Mounted Police, Thousands of Performers To Thrill Chilled Olympic Spectators ColorPhoto OLY5
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) _ Dashing Mounties some 6,000 performers and 1,000 pigeons were set to thrill and entertain tens of thousands of spectators at today’s opening ceremonies for the 1988 Winter Olympics.
Calgary’s Olympic organizers hoped to dazzle a worldwide television audience, even involving an anticipated 60,000 spectators in a display formed by colored ponchos distributed in the stands.
At the heart of plans for this afternoon’s show were the traditional parade of 2,000 athletes from 57 nations and the lighting of the Olympic flame.
Organizers were worried about forecasts of 35 mph to 55 mph winds out of the Yukon that said spectators could experience wind chills of 15 below zero, but they said the show will go on.
″I wouldn’t want to be there. When that wind comes into the stadium from the north, it is cold,″ said Terry Steward, a spokesman for the Calgary Organizing Committee. ″We anticipated weather like this for the Winter Olympics. We have rehearsed in the cold. As long as there is no blizzard, we are OK.″
White sand was trucked in from British Columbia to make the athletes’ parade ground appear snow-covered.
The pigeons were to be released during the show, and the first three to make it back to their loft 67 miles away will ″win″ gold, silver and bronze medals.
All tickets for the opening ceremonies were snapped up the first day they went on sale more than two years ago, Steward said.