Opening Ceremonies in Khanty Mansiysk
|15.03.2012, Khanty Mansiysk / IBU Info. Dept. JK|
|Indoor Pageantry in Siberia|
|The 2012 E.ON IBU World Cup Biathlon 9 in Khanty Mansiysk officially opened last night with a gala Opening Ceremonies at the indoor Ice Palace.
Sports and Culture
After many years of outdoor openings, the indoor venue was an enjoyable and welcome change of pace. As is always the case in Khanty Mansiysk, the one-hour program was a showcase for local talent and culture, with everything from the forests and indigenous people to the local sports and cultural scene.
The Ice Palace helped change the program as ice skaters became a large part of the program, involving both masses of young skaters as well as ice-dancing and pairs skating.
Video Images; Competition Clips
The show opened with a series of almost “Star Wars” type of fast moving video images projected on the back drape of the stage. The stage itself was dominated by an enormous antlered reindeer head with glaring eyes. The back projections as well as more images projected on the ice rink floor culminated in a series of film clips of last year’s IBU World Championships that were held here. Just as quickly as the images jumped across the screen, the mood changed as a children’s skating group took center stage. The children’s group was followed by a highly skilled and entertaining pairs of figure skaters.
“Biathlon Center of the World”
Governor of the Ugra Autonomous Okrug Natalia Komarova and IBU President Anders Besseberg shared the stage for short opening remarks. Komarova proudly declared Khanty Mansiysk as the “Biathlon Center of the World,” acknowledging the many biathlon champions who have come from the area and impressive venue, which Besseberg called “one of the best in the world.”
High above the Ice
Two of the most spectacular and memorable moments of the evening occurred high above the ice. One was a series of acrobats displaying both skill and grace as they performed seemingly dangerous moves using long extended drapes like ropes about 15 meters above the floor…without any safety gear. The second was a trapeze artist that kept the audience spellbound as she worked solo on a single ring high above the floor.
The evening ended with a virtually all of the performers on the stage, including a marching band, and baton corps and dozens more on the ice for a grand finale number in support of two soloists. It was a fitting end of the ceremony, while at the same time and energizing start to the beginning of the end of the 2011-12 E.ON IBU World Cup Biathlon season.