Killarney Secondary showed its Olympic spirit Feb 11 with a school-wide event in recognition of the Olympic Torch Relay, which passed through the neighbourhood later that afternoon. Nearly 2,000 students packed both the school's gymnasium and auditorium to watch simultaneous presentations by local entertainers and Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
With nearly every student dressed in patriotic red, Killarney's enthusiasm for the Vancouver 2010 Games was evident to all in attendance. To kick off the celebration in the gym, a seemingly quiet group of 100 students seated on the floor rose to their feet to perform a flash-mob dance to the Black Eyed Peas "I Gotta Feeling." In this re-enactment of the popular YouTube phenomenon, one dancer leads the group, and eventually the entire gym, to dance and sing along to the popular, upbeat anthem.
Emcee Dave Dimapilis, a local comedian, kept the audience cheering for the other performers, including SVS Choreography, a hip hop dance crew of female dancers. Their daring routine was followed by CirKids, an acrobatic troupe of young performers, who performed several awe-inspiring acts, including duo aerial silk acrobatics while suspended from the gym ceiling.
The young performers from Abada Capoeira drew appreciative applause for their exciting display of the Brazilian art form which combines martial arts, singing and dance. And Bollywood dancers, Shiamak Davar International Inc., got the audience in a celebratory mood with their group's rendition of several popular songs.
Special guest, BC Olympian Tami Bradley (freestyle skiing: moguls, Nagano 1998 and Salt Lake City 2002) got a big round of applause from the crowd when she rode into the gym on her pink and red bicycle. Dressed in head-to-toe red and white, she shared her favourite Olympic moment which took place during her first Olympic competition in Nagano, Japan. Bradley described the exhilaration of seeing 15,000 people on the ski hill below her as she prepared to compete in the mogul event.
Bradley described the feeling she had, 15 seconds before skiing down the hill and hearing the starting official say: "From Canada, Tami Bradley, Olympian ready." In that moment, Bradley said she was proud to be a Canadian and to represent her country at the Olympics. She encouraged all the students to share in the spirit of the Winter Olympics and support the Canadian team.
Three-time Paralympian and two-time Olympic gold medal winner Patrick Anderson (wheelchair basketball, gold medals in 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens, and silver in 2008 Beijing) spoke about the Olympic Torch Relay and the athletes who inspired him, including Wayne Gretzky and Rick Hansen. The jazz musician and athlete also encouraged the students to support the Paralympic Games and the often overlooked talents of Canada's hardworking Paralympians.
To top off the day, hundreds of students from Killarney and neighbouring Dr. George M. Weir Elementary, lined the streets for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of watching the flame pass through their neighbourhood. They were joined by hundreds of parents and community members making the day a neigbourhood-wide celebration.