4 years is a long enough time that I legitimately forget what to expect come summer Olympic time. I vaguely remember the spectacle in Beijing during the 2008 Opening Ceremony, but when I sat down to watch London’s opening ceremony last night, I didn’t have any idea what a spectacle it would be. Overall, the ceremony was very impressive, entertaining and represented the magnitude of the event. The bit with James Bond and the Queen parachuting in was clever, even though when the actual Queen was there, she seemed very uninterested in the proceedings. Here’s a screen shot of what she was doing when the host country – her country – marched into the Olympic Stadium.
Before the procession of the countries, there was some electric performances and elaborate skits that translated really well on television. The organizers used thousands of lights and video and also used the entire stadium, including projecting images on the audience. This gave the entire ceremony a futuristic feel which I’m sure was quite the experience to see live in person.
The procession of countries was also special because everyone shows such pride in their home country. Even though it seemed the countries were going by so fast (which they were), each athlete seemed to genuinely enjoy his or her moment in the spotlight to represent his or her country, no matter how big or small.
The torch lighting was spectacular as well. I’ve seen it many times before, but it still is impressive to see the torch officially let. The history that goes along with that moment is still overwhelming and as a sports fan, it’s exciting because it signals the beginning of 2+ weeks of athletic competition.
The fireworks show that ensued was the highlight of the entire ceremony for me. We should let the British handle our 4th of July celebrations because that was the coolest fireworks show I’ve ever seen. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to witness that live. It was 3 straight minutes of hundreds of fireworks – all different kinds, going off at once. Pretty impressive and awesome to watch.
Finally, McCartney did what he does best to close the ceremony. It was a great moment. I’ve heard him do Hey Jude before a number of times, but there was something extra special about this performance. As everyone sang along, it was a reminder that music really is the great equalizer. No matter the differences between the countries, whether it’s differing ideologies, government, economies or traditions, everyone sang along and was on the same page at the close of those Opening Ceremonies. It should be a fun 2 weeks and I’m sure I will undoubtedly get more and more patriotic as the games go on.
It was a great opening ceremony and I bet 4 years from now I’ll completely forget what to expect during the next one. If the actual games are on par with last night’s opening ceremony, I think we’re in for a memorable Olympics.