Opening Ceremony Kicks Off Paralympics
The Games are on again! The 2002 Paralympic Winter Games open to a crowd of nearly 50,000 Thursday night at Rice Eccles Stadium.
(Mar. 7, 2002)------The Paralympic's got started with the same stirring and explosive pageantry that launched the Olympics.
News Specialist Jed Boal was at the ceremony.
The crowd headed home after a spectacluar show that highlighted many of the themes we saw a month ago.
When the President of the International Paralympic Committee said to the crowd, "Let's do it again," the crowd erupted and the Games were on!
The Paralympics got off to a rocking start, and awakened minds to the creed of these Games-- mind, body, spirit.
The $5 million opening ceremonies were conceived around that theme.
Nearly 500 athletes traveled in the parade of nations. Three of them shared their stories of inspiration.
The crowd watched President Bush deliver a taped message, and listened to performers including Stevie Wonder, Donny Osmond, Wynonna Judd, violinist Vanessa-Mae and 13-year-old country singer Billy Gilman.
Hundreds of Utah performers joined the professionals in putting on a spectacular show, that was true to the spirit of these Games. Cast members climbed artificial mountains on the stadium floor to symbolize overcoming physical challenges.
Paralympians Muffy Davis and Chris Waddell lit the cauldron, which is the same one used for the Olympics last month.
Observers we talked with called the whole experience inspirational. They say the Paralympics exemplify the true spirit of the Olympics.
The opening ceremony marks the beginning of nine days of competition for athletes with physical disabilities. Events are held in downhill and cross-country skiing and sledge hockey.
NBC will air an hour long special of those Paralympic Opening Ceremonies this Saturday at Noon on KSL Channel 5.
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Carole Mikita Reports (from Eyewitness News at Noon)
Before the Opening Ceremonies, the Paralympic "Journey of Fire" flame made its way through the streets of Salt Lake City.
Mayor Rocky Anderson helped a Paralympic torchbearer start off the flame Thursday morning.
The torch then stopped at the Capitol, Liberty Park and the administration building of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: "We're all rooting for you. We want you to succeed, and we hope that this will be a great and marvelous occasion for everyone who participates. Let everyone be a winner..."
One-hundred torchbearers took part in the relay.