Tonight through the magic of television we visit the living rooms of the world to tell our story. And as we do, we invite people everywhere to share and experience, even if just for a few moments, what it feels like to be a proud Canadian. As you, the best Winter Olympic athletes of all time, enter the arena prepared for you here in Canada to compete in the honour and glory of sport.

Seizing the moment to inspire the youth of the world through your heroic efforts, you carry with you the hopes and the dreams of so many.

You are role models for our children - heroes, giants, human champions, the best ever. You are living proof that men and women everywhere are capable of doing great good, and that in life as it is in sport, we should always give our best and never, ever give up.

You are our beacon of hope in a world so much in need of peace, healing, unity, generosity and inspiration. Youth the world over aspire to be just like you. You compete with such bravery, conviction and pride. At these Games you now have the added burden to shine and be united around your fallen colleague Nodar. May you carry his Olympic dream on your shoulders and compete with his spirit in your hearts.

Many thousands have made tonight and the days ahead possible, but the spirit and soul of all 33 million Canadians has been sewn into the fabric of these Winter Olympic Games. This journey has not been about the few but rather the many. All Canadians Aboriginal Canadians, New Canadians, English and Francophone Canadians.

And the myriad of cultures, micro-cultures, languages and peoples that make Canada Canada. And tonight the longest domestic torch relay in Olympic history ends in this stadium after an epic, unforgettable journey of discovery across a land visually blessed, rich in history and profoundly human.

The Olympic Flame has touched many millions and prompted spontaneous, peaceful celebration. Reminding us all that those values that unite and inspire the best in us we must never abandon. As the Olympic Cauldron is lit, the unique magic of the Olympic Games will be released upon us.

Magic so rare that it cannot be controlled by borders. The kind of magic that invades the human heart touching people of all cultures and beliefs. Magic that calls for the best that human beings have to offer. Magic that causes the athletes of the world to soar and the rest of us to dream.

Tonight, here, in the glow and wonder of the Flame, we can all aspire to be Olympian. From whatever continent you have come we welcome you to Canada, a country with a generous heart. We love that you are here. You are among good friends. Vous etes parmis vos amis.

We are honoured to be received into so many hearts and homes all over the world this night. And we aspire to leave you with breathtaking memories to last a lifetime. Let us all be reminded that the world is indeed watching. Hoping. Cheering. If you listen, you can almost hear the voices.

Through our example tonight and over the 16 days to come our children will begin to dream and believe in what is possible. Lives of great significance begin with a spark, a nudge, a gesture. Together let us touch as many as we can, while we can.

It’s Valentine’s Day weekend and yesterday was also the opening of the Winter Olympics. If you aspire to anything in life, whether it be artistic, athletic, personal, professional, educational, spiritual, or any other passion that stirs your soul, it was hard not to get inspired listening to John Furlong speak last night at the opening ceremony of the Olympics.  Here's why…

The Olympics started off with a horrific tragedy during a Luge practice run, which resulted in the loss of young Nodar Kumaritashvli from the country Georgia..

The Ceremony had already been a beautiful display of art and music, educating us about the history and bringing together the many aboriginal nations that inhabit Canada. And the ceremony became even more potent with the many reverences in honor of Nodar Kumaritashvli, such as when the audience stood up honoring the small delegation from Georgia as they entered the stadium.

While the word love was never mentioned, on display these coming  weeks are people who truly love what they do, and fearlessly do what they love.

I give John Furlong the first gold for his excellent performance.  Here is his speech:

With Jack Poole and Nodar Kumaritashvli in our hearts, and standing on the shoulders of every Canadian, I commit that the men and women of Vancouver 2010, our partners and our friends, are ready to deliver the performance of a lifetime.

About the author 


  • When ever i sing on stage,i always,always hope,that my voice is giving someone the hope to feel good about doing something great in the life of that person,whatever that might be. We are made to get the best out of life,and i always hope that i can always sing the best that i can, for every one!  That is what everyone can have with hope, the best in life,and that goes for everyone Worldwide!! 
    Go, Canada Go!!

  • I agree about the beauty and inspiration of the speech.  
    What I was wondering, however, was what you thought of the singing?  I was mesmerized by KD Laing's 'Alleluia'–and for me it was the best of the singing.  Would be interested in any comments on her performance technically and otherwise.  

  • as a classical singer, i was sadly disappointed in the one representative of that style in the olympic opening ceremonies — the "olympic anthem".    i felt that the performer exemplified a lot of the negative stereotypes of classical singing, seeming pompous, phony; a superficial display of a strong voice but lacking in a sense of expressiveness or naturalness.   "classical" singing does not have to be this way!   what did you all think?

  • Unfortunately I wasn't able to see the opening ceremony, because we were celabrating my sister-in-Law's birthday, but the speech that I have just read, is a speech that could have been said by a ruler of the world, by a man who has felt love and a man who feels the sadness of the world by so many people.
    It is a pity that we haven't learnt how to share life, happiness and love throughout the world. 

  • Hi
    Thank you for putting up the whole speech.  I had made a note of the last sentence 'Lives of great significance…' and wanted to check it for accuracy.  It is a quote I am likely to use again!

  • I loved the idea expressed that "Lives of great significance begin with a spark, a nudge, a gesture."  Thanks Per, for helping us nurture our sparks with confidence to try and the encouragement to allow our sparks to turn into those flames of real motivation and action. I'll probably never meet you but I can truly say, you've encouraged me to not only begin but not give up on endeavors important to me. 
    Thank you 🙂

  • Yes, good stuff, but do we sometimes forget the courage and example of those who do not get medals, money or fame?  Those 'carers' for example may not sing in a soaring manner or have fabulous bodies or skills but can be even mors inspiring if we get to notice them.  Theirs is a truly inspiring music.

  • I am amazed that you captured the elements of the most touching happening in Olympics histories.   "Nodar Kumaritashvli," dies as he practices for the sports he loved, his name is mentioned, the crowds honored not only him but his country's team of sports men and women, young adults and athletes medal hopefuls. "Through our example tonight and over the 16 days to come our children will begin to dream and believe in what is possible. Lives of great significance begin with a spark, a nudge, a gesture. Together let us touch as many as we can, while we can." Amazing Winter Olympics. As a Canadian.  Per. I am touched.  My son jacksoul died as the result of an 2007 Scooter accident.  Canada lost one its greatest THREE times JUNO AWARDS singer, Haydain Neale, lead singer,  jacksoul R&B band in 2009. He Sang Canada's Anthem to open many Blue Jays' base ball games over the years. b. September 3, 1970 – d. November 22, 2009.

  • Hello Per,
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family to,May God be present at the table to.
    Thanks for all your e.mails and lessons on singing,love them i do love to sing as you know,am alot in Karaoke and myspace to.Thanks and i do agree with most of the readers.

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