Beijing Olympics 2008 – Opening Ceremony

Did you watch the opening ceremony? I really hope you did, because in one short word, it was spectacular! I can’t say I’ve watched many opening ceremonies, but this one really blew me away, and I would have loved to have been in the Bird’s Nest stadium with the 91,000 people in the audience, plus at least 10,000 athletes, excluding the huge numbers of people (20,000) involved as performers and staff, as the atmosphere would have been absolutely fantastic!

I managed to pick up some pictures from Flickr of the opening ceremony, and would like to thank all the photographers for sharing their pictures online. Unfortunately I was silly enough to not save all the actual links, so apologies for not giving proper and individual credit here:

One World, One Dream
“One World, One Dream” slogan, featuring the ‘World’ rising up from the ground, and images of children from across the globe at the rim of the stadium’s ‘bowl’. The main theme (‘You and Me’) was sung by Liu Huan and Sarah Brightman. You can just see them at the top of the world.

Fireworks!
A glimpse at the some of the fireworks used for the opening ceremony, and all in all, apparently there were some 40,000 shots fired into the air! Although I’ve not found a good picture yet, the fireworks representing 29 footsteps along Beijing’s “Axis” to the Bird’s Nest to mark the start of the 29th Olympiad was also very inspiring!


The sheer scale and numbers, evident particularly during the parade of athletes from all 204 delegations … 91,000 spectators and 10,000 athletes, and this excludes all the performers and the staff working behind the scenes (a reported 20,000).


The count down begins till the start of the opening ceremony. Can you believe this was all done by the symbolic 2008 people on the drums?


The very ones that you see here!


This part of the opening ceremony started off with an empty space in the middle of the scroll that unfurled to reveal Chinese culture and history, and as the dancers elegantly pirouetted their way round the paper, they added ink and drew clouds and mountains, typical of Chinese calligraphy art.


And this is a shot of the scroll itself, unfurled…


… which was used as a centre stage for many of the themed performances, which, by the way, were all coordinated by the director of “House of Flying Daggers“, Zhang Yimou.


The pillars from the previous picture ‘rose up’ majestically from the ground, each with a performer in elaborate outfits, some of them being styles from different dynasties. Note the gold dragons carved into the pillars.


Some exceptionally elegant dancers (men and women) were on show last night, and one lady in particular danced centre-stage on a moving platform on the scroll.


The very-one that was painted live by the dancers before. This is probably a better picture showing the overall effect. This canvas was subsequently enhanced by several other painter performers, including school children colouring the canvas during a ‘lesson’. It was then laid onto the ground during the team parade, and every single athlete who took part in this parade had to step on some ink pads and leave their footprints.


This was a depiction of the less well-known history of “Zheng He” sailing around the world at least 87 years before Christopher Columbus started his journey, and is made up of long, individual wooden paddles each held by one of the 2008 performers. They looked incredibly heavy as the performers swung them around during the performance.


And again, more fireworks in and around the Bird’s Nest.


Last but not least, the lighting of the Olympic torch, which no one had seen during rehearsals, and it was both amazing and very symbolic at the same time. The climax was heightened as the identity of the last torch bearer (Li Ning) was kept secret until the very last minute. After receiving the flame, he was raised up to almost the roof/ceiling of the Bird’s Nest, and seemed to run around the rim whilst another scroll unfurled itself, and the videos of all the runners who had relayed the torch and many other videos were projected onto his path.

Alas, I’ve missed out quite a lot of pictures here, where they showcased ‘movable type’ (this was quite something, I will try and find the video for this as I was seriously impressed) ‘Confucius’, traditional instruments and operas, the art of Tai-chi and Kung-fu, the “Terracotta Warriors”, and all the indigenous tribes (50+) dancing in their traditional outfits etc.

The ceremony was extremely high budget (apparently in the region of $100 million USD) and definitely did not disappoint, showcasing talent, flair, creativity, imagination, advanced technologies and overall it was just such an incredible scene to watch live, that I still recall it so very vividly now.

A huge kudos to the performers, staff and everyone who have worked so very hard for the Olympics! :D Thank you for amazing me and no doubt the whole world!

p/s:For some beautifully large and high-resolution pictures, please visit this article on Boston.com by Alan Taylor.

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Posted in Musings, Olympics 2008
27 comments on “Beijing Olympics 2008 – Opening Ceremony
  1. Debi says:

    MAJESTIC, BRILLANT, FABULOUS, AMAZING, ARE MY WORDS FOR THE OPENING OF THE OLYMPICS. HATS OFF TO CHINA AND PEACE TO THE WORLD…I LOVE THE CHILDREN ALL OVER THE GLOBE..IT SENDS A WONDERFUL MESSAGE..

  2. flick says:

    I’d absolutely agree with you there, Debi! You’ve really managed to summarise the opening ceremony in those few words :)
    Thank you for taking the time to comment!

  3. Varun says:

    Hi, you have good info about Olympic, just inspiring by you I have also made a post of Olympic 2008, please review it and if possible, make a comment to make it more better.

  4. flick says:

    Hi Varun, thank you for the kind comment :) I will certainly visit your post and leave a message! It’s great to meet other fellow Olympic enthusiast bloggers!

  5. These photos bring back memories of a wonderful two weeks in the summer. Thanks for the beautiful pics!

  6. James says:

    This has to be one of the most useful piece of information about Beijing Olympics 2008!
    James | Watch Satellite TV on PC

  7. dreamyacht says:

    The pictures you have posted are a beautiful depiction of the beautiful ceremony that took place. Spectacular.

  8. ryan connors says:

    super blog thanks :)

  9. it was spectacular opening ceremony! “One World, One Dream”

  10. This was a simply spectacular ceremony – but I hope the next one in London is better. I’m really excited to have the Olympics in the UK soon.

  11. flick says:

    Same here, Football Banter! :) As a Londoner, I have really quite high expectations of what the organisers will be able to achieve.

    I really have to thank the photographers (the photos were all sourced from Flickr) for taking such magnificent photos. When I read the post again, it just brings back such good memories for me too! Particularly welcome during these cold winter months!

  12. Great photos! I wish the Olympics happened every year ;)

  13. urlaub 09 says:

    The spectacular opening was a great show.

  14. Thanks for the brilliant photos’ it was certainly the most memorable opening ceremony of anything. Fantastic.

  15. Hustler says:

    The beijing olympics were excellent! shame about all the controversy

  16. The beijing olympic Opening Ceremony was the greatest Ceremony i ever see. So many details and so many tradition. It was great. I hope 2012 will be also great :)

  17. The spectacular opening was a great show.

  18. oyUn says:

    These photos bring back memories of a wonderful two weeks in the summer. Thanks for the beautiful pics

  19. flick says:

    I absolutely agree. I don’t remember any other Opening Ceremony I have seen as being quite as breathtaking (was too young to remember Seoul) as the one in China. Not sure how London is going to go about it – I’m sure they’ll come with something lovely – so long as it’s nothing to do with the same team that did the logo :p

  20. I am agree this is the best olympics orgnised. These pics are simply nice. thanks

  21. motivspiegel says:

    Fantastic works. very nice

  22. solarlaus says:

    Die Olympischen Spiele in Peking waren ausgezeichnet!
    Wirklich toll!

  23. QNET says:

    This was great show & thanks for sharing this nice snapshot.

  24. Carpet UK says:

    The Bird’s nest was a fine sight. These pictures make me nostalgic.

  25. flick says:

    @Carpet UK: Me too! It’s hard to believe that the Olympics are coming to London in just under 2 years. I hope it will be as impressive, perhaps in a different way.

  26. JpnTr says:

    Thank You.Very Nice Photos

  27. I am really looking forward to next years Olympics in London.

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