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Actually, my memory dims, but was there not an issue with getting the athletes off of the track and surrounding area during the Closing Ceremonies of the Seoul Olympics? I remember big clusters around the bottom of the torch and mobs swarming onto the track a few times. The Koreans were not pleased and I think it was why athletes did not march in the Closing Ceremonies in Barcelona and Atlanta.

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it will be the most boring opening ceremony after atlanta :S

Fly over for a visit. There were some wonderful moments, but also quite a few disorganized looking head-scratchers. It wasn't terrible, but I have yet to speak to anyone on this side of the pond who

I will always see Beijings as a celebration that the Chinese beat their drums to the same beat and Londons a celebration that we each beat our drums to very different beats. Im certainly not trying

Actually, my memory dims, but was there not an issue with getting the athletes off of the track and surrounding area during the Closing Ceremonies of the Seoul Olympics? I remember big clusters around the bottom of the torch and mobs swarming onto the track a few times. The Koreans were not pleased and I think it was why athletes did not march in the Closing Ceremonies in Barcelona and Atlanta.

Yes, the US team, starting with Seoul 1988 just moved into the field as one BIG BLOB, in undisciplined rows. And after that, the nice marching formations quickly fell apart. Again, all this is discussed in the chapter,"Marching in the Nations," in that great BOOK!! That's another reason, I personally, have lost much interest in the entry of the athletes. As I quote myself: Why even bother to watch something so sloppily put together without care, much forethought or planning? :(

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Yes, the US team, starting with Seoul 1988 just moved into the field as one BIG BLOB, in undisciplined rows. And after that, the nice marching formations quickly fell apart. Again, all this is discussed in the chapter,"Marching in the Nations," in that great BOOK!! That's another reason, I personally, have lost much interest in the entry of the athletes. As I quote myself: Why even bother to watch something so sloppily put together without care, much forethought or planning? :(

Actually I thought the US team entered rather organized in Seoul... it was Barcelona that it really became a mess... Although in the previous games, the teams entrances were almost military-like in their precision..

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And of course by Atlanta, the US team entrance was the worst of the lot, the first 100-200 US athletes came down the ramp in a group and by the time the last 200 or so made it over the rise, they were coming into the field single file... I remember that the first of the US athletes were already on the opposite side of the track while the 'stragglers' (the 'dream team' basketball stars mostly) were still coming down the ramp by themselves... Of course, the USA having the largest-ever olympic team did not help speed things along... This is evident in NBC's coverage:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRgxbyJLQZw&feature=related

Dick Enberg even commented "Some of the Dream Teamers have yet to make the rise and entrance into the stadium..." <_<

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Contrast that mess of an entrance in 1996 to how the USA team entered 12 years earlier at the previous American summer games in Los Angeles 1984:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akCndyEaiL0

Note not only the difference in timing, but also in the behavior of the athletes... in line, walking together, not posing for the cameras or making hand signs, not running up into the crowd to high-five people, not stoping to take pictures along the way.... I thing the biggest difference of all is their BEHAVIOR.... <_<

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Actually I thought the US team entered rather organized in Seoul... it was Barcelona that it really became a mess... Although in the previous games, the teams entrances were almost military-like in their precision..

We have an apples and oranges combo here. I was referencing an incident in the CLOSING ceremonies, not the opening. The athletes usually come in en masse there. As for OCs, Barcelona was only really an issue because the organizers put the six members of the US basketball Dream Team right by the entry way, so you had athletes from other nations routinely breaking ranks and running over for their photos with Magic Johnson and company. The Dream Team were actually smuggled out by organizers under darkness while the human castle builders were doing their thing.

Atlanta's downfall was a GREAT idea in practice and in model, but in execution did not work out so well: the famous ramp entrance over the lip of the stadium and down into the arena. Cool visual, but given some athletes and officials can only go up and down an incline so fast, it led to the Parade being really spread out. The US is an example but the worst was the entrance of the German team. At one point the head of the marching team was entering their place in the infield and the back half was STILL working their way up the ramp. It was at least a couple of minutes before the next team even got their shot to come in.

Truth is as long as more nations are added to the Olympics (and rest assured, more nations WILL be over time), the parade will get no shorter and no amount of track design is going to improve the problem. For my part, I just lean back and enjoy the bi-annual geography lesson and overview of how the world has changed since the last parade.

Speaking of which, makes me wonder what reaction will be like when nations like Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Egypt and Iraq march in in July. Perhaps more by then.

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Speaking of which, makes me wonder what reaction will be like when nations like Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Egypt and Iraq march in in July. Perhaps more by then.

That's what I love about the parade of nations - trying to guess which country will get what reaction. The standing ovation for the Unified Team in Barcelona was special, as was the ovation for Georgia in Vancouver. Then there's the louder-than-usual reactions for small yet neighbouring countries, as if they're sharing these Olympics with the host.

And, as bgdrewsif has mentioned, it's also a barometer of how much the world has changed by watching the way the athletes behave.

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That's what I love about the parade of nations - trying to guess which country will get what reaction. The standing ovation for the Unified Team in Barcelona was special, as was the ovation for Georgia in Vancouver. Then there's the louder-than-usual reactions for small yet neighbouring countries, as if they're sharing these Olympics with the host.

Yeah...flavor of the moment. The home crowds are really hospitable for that night but after that...pfffffft.

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And of course by Atlanta, the US team entrance was the worst of the lot, the first 100-200 US athletes came down the ramp in a group and by the time the last 200 or so made it over the rise, they were coming into the field single file... I remember that the first of the US athletes were already on the opposite side of the track while the 'stragglers' (the 'dream team' basketball stars mostly) were still coming down the ramp by themselves... Of course, the USA having the largest-ever olympic team did not help speed things along... This is evident in NBC's coverage:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRgxbyJLQZw&feature=related

Dick Enberg even commented "Some of the Dream Teamers have yet to make the rise and entrance into the stadium..." <_<

And this is what happens when you make the athletes the center of "everything." I mean...at the end of the day, what do they really contribute to human civilization? Nada... Sorry to sound so down on them. But too MUCH obeisance is paid to these over-paid, highly insecure half-wits. Teachers, doctors, nurses, the police forces...these sectors of society should be marching on THAT OPENING Night and getting all the global attention...not these globs of muscle and bone.

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Over-paid half-wits?

I think you don't know on how little money approximately 85 % (if not even more) of those Olympic athletes have to live. Most of them still have to work besides their athletic activities to earn a living. And you probably also under-estimate how many of those athletes enjoyed or are still enjoying an academic education and probably have an higher IQ than you. ;)

Anyway: I share the thoughts about how unordered and chaotic the parades of nations appear in recent years. I have nothing against athletes waving and celebrating their moment in that opening ceremony, in front of the eyes of the whole world. But I'd wish that they could bring at least a part of the orderly fashion back in which the parade was conducted well into the 1980s. It looks much more dignified and impressive when the athletes form a block during the parade and break ranks only modestly.

That said, I don't think that in reality, we will see such a kind of "classic" parade again. I guess it's considered uncool and maybe even authoritarian these days to keep ranks and to show at least some order in such a parade. So we'll see dozens and dozens of parades with even more hoppping, dancing, breaking ranks, high-fiveing with members of the audience, camera-posing, wildly cheering, dressing up stupidly (like that French athlete in Athens 2004 who wore a really poor self-made olive wreath on his head for the OC parade and was stupidly pointing at that wreath when he saw that he was on camera) etc.

But nevertheless, I agree with those members who still feel a fascination about the parade of nations. I'm also highly interested every time which nations get the loudest cheers and how friendly and "cosmopolitan" the host crowd acts in general.

I think that the USA will get particularly loud cheers next summer in London, due to the close relationship of both countries and also due to the many American supporters who traditionally are present in Olympic opening ceremonies. Ireland will probably get huge cheers as well, just as Australia, Canada and New Zealand which are the Commonwealth countries with the closest cultural and historical connections to the UK. And, of course: Brazil will get big cheers, as the next Olympic summer host and as the big fun-loving nation which is popular as such around the world.

I'm a bit anxious about how big the cheers will be for Germany and France, though... ;)

That "French olive wreath moment" I mentioned took place at 2:30 into this clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtmdeldvsLQ

Apparently, the athlete just wanted to show the audience the wreath on his head and didn't notice at that moment he was on camera. But that doesn't diminish the fact that he looked ridiculous with that wreath.

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Wow. Those Brazilian getups in Athens were something else.....

I actually prefer the parade in person. I felt the desire to genuinely welcome the athletes from each country and became a much more active, invested spectator.. There was one lone athlete in Athens from an Afican nation (can't remember which) and that person got a very warm response -- as if the whole stadium was saying "We are so glad YOU are here!"

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I actually prefer the parade in person. I felt the desire to genuinely welcome the athletes from each country and became a much more active, invested spectator.. There was one lone athlete in Athens from an Afican nation (can't remember which) and that person got a very warm response -- as if the whole stadium was saying "We are so glad YOU are here!"

That is exactly the type of thing that they tried to do at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Manchester. The crowd was asked to cheer for each and every country. With a few exceptions every country got the same level of welcome. It was actually very nice to see. Far different from the partisan feeling I got from the Beijing crowd.

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That is exactly the type of thing that they tried to do at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Manchester. The crowd was asked to cheer for each and every country. With a few exceptions every country got the same level of welcome. It was actually very nice to see. Far different from the partisan feeling I got from the Beijing crowd.

Well, Beijing was a very unique case for the Olympics. I hesitate to say an abberation only because I'm too young to remember Moscow and I dunno what Sochi is going to be like. Generally speaking the crowd behaves themselves, but there have been exceptions. Barcelona was whistling at the Iraqi team in 1992 and Indonesia did not get a very warm welcome in Sydney either, but that is more state of the world than anything else. I remember NBC commentators were freaking out that the US team was going to get booed in Athens but that did not pan out, thank goodness.

Actually, if I had to pick the warmest receptions universally, they'd come from the OWGs, specifically Lillehammer and Vancouver. Pretty universal across the board in the cheers, some louder than others, but no glaring issues.

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That is exactly the type of thing that they tried to do at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Manchester. The crowd was asked to cheer for each and every country. With a few exceptions every country got the same level of welcome. It was actually very nice to see. Far different from the partisan feeling I got from the Beijing crowd.

It feels contrived for every country to get the same level of welcome. The spectators like some countries more than others, are familiar with some more than others, and the number of those who travel to make up the spectators are different with each Games, and it's nice to see the cheers reflect that too.

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It feels contrived for every country to get the same level of welcome. The spectators like some countries more than others, are familiar with some more than others, and the number of those who travel to make up the spectators are different with each Games, and it's nice to see the cheers reflect that too.

I take your point but sometimes it can be very dull when the home nation fails to get stirred by anything other than their own team. I don't like the idea of anything contrived but I think a loud cheer for everyone makes everyone feel welcome. It would certainly tain my view of a games if my country was booed during an opening ceremony as some have been.

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It feels contrived for every country to get the same level of welcome. The spectators like some countries more than others, are familiar with some more than others, and the number of those who travel to make up the spectators are different with each Games, and it's nice to see the cheers reflect that too.

I'm not suggesting every country get the same level if welcome. I'm just saying there's a different spirit to the parade in person. As a spectator, I WANTED to cheer for the athletes. There were still plenty of highs and lows in 2004. For example, no one in Athens was cheering for Israel and I decided to stand for them. Conversely, there was a huge outpouring of support for Iraq. The point I'm trying to make is that it's tedious on tv but much less so in person because there's more human interaction.

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Well, what's good about televising it is that undue cheering for say North Korea can be tuned out; silence for Israel can be mixed with thunderous cheers on the soundtrack, and a Clydesdale-Anhueser-Busch ad or one for HUGO would cheer me up instead of seeing the goons from Mugabe's country or other inconsequential ones like Haiti, Lesotho, Maldives, Mauretania, etc.. It's so boring to cheer for 2 hours!!

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Well, what's good about televising it is that undue cheering for say North Korea can be tuned out; silence for Israel can be mixed with thunderous cheers on the soundtrack, and a Clydesdale-Anhueser-Busch ad or one for HUGO would cheer me up instead of seeing the goons from Mugabe's country or other inconsequential ones like Haiti, Lesotho, Maldives, Mauretania, etc.. It's so boring to cheer for 2 hours!!

It is boring, I give you that.

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Actually, if I had to pick the warmest receptions universally, they'd come from the OWGs, specifically Lillehammer and Vancouver. Pretty universal across the board in the cheers, some louder than others, but no glaring issues.

Sadly, on television (at least here in Germany) we heard mainly a constant drumming sound (from the drums all the audience members had) and rarely noticeable cheers during Vancouver's parade of nations. The only times I remember distinct cheers or applause which drowned out the constant drum sound was when Georgia, the USA and Canada entered. But judging by the accounts of people who were in BC Place for the opening ceremony, the TV sound was simply misleading and there were a lot more cheers in fact, also for other teams.

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i think that they should start the parade of nations with the nation that previously hosted the last olympics that would be china and of course greece would follow suit and the other nations will follow just like they do during the commonwealth games parade of nations in this video

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/wmIZL2yl5Xk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

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i think that they should start the parade of nations with the nation that previously hosted the last olympics that would be china and of course greece would follow suit and the other nations will follow just like they do during the commonwealth games parade of nations in this video

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^^ No thanks. It would be absurd that they try to copy the CWG idea. Besides, it's one of the most know traditions of olympic ceremonies to have the parade led by Greece.

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