Usually, I don’t bother about the Olympic Games, as they seem to have become just too commercial, but I am getting quite excited about the Olympic Games in China, mainly because they have already been so newsworthy, partly controversial and very unusual.
I am just watching the opening ceremony whilst doing other stuff and am impressed with the mass spectacle and with what creativity it has been organised. It is a very beautiful, exotic and enlightening performance to watch.
I haven’t watched any opening of an Olympic ceremony for the last 20 years or so, because they seemed so absolutely predictable, or in the case of Atlanta very commercial and focused on a few individuals’ performances and celebrity appearances such as Muhammed Ali’s or Cathy Freeman.
The commentators are a bit unnerving, but it was said that the performers trained for three years for event, which has in total been planned for seven years. I don’t think any other country could have managed (or afforded) to train masses of performers for three years for such a spectacular event.
Best I liked the drummers, it seemed as if they were hitting madly a hoard of photocopiers. The use of glowsticks as drumsticks was also a brilliant idea. Best I liked it when the camera was zooming into the masses of performers and you could see the different facial expressions of the performers; some were happily smiling, others very focused.
The printing machine performance was also great. I particularly liked it when one guy made a little mistake and stood up at the wrong time, symbolising that mass performance really only work if all the performers work in perfect harmony. One person could really spoil the whole picture. I also liked them all madly waving and smiling at the end.
The paddle performers were also great. I quite like the intelligent cultural references made throughout the introduction. The firework footsteps have also been an incredibly poetic and powerful idea.
I must say though that I was a little bit annoyed by the commentator, especially the female commentator, who later was revealed to be a well-known and usually highly reputable broadcast journalist.
Well, it probably is a tricky task to come up with some intelligent ad-lib stuff if there are so many nations entering the stadium for hours and not much otherwise happening.
So maybe it’s then excusable, if the only thing said about Bangladesh, is that it has a water problem because of its high flooding risk and that Uzbekistan’s president has been reelected with 94% of the votes. …
I was watching the German public television channel, not the BBC, I would like to stress at that moment though.
What I found really shocking (amongst other things) is that the Chinese were said to have been shooting clouds with silver iodide to prevent it from raining during the opening ceremony. That sounds like a very toxic method compared with the alternative of the performers getting wet!