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Opening Ceremony


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I think it would depend on the hosts. Someone's like London's is just soooo familiar, it would have been superfluous to go through another rendition of British history 101 (that said, it still seems to piss a lot of people off here they didn't do a standard timeline of their history from Stonehenge era to the present day).

I don't think a Rio or an Istanbul ceremony could be anything else but national. Tokyo? I think it could go two ways, I could see them doing something a bit more universal, but I'd also love to see them highlight some of the more quirky and colourful aspects of their modern culture - from karaoke to manga and cosplay!

i have a picture in my head that tokyo2020 OC will be horrible if they added amine and cosplay into the mix (e.g. thank tim from london 2012) put it at the closing ceremony. what would like to see if tokyo get the bid is a more about the past mixing in with modern and one or two in jokes might not be a bad idea.

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i have a picture in my head that tokyo2020 OC will be horrible if they added amine and cosplay into the mix (e.g. thank tim from london 2012) put it at the closing ceremony. what would like to see if tokyo get the bid is a more about the past mixing in with modern and one or two in jokes might not be a bad idea.

Oh well, different tastes. I'd certainly prefer a "fun" Tokyo ceremony to a solemn one like Nagano's or Athens. They might have been beautiful in their own way, but left me "cold".

London's, on the other hand, was the most enjoyable I've ever watched. I saw it all with a huge smile on my face and a number of laugh out loud moments. To me that was magic!

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OK, I needed a little time and space to return with a level-head here. I was getting too emotional. Sorry 'bout that.

Anyway, 2 contributions:

1. Re prospective Tokyo ceremonies. Well, since Fukushima is now a reality, maybe time to bring Godzilla out? ANd then the 3-D glasses might really work.

2. Don't know if it was published before but this (BBC no less) article helps explain NBC's side of their London OC coverage. And why not?

Choreographer Akram Khan has said he is upset his Olympic opening ceremony tribute to victims of the 7 July London bombings was not aired in the US.

Khan said he felt "disheartened and disappointed" NBC cut the segment which featured him and 50 dancers perform to Abide With Me, sung by Emeli Sande.

Instead, NBC aired an interview with American Idol host Ryan Seacrest and US Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps.

NBC said it had had no indication the segment was a reference to the attacks.

"I am really sad that I couldn't show the work in America, and that really upsets me, because I don't think it's any less or more than any of the other pieces," Khan told the Associated Press.

"Is it not accessible enough? Is it not commercial enough?

"It brings to mind the question - but maybe I'm wrong because I don't really know the reason - but it brings to mind a question that maybe it's too truthful, and I think that says it all really," he said.

Khan said he was asked by artistic director Danny Boyle to design a section of the opening ceremony around the theme of mortality.

Along with images of loved ones lost by those in the stadium, the segment was widely interpreted as a tribute to the 52 victims of the bombings in 2005.

However, NBC maintained the performance was never presented to them as such.

The ceremony's programme described the performance as dramatising "the struggle between life and death using such powerful images of mortality as dust and the setting sun".

NBC - which holds the exclusive rights to air the Games in the US - broadcast the ceremony on a time-delayed basis so it could be shown during primetime and made editing changes.

The network has also received criticism for not providing a live stream of the event.

NBC said there were often such production decisions when showing a taped version of a ceremony.

"We are live streaming every sporting event, all 32 sports and all 302 medals … The opening and closing ceremonies, however, are entertainment spectacles," the network said in a statement. [bolding is mine.]

"Our award-winning production team will present them on a medium that best demonstrates their grandeur and majesty, and at a time when friends and family are able to gather together to watch, which is in primetime."

A record-setting 40.7m people in the US watched NBC's first night of summer Olympics coverage.

It topped the previous mark of 39.8m who watched the 1996 Atlanta Olympics begin, and the 34.9m who watched the first night from Beijing four years ago.

source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-19037588

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1. Re prospective Tokyo ceremonies. Well, since Fukushima is now a reality, maybe time to bring Godzilla out? ANd then the 3-D glasses might really work.

I could actually see them doing that! I don't think it's far-fetched.

The more I think of it, the more i think they could well play with their pop culture.Sorta got glimpses of them trying it in their 2016 presentation when they were trying to show their "fun" side.

Edited by Sir Rols
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I think that the there will be an increasing tenor in the 21st Century ceremony on hosts not just self promoting their own culture, but promoting global culture and ideas. The environment, in particular, is an area that would be interesting to explore.

Yes I totally agree with this. London explored the youth option, and I think future cities that don't feel they need to promote their culture on a global stage would look towards more universal goals as a reason for bidding, winning and hosting a Games. In an ever globally connected world where people know more about foreign culture, and we are now entering a stage of cities potentially hosting a third Games, I do see a trend to move towards a more 'message' based Games rather than a cultural one.

The environment would be an excellent topic to explore through a Games.

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@DarJoLe: "The environment would be an excellent topic to explore through a Games."

The Games as a whole (as opposed to the ceremonies) have already been doing this in recent years, both in the sense of increasing efforts towards "environmental friendliness" and things like London's wildflowers and nature reserves. Also, because universal themes are relatively easy to symbolise, I think it's more likely that in most cases the national flavour will be preserved in ceremonies, with nods to universal themes along the way (like London's "Inspire a Generation" and nation-uniting cauldron).

@baron-pierreIV:

The 7/7 connection to the Akram Khan dance was indeed only made by a BBC commentator, not announced by the ceremony producers.

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I could actually see them doing that! I don't think it's far-fetched.

The more I think of it, the more i think they could well play with their pop culture.Sorta got glimpses of them trying it in their 2016 presentation when they were trying to show their "fun" side.

Yeah, Godzilla would get peckered to death by a ton of Pokemons and Pikachus. And Miss Kitty would battle it out with Mothra!

And from a Spaniard on SSC: apparently, the 'rising smokestacks' idea even predates the 2007 Las Vegas instance I found. He claims, with photographic proof (below), that said idea was used at the 2005 Almeria Med Games Opening; and he told me in a PM that the rising structures also told part of the story of Spain, converting into islamis mosque towers, and then into Christian church towers. So quite versatile indeed.

bayyanashow9.jpg

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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Every time I wander into town I see a massive brick chimney rising high into the sky, it takes me straight back to last summer and those amazing structures rising up from the stadium floor. I really don't care where the idea came from it was a fantastic sight and so realistic too. Ive said it on here time after time, theres no such thing as a new idea, just different ways of interptreting it.

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Mmmmmm. An idea is first born somewhere, sometime. Who thought of the first telephone? Toothpaste? Post-it? Camera? Cauldron? Torch relay? etc., etc.

And if one can trace it, then great! Davey, there's NOTHING wrong in tracing who did what first for ceremonies either. I guess some of us are just more into history than others.

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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I guess its your thing what with the book and everything.

The point about the telephone I would say people had communicated across distances in different ways before, the telephone was the new interpretation of that and a better way, it wasnt a new idea, it was a new way of doing it.

The chimneys in the above pictures compared to what we saw in London look a very poor comparison, without seeing how they rose of cause. I would be interested to see how they worked, but again its years before and at the time probably were the bees knees.

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I guess its your thing what with the book and everything.

The chimneys in the above pictures compared to what we saw in London look a very poor comparison, without seeing how they rose of cause. I would be interested to see how they worked, but again its years before and at the time probably were the bees knees.

No clip of the 2005 ceremony has appeared on YouTube, but I did ask the guy (from ALmeria) and he did say they rose the same way.

But then u contradict yourself slightly because even if they were 'poorly' conceived or look inferior to the London smokestacks, then as you said, 2012 is merely a refinement of the first known use of the staging idea. And until some video of that moment comes out, I think we can take the Almerian guy's word just as some Londoner (like yourself) would justifiably be proud of the moment. For me, it was probably the most jaw-dropping moment of the OC...not because of its technical possibility (which is really rather simple), but the sleight-of-hand manner in which it was achieved. Still, it interests me greatly to know how, where, when it was done before. In my book, yeah, just as another precedent example, I do bring out that Athens' head was not entirely original either. It is known that the ancient Romans employed a similar technique with a water show in the now-dry Lago Fusine (outside Rome). And there are many others. I mean the whole ceremony business is a game of oneupsmanship with each new host.

I think a purely universal opening ceremony would be very generic and thus boring. You always need a certain amount of patriotism in an opening ceremony to create that special atmosphere of joy and pride that is necessary for a good ceremony.

Exactly. And the IOC Charter (from which everything Olympic springs) does encourage a display of the host's national character and culture in the ceremonies. The IOC gives the hosts their time to shine and with the advent of global television, there is no better advertisement for the host city and country to attract future generations of visitors and tourists. It worked immensely for Barcelona!!

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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You forget that many of those potential "third time hosts" have never staged a modern Olympic opening ceremony - in the sense of the extravaganza of show elements, history parades, special effects etc. we have encountered since Moscow 1980 or especially LA 1984. London, for example, had never really showcased its history and/or culture in an Olympic opening ceremony before 2012 - in 1908 and 1948, the Olympic ceremonies still consisted mainly of the traditional protocol with only few (if any) and very modest cultural displays. The same applies to (potential) third time host Paris which had no (1900) or a very traditional (1924) opening ceremony in its previous two Games. Only LA and Athens could claim that they have already showcased their country and its history and culture with a big extravaganza in 1984 respectively 2004.

But even then: I strongly expect national cultural and historical elements to pop up also in every future Olympic opening ceremony. Olympic Games are a huge opportunity to showcase the host country and to bolster the national prestige. Even the demonstratively "non-political" Munich 1972 Games were actually very political since West Germany wanted to show what a peaceful, civilised and democratic country it had become in the 27 years since World War II. So no Olympic host will ever stage a purely universal opening ceremony IMO, and it's actually good this way. I think a purely universal opening ceremony would be very generic and thus boring. You always need a certain amount of patriotism in an opening ceremony to create that special atmosphere of joy and pride that is necessary for a good ceremony.

Yep, totally agree. Most ceremonies include a few segments that are universal (peace, brotherhood, coming together, looking to the future, pregnant women and DNA, etc) anyway - usually they're amongst the more boring bits anyway. People want to get a taste of the hosts. And for the host governments, who are footing the bill, they're wanting to give their citizens something to cheer on or be proud about. What's the point of moving the games around to different hosts if they're all going to start feeling generic.

London may not have delved into its looooong history, and tried to be more youth oriented and non-stereotypical, but what it did do was still so very British - even too British in the views of some the non-afficionados here.

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You've been PMing that guy on SSC have you Baron? Complete troll, cannot promote Madrid 2020 without snide remarks and lies about London 2012, claiming the venues were failtures and the Games were all about property development with no Olympic spirit. Mods at SSC have given him a little sabatical, and I know for a fact he's been banned from that site already and that that's his second account.

Wouldn't take his word for much to be honest....doing almost as good a job at promoting Madrid as JJ did for Abuja.

Edited by RobH
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@baron-pierreIV : "Mmmmmm. An idea is first born somewhere, sometime."

OK, I'll take the bait again. Very large inflatable props have been around for decades (think Pink Floyd pigs etc.) but here, as quoted in my rambling guide to the London Opening, is the much earlier ultimate source for the Industrial Era scene and its inflatable chimneys, not just thematically, but, if you think about it, also technically:

from Paradise Lost (book 1)
by John MIlton
1667


... [introduces two teams of demons, one mining metal on the slopes of the fiery hill, the second smelting it on the adjoining plain, then:]
A third as soon had form'd within the ground
A various mould, and from the boyling cells
By strange conveyance fill'd each hollow nook,
As in an Organ from one blast of wind
To many a row of Pipes the sound-board breaths.
Anon out of the earth a Fabrick huge
Rose like an Exhalation, with the sound
Of Dulcet Symphonies and voices sweet, ...

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I have to say, for lack of a better word "exoticism" is part of the appeal of the Olympic Games. It's fun experiencing new parts of the world and tasting different cultures. I think that's part of why the IOC finds new frontiers appealing. As it is, we are moving uncomfortably fast towards a homogenized, global culture. We already have an increasingly global economy. I think it's essential that we fight to preserve what makes us unique. I don't want a Tokyo opening ceremony to bear any resemblance to Rio or Sydney. I loved Athens' OC, but I wouldn't want London's to be the same. The variety is valuable and it needs to be protected.

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OK, I'll take the bait again. Very large inflatable props have been around for decades (think Pink Floyd pigs etc.) but here, as quoted in my rambling guide to the London Opening, is the much earlier ultimate source for the Industrial Era scene and its inflatable chimneys, not just thematically, but, if you think about it, also technically:

The chimneys looked suspended not inflated.

I have to say, for lack of a better word "exoticism" is part of the appeal of the Olympic Games. It's fun experiencing new parts of the world and tasting different cultures. I think that's part of why the IOC finds new frontiers appealing. As it is, we are moving uncomfortably fast towards a homogenized, global culture. We already have an increasingly global economy. I think it's essential that we fight to preserve what makes us unique. I don't want a Tokyo opening ceremony to bear any resemblance to Rio or Sydney. I loved Athens' OC, but I wouldn't want London's to be the same. The variety is valuable and it needs to be protected.

The other would be a total snooze fest. Give me national pride culture

and power (hold the text bubbles while your at it)!

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The chimneys looked suspended not inflated.

Exactly. They were hoisted by cables. I don't know where Mark Snow got the "inflatable" idea because I never even mentioned it in the same breath. If anything inflated, it was that big octopus, and that was in the CLosing, was it not? Also for the record, Mark, I don't include rock concerts etc. Not in my interest and genre. ; ;)

You've been PMing that guy on SSC have you Baron? Complete troll, cannot promote Madrid 2020 without snide remarks and lies about London 2012, claiming the venues were failtures and the Games were all about property development with no Olympic spirit. Mods at SSC have given him a little sabatical, and I know for a fact he's been banned from that site already and that that's his second account.

Wouldn't take his word for much to be honest....doing almost as good a job at promoting Madrid as JJ did for Abuja.

FGS, Rob. I'm not involved in some lengthy discourse with him. I just sought to confirm something about the foto and the info he posted. I don't think the "composed that foto" just to troll on SSC. C'mon, give me a little more credit. I can tell a destructive troll from a harmless one.

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@paul: "The chimneys looked suspended not inflated."

They were actually both- the suspension was partly a guide mechanism to stop them from bending sideways in the wind; the inflation was the key to their "solid" appearance.


@baron-pierreIV: "for the record, Mark, I don't include rock concerts etc."

You may not, but Ceremony organisers certainly do when they're looking for ideas.


@baron-pierreIV [re Almeria's OC towers]: "No clip of the 2005 ceremony has appeared on YouTube"

shows why they were made of gauze- they were actually very tall costumes!
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1. You may not, but Ceremony organisers certainly do when they're looking for ideas.

2. @baron-pierreIV [re Almeria's OC towers]: "No clip of the 2005 ceremony has appeared on YouTube"

shows why they were made of gauze- they were actually very tall costumes!

@JMarkSNow:

1. I am aware of that. That's their job.

2. Great find. I guess I didn't look under Spanish titles. Looks like a great show, except I don't understand the allusion to Hollywood movies.

Re the cylindrical costumes...OK, that clears that up. So it brings us back to the Vegas show, Love!, developed by Cirque du Soleil and which I posted a few weeks earlier re the first genesis of the rising chimneys/smokestacks effects of a professional show on a large scale. Thanks for finding the clip.

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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It looks more like several structural rings are positioned along
the shaft to provide shape, and the fabric hangs taunt from ring to ring as the
chimney is hoisted up with rigging. But I guess there could also be some
inflation going on, I think it would be redundant however and would require an enormous
amount of air pressure to fill quickly…I just don’t think they were inflated. I
could be wrong; I’d love to see more technical details of the prop if anyone
really has them.

My favorite props at London

1.Iron flow effect to main ring (favorite moment)

2.Tor -how can anyone not liek the Tor, so cute and furry!

3.glowing rings -looked like hot iron! great effect

4.Chimneys (loved the finish/brick patterns on these!)

500.Text bubbles :blink:

Olympic-Pandemonium_Olympics_London-1024

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I don't think there was any inflation involved because: (1) too complicated to construct; and (2) these things had to be packed & squished when not in use and having some sort of inflated compartments there would hinder the quick takedown of said structures.* The globe in Beijing strung out to 24m high when fully stretched; and still measured 4.5m high when it was pancaked and parked. But it had those steel plates on which the gymnasts pranced around; and which is why they also dug a 25-foot deep pit to hold all the underground stuff.

*(I cud ask my LOCOG contact, Daniel, who worked on the texture of these; but he doesn't always answer my emails. It's a hit or miss thing; but I'll try.)

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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