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Random musings about the 2008 Summer Olympics’ Opening Ceremony August 9, 2008

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings.
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Wow, that was absolutely breathtaking. To be honest, I was apathetic about the Olympics this year, but I love watching the Parade of Nations and Opening Ceremony. So I ordered a pizza and watched the Opening Ceremony tonight, even if it was time-delayed for the American public. I’m inspired to watch the Games now. I think my sleep pattern is going to be really off for the next three weeks…

I learned about two new countries in this year’s 204-country Parade of Nations. I am a total geography nut, but I can honestly say I have never heard of Tuvalu, a Polynesian island nation in the Pacific Ocean, and Comoros, an island nation in the Indian Ocean. As the Parade went on I kept wondering if I had somehow missed Germany. It was the 198th country to parade in. Italy and Austria made me laugh with their exuberance. Many of the poorer nations with small delegations really made me choke up. I can’t imagine some of the trials and tribulations the athletes endured to make it to compete in China. It’s really inspiring. The American flag bearer, Lopez Lomong, a Sudanese refugee and one of the “Lost Boys of Sudan,” epitomizes that struggle, as did little Lin Hao, the nine-year-old earthquake survivor who saved two of his fellow classmates from the rubble and proudly led out the Chinese team with Chinese flag bearer and NBA basketball star Yao Ming.

As a Cleveland native I also was very proud to see LeBron James walking with the American team. He really is an inspiration to the city and people of Cleveland. He puts his money where his mouth is and sponsors numerous events for the underprivileged. And his son goes to preschool with my niece, which I think is pretty cool.

The artistry of the Opening Ceremony was amazing. However, they skipped a hundred years of their history when they skipped any mention of China’s Maoist history (not that that is a surprise…). The mass of performers was overwhelming. Thousands of dancers and performers painted moving pictures of the invention of paper, the printing press, and the Great Wall. The LED screen and all the pageantry was so cool, as was the idea of having the athletes walk over paint to commemorate the Games. I can’t even imagine how amazing it must have been to be there and watch such impressive fireworks. Sarah Brightman singing in Chinese was also very cool.

But the ultimate moment was when Olympic gymnast Li Ning ran through the air around the stadium to light the Olympic Torch. My heart stopped when it appeared as if one of the wires had broke, but they were merely adjusting him for his run. Very impressive. It gave me goose bumps! This is going to be a tough Opening Ceremony to top!

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