Thoughts on the Opening Ceremony

August 8, 2008

Having seen quite a lot of sporting events, and naturally, quite a lot of opening ceremonies, I must admit I was pretty amazed watching this year’s Olympic Opening ceremony. It was huge, involving thousands of people, but it was also very simple and artistic. From the blimp camera view, the shapes that the many thousands of humans made were breathtaking (my favorite was a bird which flapped its wings multiple times). The dancers were skilled and quick, and their overall performance was brilliantly choreographed. The fireworks were amazing, all their detail was displayed individually. The opening ceremony was (you could say) perfect, with amazing technology, great music, and risky acrobatics that was flawlessly executed via thousands of headphones, remote controls, and intense determination behind the scenes. 

But I didn’t like it.

Why? How could you just dismiss a flawless performance that took years of preparation and thousands of people to perform? In truth, it was perfect, but to me, and probably to many other people, it was expected. Let’s face it — the Chinese are master performers, they are as skilled, acrobatic, and dedicated as anyone else out there, but this would be their stereotypical performance. Just think about it. If someone told you that the Chinese were going to put on a performance for billions of people, and they could use all the people and money they pleased, this is what you would expect — and this is what we got. It was the best performance I have ever seen — and call me spoiled — but it wasn’t unique. It wasn’t different, it wasn’t simple, and it could have been. I enjoyed watching the ceremony, but I still think they could have done better. Better, but not with more people and money. Call me crazy, but I think the perfect Olympic Opening Ceremony should involve not involve dancers and acrobats, but all the athletes participating in the actual games. 

Let’s face it — to make it to the olympics, you don’t just need to be good at your sport, you need to be legendary. And everyone in the olympics is skilled, in shape, and experienced in entertainment. It would be exciting to have all the athletes’ best skills incorporated into the performance. It would be a fresh idea, it would be hilarious (some of the athletes would probably slip up or add some humor into it), and it would be great to see your favorite player perform. It would be like a professional dancing with the stars, and I think it would be entertaining for the viewers. Its just an opinion, but I think it would work.



29 Responses to “Thoughts on the Opening Ceremony”

  1. rakeon Says:

    I enjoyed the opening ceremony greatly and believed it showcased China’s ancient history beautifully. I like your athlete involvement idea. It would be interesting to see and it would also be a huge pressure too, seeing athletes are worried enough about their own sport.

  2. pacer521 Says:

    While that is true about the acient history, I don’t think that now is the time to give the world a 40 minute history lesson.

  3. mylifeispink Says:

    china is an emerging superpower. they took advantage of every moment of the opening ceremonies to show the world that the chinese people is a great force to reckon with. and i believe them.

  4. pacer521 Says:

    and there is no disputing that. They are a powerhouse, and I believe them too. My article was about the lack of origionalness and easy to guess opening ceremony. It was breathtaking and many other things as I said in the article, but at the same time it wasn’t original. I never disputed with them as a country.


  5. fishyTruth Says:

    hey interesting article, I wrote a post in response, see what you think

  6. rolf proft Says:

    The opening ceremony was a little too Chinese, Like a mud guard of a car, shiny on top and a lot of rubbish underneath. To talk of human unity and then have the honor guard raise the flag, just emphasized the fascist regime that China has. Over half the people in the stadium where either Army or government towers of the line. The ceremony portrayed Chinese art as a cluttered mess which it is not. Some of the technical things were innovative but then went to far by having 1008 drummers, 1000 Confucius’s when one would have been more domineering.
    Sorry guys this was something for the plebs.

  7. pacer521 Says:

    Its ok, this is what blogs are for — free speech. As far as what you are saying — china is the host country so they do have the right to make the opening ceremony chinese history based. China was probably making a political statement with all those people, but in truth I didn’t really care. In my article I was speaking only of the actual performance. You do make a great point about the art. That was one of the flaws, but besides that it was perfect, just exactly what I expected, and that’s what I wrote about. As far as your political points, its just not what I intended to get into.

    Why don’t you check out my other post: “china’s in trouble”. That’s a little more toward what you are saying,


  8. martyfahncke Says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting.

    You have some interesting thoughts about to do an opening ceremony…perhaps London will see your post and take some notes.

    I would certainly hate to be on their planning committee after last night. 🙂

  9. apanoptes Says:

    To me this opening ceremony was beyond belief. I have tried to describe it twice today to people that did not see it. I quickly realized that I lack the words to make it justice. You say: “…it wasn’t unique.” I’d love to visit your planet someday where this is commonplace. I pity the countries that have to follow this. I do not think that it can be topped. Politics aside, bravo! for the Chinese.

  10. j Says:

    Hi pacer521, read your entry and liked your idea of including the athletes in the show. Logistically, it would’ve been more of a nightmare than it already was. Moreover, the entire opening ceremony was kept a state secret and so only a group of selected individuals were let in on the know. Even the wife of Li Ning (that dude flying in the air) wasn’t aware of his involvement in the event! Even if it was logistically possible, the security would’ve been an issue as over 80 heads of states were present and so it was probably more secure to plan the opening in a closed environment, etc. Inviting athletes from around to world to partake in the ceremony would pose more risks in terms of leaks to people who would find this information useful: terrorists.

    I’m Chinese and I can’t say I agree 100% with China’s policies. Politics aside, I thought the show was great. I only wish I was there inside the stadium to experience the sweat-filled environment, first hand!

  11. pacer521 Says:

    Marty Fahncke,

    Thanks for the compliments — good point about the planning committee!


    You do raise a good point — my planet is called the average 13 year old in the United States, and that alone can be disagreed with. London can follow this if they in a sense break the rules, and go for something new. I am not disagreeing that the chinese act wasn’t spectacular, but at the same time I am saying it was something that they had in their realm. We may have different opinions, but its great to argue about something that is not political for once.

    thanks for all the great comments guys!

  12. pacer521 Says:


    I guess that athlete thing was just a suggestion, there would obviously be terrorist and security problems. Wow, thats info about the state secrecy was pretty cool. Do you live in China?

    I’m looking forward to the USA vs. China basketball opener, to show the changing of the times with international basketball. Also I would like to see how Yao and Yi J. (i wouldn’t try to spell it) interact, and there will also be tons of pressure because Bush is watching. Thanks for commenting,

  13. j Says:

    Hey pacer521,

    I grew up in Hong Kong and spent a couple years working in Shanghai, so I do feel connected to the “motherland”. You’re a 13 year old?! You write pretty well for someone so young – I wonder what I was doing then. Anyway, I write a food blog; I was just surfing around … come visit when you get a chance

    If you ever visit Asia, drop me a note and I’ll give you all the must-go-to places for good eats, cheers

  14. pacer521 Says:


    Thanks a lot again for the compliments. I think its great that you have your own opinions, I have actually tried valiantly to locate a chinese or hong kong blogger on the web but I couldn’t. As far as your food blog — although I am not a huge food buff, I am connected to the celiac disease and because of that I can’t consume dairy, wheat, or eggs. I am obsessed with rice and otherwise indian and chinese food usually works for me and my brother who can’t have that stuff too. I studied Nepal in school and so I am very keen to visit asia. The only looming problem is the food, sadly. Maybe you know some places.
    Your actual blog is great — I learned a lot from your last post about food in Shanghi. (sorry if i misspelled).

    best wishes,

  15. mittxe Says:

    I think your comments are wonderful and I like the ideas you have. My only concern is that the Olympians will all miss viewing the majority of the olympics due to their participation and training. The only thing they can truly watch without worry is the opening ceremony. Well, ok, maybe they can watch other things but this is a BIG part of the Olympics and they can just relax and be awed. I’d hate for that to be taken from them.

  16. carnationzky Says:

    thanks for reading my blog. that’s just one part of my opinion, no one can discount the fact of how amazing it was. your suggestion about the athletes taking part is ok but remember that the athletes themselves would be busy with all their training prior to the games and where will they find the time to practice some dance performance? maybe some but not all? i wouldn’t know as well. i had other thoughts on the ceremony, such as how much all the burnt fireworks contributed to the carbon emission and overall air pollution index? and how will they dispose of all the materials used? other environmental implications and the like? hope they have also considered the “after” event.

  17. pacer521 Says:


    that suggestion was just something I dreamed up without much afterthought on how this could be done. My main point in this article was why I thought the ceremony wasn’t unique. I mean — the athlete thing could be done with the cooperation of the athletes, but obviously there would be a lot of complications.

    same as above about the athletes thing. I just thought that with all the money and people and time China spent rehearsing and planning they could have stopped and thought how they could make it different rather than just going with the gigantic, huge, acrobatic and wonderful ceremony that everyone expected (well at least I did). WIth the pollution — you might want to check out my article about this same topic — its called “pollution a concern for olympic athletes” I do think that it will cause more and more pollution, but consider all the pollution they made building these wonderful arenas and facilities.

    Thanks both of you for reading.


  18. varza Says:

    I understand what you mean, but I still can’t help but be impressed. At least they didn’t spell out Howdy to the world like they did in Atlanta – I was living there when that happened and kinda clapped my hand over my eyes in disbelief. But I liked the way they did the flame opening – in using the great athletes from China. But in truth, while it would be nice to use the athletes in the opening ceremonies it would be hard since many aren’t even there because they have to start their events the following morning.

    And I agree – you could expect no less from China, but it was still awesome. And they did live up to their standards and the worlds standard for them.

    Great blog! Glad I came by… Will be back to read more later.

  19. pacer521 Says:


    I remember watching the ¨howdy¨ fiasco in Atlanta. About China… everyone has different opinions about the ceremony. What I thought was that although China tried their hardest, their performance was kind of stereotypical. The athletes´ idea that I had was just something I thought was interesting but didn´t really think it through in terms of security and accessibility.

    Thank you for all the compliments and thanks for visiting my blog.

    Sorry for not getting to your comment right away — I am currently touring around Buenos Aires, Argentina with limited internet. Due to the fact that I am constantly on the move, getting internet is a matter of scanning for networks at stop lights!


  20. damyantig Says:

    It was a spectacular display, but quoting lack of originality sounds like sour grapes.

  21. pacer521 Says:


    Sorry if I misspelled your name, its early in the morning. Lack of originality was my quote, yes. Why I said it was because I was one of the people who saw this coming and saw the leaks on Korean TV. So I knew about the money, knew about how many people, and knew about how much time, and knew about the electronics and technology involved. So because of that, I expected for something grand, gigantic, and spectacular. I’m not trying to make a political point, if London does this next year then I will say the exact same thing. I just thought it was unoriginal because it didn’t break any rules and it wasn’t different from the rest — it was just better. I was sick of the rest.


  22. sambalfootball7 Says:

    chk out
    4 those who love football

  23. Jump Says:

    I was more interested in it from a cultural perspective though I can agree with you that there could’ve been more, so to speak. From a historical standpoint, it was in effect, a presentation for an emperor. I imagined what China must’ve been like 200 or even 100 years ago and the sort of goings on that would’ve taken place in an imperial court and thought that this was as close as it’d ever come. It was China presenting itself to the world as though the world were it’s emperor. I also thought that there would be no other country in the world who could come up with such a presentation as China is unmatched in terms of its human capital and more importantly dedication. You could sense the passion in each of those performers. I’m sure they weren’t getting paid big bucks to be involved in something like that but they were doing it out of pride and an overwhelming desire to show the global community what China has evolved into. Needless to say, I was deeply moved.

  24. pacer521 Says:


    I can totally see your side to the story too…the history dazzled me as well. my opinion was that it wasn’t anything NEW — but without saying anything political — you are right in many senses. This post was just my opinion.


  25. linese Says:

    Agreed. It was huge, a visual feast to be sure, but just didn’t stirr any emotions. Your idea would seem to rejuvenate the show but I guess it just isn’t feasable
    Nice blog. Keep up the good writing 🙂

  26. pacer521 Says:


    Finally someone agrees with me! I’ve kind of taken back the part about the athletes in the performance, it would be awesome but impossible to arrange. Thanks for your opinions and compliments!


  27. mylifeispink Says:

    some athletes even skipped the opening ceremonies because they didn’t want to risk sickness or injury.

  28. pacer521 Says:

    wow, that’s a little extreme, you think? All they are doing is sitting on the bleachers. This was like the US team arriving in masks at the Beijing airport. Well, maybe they thought there was going to be some sort of attack, there were threats.
    thanks for the commenting


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