Let's discuss the Olympic opening ceremonies

In a word, “eh.”

I think Sydney spoiled me for life. Can we just let Australia do all the summer games from now on?

The mythology stuff was lost on me and I thought some of it was downright creepy. But hey, it’s Greece. They’ve gotta throw in the god/goddess stuff, I guess.*

Overall, though, it was at least interesting. Extremely weird, yes, but the kind of weird that you can’t pry yourself away from because you’re sitting there going “what the hell?” and waiting to see what happens next. And boy was I glad to see Afghanistan and Iraq there. And Afghanistan brought women! Wow! (Maybe Iraq did too; I don’t remember.)

What was up with the pregnant lady, though? Did she swallow a light bulb? Was she carrying ET’s love child?

And were those guys in that one scene naked or were they wearing some kind of skintight costume?

The best part, bar none, is the IOC guy’s little speech about not doping. Then what happens? The guy lights the cauldron which just HAPPENS to be a big giant joint held by a roach clip. WTF? Is it the blunt of the gods?
*Although why they advertised their invention of geometry is beyond me. That’s not something I’d go around telling people if I were them.

Fortunately, the BBC had commentary, explaining all the mythology stuff. Which made it very meaningful. I can see that without that, it would have seemed weird. And yes, the glowing belly was a mistake.

The irradiated pregnant woman scared me. And Costas and Couric being perky through all those countries. Djibouti? Just shoot me. Thank Athena for TiVo. Is Athena really the patron *saint * of Athens? That’s mighty encompassing of the Greek Orthadox church.

Well suposedly there was a permanent cloud around the top of Olympus. :wink:

I honestly believed the Athens OC was the best one yet. I say that because 99% of the time, I don’t care about the opening ceremonies at all. This time, I actually cared.

Loved the Bjork performance.

I bet I would have enjoyed Bjork’s song too, if Bob ‘n’ Katie had shut the hell up so I could hear it!

The water concept was interesting but not well utilized. Why subject us to that slooooow boat ride with the mugging child? It served no purpose.

I knew enough about the mythology that I was able to follow it. Some of the imagery was kind of silly. The couple frolicking under the eye of Eros? Whatever. The evolution of sculpture? OK. The guy gadding about on a cube? Dopey, but the guy was hot so I forgive.

The ceremonial stumbles in the final lap of the torch were a cool idea. The cauldron is the ugliest thing I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a jumbo version of the portable torches but it comes off looking like a giant disposable lighter. At least gild it or something, don’t leave that white plastic!

The best OC IMHO was Barcelona. The representations of the elemental forces, the Freddy Mercury-Montserrat Caballe duet, the archer lighting the cauldron…beautiful and amazing.

The most disappointing part was when the Greeks cheered for Turkey. I was looking forward for some bottles being thrown, or at least a couple of boos from the stands.

And yes, I think that woman was bearing ET’s child. Scary thing that.

I’d really prefer if the cameras had zoomed back during that parade of Eros so I could see what was going on other than directly under Dr. Manhattan travelling through time.

Than again I hate NBC for what they did during the Sydney OC, so I’m biased. Stupid fricking commercials every time they could cram 'em in. I wish my cable had international stations that showed it.

I was in and out on the coverage, but after reading the recap at the NY Times site, I have to give Bob Costas - who I like, but seemed otherwise pointless - credit for one good joke. He noted that killing your father and marrying your mother like Oedipus is “a sequence of events that rarely turns out well.” :smiley:

I actually liked the opening ceremony. I knew about the history and mythology, so I could “get” the costumes. Those living statues and all were pretty cool.

But the OC, as broadcast by NBC, would have been ten times as good if Couric and Costas would have just shut up most of the time. Honestly, who wrote those “jokes” and “ad libs” they were spouting. A simple statement of what we were seeing would have been sufficient, thank you very much. And I hate it when the commercials were on during the parade of nations.

I was amazed at just about everything, only because I was so impressed they actually built the damn stadium on time, let alone suspend people and stuff from its ceiling without dropping them. My favorite part was the parade of Greek history with Eros flying above it all - the costumes were incredible and all in all it was mesmerizing.

Yes, Bob and Katie need to be drawn and quartered for their stupid jokes. (“You know Katie, if you say you’ve ‘ended up in Timbuktu’, you’d really be in the country of Mali.” SHUT UP! Do you have any idea how much hard work it takes for people from poor countries like that to come here? Show some respect!) I cheered extra loud for the countries that only brought 1 or 2 delegates (BTW, does anyone else remember how serious and proud the lone guy from the British Virgin Islands looked?)… and I can’t tell you how thrilled I was that the US athletes got so many cheers. I was anticipating a bad reaction.

Can’t wait to see who will win the first medals!

Apparently, Judo prepares you for flag -bearing, beacuse (altho I didn’t keep formal track) that seemed to be the most popular sport for the flag bearer.
Track and Field was pretty popular as well – no surprise. but Judo?


The guy lights the cauldron which just HAPPENS to be a big giant joint held by a roach clip. WTF? Is it the blunt of the gods?
I didn’t see it last night but I caught the highlights this morning. My first reaction was “holy shit its a giant doobie”. What were they thinking? Nobody saw this when they designed it?

I get Canadian TV so I got to see it without Bob Costas’ mouth. Nyah nyah. I thought Bjork sounded and looked pathetic. I liked the human statues and that sculpture that opened up in the air was pretty cool. I’ve always wondered- does the torch REALLY light the cauldron or is there an internal igniter that is activated when the torch comes near it? That couple frolicking in the water was pretty hot. The fireworks were nice but it seemed a bit repetitive. Not a bad job overall.

I shot the Opening and Closing Ceremonies in Atlanta in 1996. On the field, in amongst the dancers, trucks and whatnots. Got to run on the track along with Evander Holyfield with the torch. Best gig of my entire 22 year career.

I worked for the company that produced the OC, and not for NBC. We made the world feed happen, and offered NBC our Line Cut. They could air what we aired, but they had no control over our cameras. NBC frequently took my shots, which was cool as beans. ( Our show had cameras in place that NBC wasn’t allowed to, like the walking-out shot I did with Clinton onto the field, etc. ). We fed the World Feed with no announcer, no color commentary. Nothing. No mixed music. All we fed was the music played in the house during the show. Each country got to use what they wished, and use their own commentary. I have those tapes. It is a heck of a show when you have:

A) No commercials at all.
B) No commentary.
C) No graphics of any kind.
D) No editing.

It goes for about 4 hours and change. I wore my Steadicam for 2 hours and 15 minutes nonstop at the start of the show, a personal record. Was so damned pumped up that I was awake for hours after the whole thing ended. I actually got onto my bicycle at 1:30 am or so, and rode a lap around the track as it was being prepped for track and field the next day. :smiley: Better than that was a bunch of the volunteers who worked the OC, who ran a few foot races on that track. A cool place to be when the stadium is totally lit, but empty of spectators…

And yeah, cynical old t.v. guy that I am, when I saw Ali light that torch I cried.

I missed last night, and have no regrets about that. After doing Atlanta, I feel the best way to see the Ceremonies is to somehow get a tape of the World Feed, and enjoy it without commentary.


What stuck with me was that the North Korean and South Korean teams marched together, in a mingled group, distinguished only by the color of their jackets --red and blue, respectively-- and I saw some NK and SK athletes holding hands. I just hope that portends something for NK/SK relations. Athena knows we need some good news from there.

They did that in Sydney too. It’s a meaningless display of Korean “oneness.” North Korea is still run by a band of psychotic thugs, and I guarantee you that the NK athletes were ordered to cooperate with the South Koreans under threat of torture.

I hate NBC’s coverage of the OC.
Basically the same person who writes the ‘patter’ for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade writes for the Olympics. Arrugh! Please stop congratulating yourself on how stupid you are! If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
What I didn’t see and wanted to see was where did the map of the world go? It took a while to get it all out but it seemed to disappear rather quickly.
Did anybody see it get take off?

We watched it with friends who were born in Greece.

Our host and hostess seemed proud of their home country and what’s been accomplished, even in light of the delays and the expense and likelihood the Olympics won’t come out in the black. They explained that the infrastructure things that were done were much needed and may not have been accomplished without the Olympic deadline as a catalyst.

When the commentary went to the delays with regard to construction on the stadium and it getting done just in time our host said something like “But that’s the Greek way” with a huge grin and wave of his hand. Just a few beats later Bob Costas said the same thing and everyone in the house laughed at the coincidence.

During the OC I could have done without the commentary, I didn’t need it most of the time and when I did have a question it wasn’t covered in the commentary.

None of us, even our Greek host and hostess and their guest who is here from Greece just for the month, understood the ET tummy.

I personally really liked the heartbeat drums. Our hostess loved the dresses that were vases on the young women carrying the names of the countries and the parade float with the (Greek Orthodox) religous people. The host seemed to enjoy the mythology.

We never really saw the map on the fabric either and our host was puzzled why they used and Italian (if I remember correctly) singer.

I had a really nice time last night and enjoyed the ceremony although likely it was as much or more because of our host and hostess as it was the coverage.

Totally agree! Sydney was also great. I kinda liked Oslo, too.
I only got to see bits and pieces of last night’s OC:

Hated the commercial cuts.

The human lightning bug was silly.

The giant DNA light show was ultra-cool!