Friday, August 8, 2008


This was definitely China's moment. And what a way to celebrate it.

In what some are calling one of the best, if not the best Opening Ceremony ever seen in Olympic history, Chinese Olympic organizers gave fans, athletes and viewers around the world a huge thrill as they presented a show that will be remembered for its visually appealing performances and a dramatic lighting of the Olympic cauldron.

Over 90,000 people gathered inside the National Stadium, aka the Bird's Nest, to see history in the making as China showed the world how proud they are to host these Olympic Games.

The show began with hundreds of drummers welcoming friends from around the world, known as "The Sound of the Fou." The Olympic rings were then lit up by hundreds of tiny lights that looked like stars as the rings were lifted off the stadium floor. After IOC President Jacques Rogge and Chinese presidnet Hu Jingtao were introduced, the Chinese flag was carried into the stadium and the national anthem was played by a chorus of performers from 56 Chinese ethnic groups.

Then, China's rich cultural history was presented upon a large Chinese painting scroll and an hour long performance was highlighted by various dances, costumes and martial arts.

It took two hours for the 205 participating nations to march into the stadium. Australia, Canada, the United States, Russia and Germany each sent a large delegation to represent their country in the games. The two Koreas were marching separately for the first time in a Summer Olympic Games since Atlanta in 1996. Nations like Iraq, Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei entered the stadium to warm receptions.

In his remarks, Rogge said, "For a long time, China has been dreaming of opening its doors and has been inviting the world's athletes to compete in the Olympic Games. Tonight, that dream comes true. You have chosen your motto to be "One World, One Dream." That is what we are tonight." Then Hu Jingtao declared the games opened.

The most dramatic spectacle of the evening was when Li Ning, a successful male gymnast that won multiple medals at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics, grabbed the flame and was then flown up into the air. He then walked along the sides of the top of the stadium as a scroll unfolded, showing the journey of the Olympic flame. Still harnessed by ropes at the top of the stadium, he lit the cauldron as fireworks exploded all over the Beijing sky.

It was the start of an important Olympic games and event for China as these games serve as their "coming out party" as the nation emerges as a world power. There were many concerns regarding how China will react to any criticism regarding the air, human rights and Tibet. But tonight, there was no interference of politics, just a wonderful celebration of sport and Chinese culture as the games begin.
For more on tonight's opening ceremony, check out this story for the Associated Press.

Remember you can watch the Opening ceremony tonight on NBC at 7:30PM eastern, 6:30 PM central, it definitely is an event that you will not want to miss.

And NOW Sports Daily will be back with you later today with coverage of the first day of competition, starting at 6PM EDT. NOW Sports' LIVE BLOGGING will continue tonight at 10:30PM EDT with coverage of the first gold medal event of these games: Women's 10m Air Rifle Shooting.

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