Author Topic: Olympic Opening Ceremonies  (Read 1389 times)

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Michael Tee

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Olympic Opening Ceremonies
« on: August 08, 2008, 09:52:57 PM »
Anybody catch this on TV?  I watched about 20 minutes on the CBC this morning and it was awesome.  I watched Li Ning (is that Chinese for Lenin?) light the torch and saw the fireworks exploding in the night sky. 

I might be overestimating what I saw, but I felt at the time that billions of people will change how they think about China as a result of these Olympics.  I got a real sense of a very proud, very ancient civilization returning to claim its place as the world's leader in power, in wealth, in art and in technology.  And at the same time I thought of condemned criminals whose organs had been sold, and in some cases even "harvested," in advance of their executions.  I thought of the complete lack of respect for human rights, not only in the present regime but throughout the entire course of their civilization.  And, God help me, I even contrasted that with the ideals and the Constitution of the U.S.A.   Be careful of your dreams, radicals, they might one day be realized.  I thought of the many successful adjustments the Party had made over the years, how far they'd come from the dreams of their founders and how much they had still retained, and I thought maybe the next big adjustment the Party will have to make will be in the area of human rights.

But the overall impression I had was of awe and wonder, mixed with a cold realization of what was presently lying  under that up-beat and optimistic surface, those cheering crowds.  I remembered the similar films I'd seen of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

Amianthus

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Re: Olympic Opening Ceremonies
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2008, 10:07:17 PM »
It's delayed in the US so that it airs prime time. I'm TiVoing it right now.
Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. (Benjamin Franklin)

Plane

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Re: Olympic Opening Ceremonies
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2008, 10:20:56 PM »
Is there a website that has the whole thing?


I don't doubt a bit that they put on a spectacular show.

Plane

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Re: Olympic Opening Ceremonies
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2008, 12:02:10 AM »
Games open on a Beijing high In the grandest fashion, the Olympics begin
By Alan Abrahamson
Posted Friday, August 8, 2008 9:38 AM ET
BEIJING - On the eighth day of the eighth month of the eighth year of the millennium, China welcomed the world to the 29th Olympiad with a blockbuster opening ceremony that launched arguably the most anticipated and assuredly the most controversial Games in modern Olympic history.

Amid the roar of fireworks and elaborate tributes to China's 5,000-year-old civilization, athletes from 204 nations - of 205 - marched into Olympic Stadium, the steel-girded Birds' Nest, before dignitaries that included President Bush, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Hu Jintao. Only Brunei proved a no-show, failing Friday to register even one athlete.

Photos
Opening Ceremony
With a fireworks show sure to top any July 4th celebration and a celebration of its 5,000 year history, China welcomed the world. Take a peak at what's coming up tonight at the Beijing Games Opening Ceremony.

Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games
Parade
Pictures with The President
Pageantry
Pyrotechnics
Lighting
Through at least this one night in China's capital city, the Chinese authorities and the International Olympic Committee sought to put any controversy aside. The message that rang out before a sell-out crowd of about 91,000 souls in the stadium, that was televised to billions around Planet Earth, was one of idealism and recognition:

China had arrived on the world stage.

And had chosen as its coming-out party a sports festival.

"Beijing," declared International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge, speaking from a stage in the center of the stadium, surrounded by all the athletes, "you are a host to the present and a gateway to the future."

Through at least this one night in Beijing, spectacle ruled.

Li Ning, a stellar Chinese gymnast from the 1980s, lit the cauldron after skywalking across the stadium rim, his levitation supported by barely-visible wires that moments earlier had lifted him hundreds of feet up from the floor of the Birds' Nest.

Li won six medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games. In a turn seemingly emblematic of China as it is now, he has become a wildly successful businessman, his sports brand a mark as familiar here as Nike or adidas.

The cauldron lighting culminated a production that ran for more than four hours and that cost, according to reports, $300 million, more than a Hollywood blockbuster.

No surprise - one of the unmistakable messages of these 2008 Games is that China, home of 1.3 billion people, does it big when it undertakes a project, the government spending a reported $40 billion readying Beijing for the Olympics. The true figure is believed to be significantly higher.

The ceremony opened amid furious percussion by precisely 2,008 drummers, the beat seguing into a reading of a famous passage from the sayings of Confucius: "Welcome friends from afar."

Fireworks then roared north from Tiananmen Square in central Beijing the six miles to the Birds' Nest - ceremony organizers saying the concussions, one per second along a central Beijing north-south axis, were designed to evoke "footprints of history."

There followed acrobatics, music, "star men" who morphed into a blinking dove, a globe atop which crooned singer Sarah Brightman - and more, all of it climaxed by a fireworks spectacular over the stadium, the city, even the Great Wall..

Lopez Lomong, 23, a 1,500-meter runner, carried the flag into the stadium at the head of the U.S. delegation, which in full numbers 596 athletes - the U.S. team dressed to impress in their Ralph Lauren blazers, white pants and white driving caps.

"I feel like a kid in the candy store," said beach volleyball star Kerri Walsh, who with partner Misty May-Treanor won gold in Athens in 2004. The pair are among the gold-medal favorites in Beijing as well.

Lomong, born in Sudan, was separated from his parents at 6. He made it to a refugee camp in Kenya and stayed there for 10 years. In 2001, he was brought to the United States, to Tully, N.Y. He became an American citizen 13 months ago and is based now in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Organizers paid special tribute Friday to the victims of the May earthquake in Sichuan province, which killed 70,000 people.

Lin Hao, a 9-year-old boy who saved two classmates from the rubble and who then walked with his sisters more than seven miles to safety, escorted flag-bearer Yao Ming at the head of the Chinese Olympic team - an enormous contingent, 639 athletes - into the stadium.

Such grace notes offered a sharp contrast to the relentless beat of controversy that has marked the anticipation of these Games since July, 2001, when the IOC awarded the 2008 Games to Beijing.

Concerns over China's human rights stance marked the vote and the years since, activists faulting China for not doing enough to pressure Sudan - where the Chinese have extensive business and oil ties - over violence in Darfur.

Protests over the international leg of the torch relay, tied mostly to concerns over China's role in Tibet, exploded in April into violence in Paris and London and forced authorities to re-route the relay in San Francisco.

Pollution concerns remained vivid in the months and even days building up to Friday's ceremony - despite far-reaching efforts by the Chinese authorities to stop factory production and order cars off the roads.

This week, four U.S. cyclists were photographed upon arrival at Beijing's brand-new airport wearing surgical-style masks. They apologized the next day.

Chinese officials and the IOC's chief medical officers insisted the grey haze that settled this week over the city was mostly mist, not pollution - the IOC saying that endurance events, among them Saturday's road-cycling competition were now unlikely to have to be postponed, as officials had suggested earlier.

Some soccer games have already been played - the U.S. women lost, 2-0, to Norway earlier in the week - but the competition gets underway in earnest on Saturday.

A shooting event early Saturday morning is likely to provide the Chinese with their first gold medal - the women's air rifle event, featuring reigning world and Olympic champion Du Li.

The Chinese won 63 medals in Athens in 2004, third-best; they won 32 golds, second-best.

The Chinese are expected to improve upon those numbers considerably at the 2008 Games - the government pouring millions of dollars into the effort.

The U.S. team topped the Athens medal tables with 102 overall, 36 gold. Senior officials at the U.S. Olympic Committee have said repeatedly they believe the Americans ought to be considered "underdogs" in 2008.

The one American unequivocally not an underdog - swimmer Michael Phelps, who won eight medals in 2004, six gold. He is after eight in Beijing. His first race, and maybe his toughest, against teammate Ryan Lochte and others - the 400-meter individual medley, here Sunday morning (Saturday night on the East Coast).
http://www.nbcolympics.com/newscenter/news/newsid=184369.html?GT1=39003

Amianthus

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Re: Olympic Opening Ceremonies
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2008, 04:02:32 AM »
I actually watched it twice.

Spectacular.

One of the announcers said, near the end, "they can retire the trophy for best Olympic Opening Ceremonies, I don't think anyone is ever going to beat this one." I have to agree. I've watched many, and that one was just awesome.
Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. (Benjamin Franklin)

sirs

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Re: Olympic Opening Ceremonies
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2008, 01:36:09 PM »
I'll ditto the spectacular adjective.  Phenomenal, and what a stadium.  I doubt seriously anything like that could be made in America.  The cost alone would be so prohibitive
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

Amianthus

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Re: Olympic Opening Ceremonies
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2008, 01:42:03 PM »
Yeah, but we would actually have to pay our workers. ;)

At one point during the show the announcers were kibitzing and one said that he heard an interview with someone involved in the design of the show, and they were asked something like "isn't that going to involve a huge number of people?" and the response was "that's ok, we've got lots of people" or something like that.

Part of the amazing is that every segment had 2008 people performing simultaneously - and there were no duplicated people between segments, each segment had a completely separate group of people.
Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. (Benjamin Franklin)

sirs

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Re: Olympic Opening Ceremonies
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2008, 01:45:38 PM »
Yeah, but we would actually have to pay our workers. ;)

*snicker*.....thus the cost involved would be greatly prohibitive.



"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

Amianthus

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Re: Olympic Opening Ceremonies
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2008, 01:52:19 PM »
The cost alone would be so prohibitive

I just looked up the construction costs - 4 billion yuan, about $500M. Designed by a Swiss firm.

Also, I found out that Steven Spielberg was involved in the choreography of the opening ceremonies.
Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. (Benjamin Franklin)

sirs

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Re: Olympic Opening Ceremonies
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2008, 02:27:11 PM »
Wow.  I tend to believe it might have been double, if not triple the cost, if made here in the U.S.  England sure has its work cut out in 2012
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

Lanya

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Re: Olympic Opening Ceremonies
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2008, 03:47:10 PM »
Really spectacular.


This is a great photo I found when I was trying to find pics of the teams' parade outfits. The flag bearer is 7'6", I read.
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Amianthus

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Re: Olympic Opening Ceremonies
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2008, 04:05:50 PM »
Yeah, that's Yao Ming, he plays for the Houston Rockets. 7'6" is his height.
Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. (Benjamin Franklin)

Cynthia

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Re: Olympic Opening Ceremonies
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2008, 06:32:15 PM »
Really spectacular.


This is a great photo I found when I was trying to find pics of the teams' parade outfits. The flag bearer is 7'6", I read.

http://www.nbcolympics.com/video/player.html?assetid=0808_hd_oc_rc_ce005

As you watch this "highlight" video of the ceremony, you will find that the little 9 year old  boy in the picture had survived an earthquake back in May, and he returned to save two more classmates. When asked why, he replied...."I was class leader, my job was hall monitor, that was my responsibility"

Cynthia

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Re: Olympic Opening Ceremonies
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2008, 11:49:30 PM »
It's delayed in the US so that it airs prime time. I'm TiVoing it right now.

Ami,

I want to see the opening ceremonies again.

Do you know how I can do that?

Amianthus

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Re: Olympic Opening Ceremonies
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2008, 11:55:00 PM »
I want to see the opening ceremonies again.

Do you know how I can do that?

It's on NBC's website (though they edited it some).
Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. (Benjamin Franklin)