches burning.................the suspense!!!!
20:53 (-8 GMT): One more ditty and then it's time for the Olympic flame to arrive
A few facts about the Olympic flame:
Vanoc required special exemption from Transport Canada to carry it on an aircraft from Greece, and it was be housed in a modified miner's lamp and fuelled regularly with lighter fluid.
At all times there are at least three flames - a 'mother' and two ‘daughters' - will be ablaze to reduce the chances of the flame ever going out.
20:49 (-8 GMT): Canadian women's ice hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser makes an oath to respect the Olympic ideals, play fair and enjoy herself - or words to that effect
20:46 (-8 GMT): A minute's silence now for Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili....
20:41 (-8 GMT): A who's who of famous Canadians are now carrying the Olympic flag to the pole now - things are heating up
They are: Betty Fox, mother of cancer research fundraiser Terry, actor Donald Sutherland, former F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, former Olympic figure skating champion Barbara Ann Scott, singer Anne Murray, author and humanitarian Romeo Dallaire, hockey legend Bobby Orr and astronaut Julie Payette
20:39 (-8 GMT): Anyway, back to proceedings at BC Place and we've been assured the torch is just 12 minutes away!
20:37 (-8 GMT): An interesting, if slightly irrelevant anecdote about Montreal's Cohen
When asked by Bob Dylan, who has also covered the song, how long it took him to write Hallelujah, Cohen replied, 'about a year'.
Cohen, out of either politeness or curiousity asked Dylan how long it took him to write I and I. Dylan chuckled and responded '15 minutes'.
20:34 (-8 GMT): Sorry kd and Sorry Ms Burke but Jeff Buckley's version is incomparable - Sportsbeat's James Toney, in BC Place, Vancouver
20:32 (-8 GMT): But before the partying begins, a time for reflection. k d lang takes to the mic to belt out Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. For our younger readers think Jeff Buckley
20:31 (-8 GMT): Now it's the turn of Michaelle Jean, Canada's Governor General, to declare the 21st Winter Olympic Games open!
20:26 (-8 GMT): Back to Rogge to make his opening address - he kicks things off with the much-anticipated praising of Canada and their support for the Games.
20:19 (-8 GMT): Vanoc chief John Furlong's turn and he opts to praise the athletes of the Vancouver Games.
"At this Games, you athletes have the responsibility to carry Nodar's Olympic dreams and to compete with his spirit in your heart," said Furlong.
"The spirit of 33million Canadians is sown into the fabric of these Games. All Canadians, from all different cultures and backgrounds, we all aspire to be Olympian."
20:17: Now IOC president Jacques Rogge takes the floor briefly to pay tribute to Nodar Kumaritashvili
"It's with great sadness that we acknowledge the tragic death of Nodar Kumaritashvili, who died on the luge track. Our thoughts are with his friends, family and countrymen," said Rogge.
20:15 (-9 GMT): Has Barack Obama's speechwriter been helping out with the script for Vancouver's opening ceremony? - Sportsbeat's James Toney, in BC Place, Vancouver
20:14 (-8 GMT): Poet Shane Koyczan concludes the cultural aspect of the opening ceremony with a pro-Canadian speech/diatribe
ARTIFICIAL SNOW: The structure, intended to depict the Rockie Mountains, takes centre stage at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics ceremony (Getty Images)
20:11 (-8 GMT): Skaters with lights (Turin) and Skaters on fire (Commonwealth Games, Melbourne) is becoming a standard opening ceremony trick. C'mon London 2012 get thinking - Sportsbeat's James Toney, in BC Place, Vancouver
20:09 (-8 GMT): Back to a hint of reality now and there are athletes performing all sorts of winter sports on these artifical Rockies
20:03 (-8 GMT): This Daley doppelganger is in trouble - the golden prairies have in turn changed into an electrical storm which has caused a blizzard!!!!!
Some mountain-like structures have just come out of the floor - I would hasten to guess that they're the Rockies
20:01 (-8 GMT): Ryan Bangs is back in with - Lindsey 'Jacob's Crackers' Jacobellis
20:00 (-8 GMT): There's a young chap floating around the prairies and he's a dead ringer for Great British diver Tom Daley
19:57 (-8 GMT): So we've just been treated to the Canadian fall and now we've got the expansive golden prairies
19:56 (-8 GMT): Stay awake back home in the UK guys - k.d. lang is about to sing one of Leonard Cohen's more depressing numbers - Sportsbeat's James Toney in BC Place, Vancouver
19:50 (-8 GMT): A flurry of fiddles comes to an abrupt halt back in the BC Place Stadium and we've now got a tattoo-riddled tap-dancer strutting his stuff.........
CULTURAL LESSON: Dancers and performers act out another spectacular scene at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremony (Getty Images)
19:48 (-8 GMT): My esteemed colleague Ryan Bangs has just weighed in with Paula 'Walkers Crisps' Walker, re. the food/athlete game - I'm going to extend it beyond just the British team now
Lindsey 'Vol au Vents' Vonn? Maybe not
19:45 (-8 GMT): I think we're taking a trip through the seasons. From the looks of things we're on autumn, or fall, as they call it in these parts
19:43 (-8 GMT): Sarah McLachlan is a big star out here but does anyone remember Craig McLachlan, who played Kylie Minogue's brother in Neighbours?
My sister was given his seminal hit - a reworking of the Rolling Stones' Mona - from Christmas and played it over and over and over again - Sportsbeat's James Toney, in BC Place, Vancouver
19:40 (-8 GMT): Sarah McLachlan - a big star in Canada - is now treating us with her dulcet tones...
19:37 (-8 GMT): As is now norm for these ceremonies, be assured what you are watching on television looks more realistic than what we are watching here - Sportsbeat's James Toney, in BC Place, Vancouver
19:35 (-8 GMT): Just thinking about the British team now, there's a distinct food theme running through the 52 members.
So far I can think of Nicola 'Mini Cheddars' Minichiello and Ellie 'Coriander' Koyander. Anymore for anymore, please post ideas below
19:34 (-8 GMT): Not entirely sure what's going on now but there's a giant killer whale on the roof!
19:33: Already , I can't get that Adams-Furtado masterpiece out of my head.......'Bang the drum a litter louder!!!!' I don' t know how they do it
STAR TURN: Nelly Furtado joins forces with Bryan Adams to duet at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremony (Getty Images)
19:31 (-8 GMT): Here comes the giant spirit - a standard item in any Olympic opening ceremony - falling from the sky and then rising up from the snow
19:27 (-8 GMT): A change of pace now, thankfully. Or perhaps not. From what I can gather we're being treated to the Canadian interpretation of a dream.........
19:24 (-8 GMT): To make matters worse the drums - handed out to all 60,000 spectators - are being banged in unison
19:21 (-8 GMT): That's all the teams but faster than you can say 'maple syrup' we've got 90s rocker Bryan Adams and Nelly Furtado - two of British Columbia's finest - performing a vomit-inducingly catchy duet