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When I saw the cauldron lighting at the Athens Paralympics back then in 2004, I thought that that could be an idea also for the Olympics and that we would see it there sooner or later. That's why I wasn't very surprised or even angry when Torino did the fireworks scheme in 2006. What angered me much more was that the original flame never even got near to the cauldron. (That was probably also the case in the Athens 2004 Paralympics OC, but since the Paralympic flame doesn't have the significance of the Olympic Flame, it didn't bother me much.)

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That's not the point though (of this thread). Regardless of where the caldera were located, the point is Torino seems so obviously to have copied Athens' m.o. so quickly; and here's where I think what might've prompted the Torino organizers: nobody watches the Paralympics, so maybe it's OK if we "borrow" that technique. Maybe no one will notice. Well...

Well you're an Olympic ceremony fan Baron and you didn't notice for 4 years! Maybe they did get away with it after all. Can't imagine the majority of people watching thought "oh I saw that at the Athens Paralympics".

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I was wondering when Rei would show up.

Well, Rei, one of the 'unwritten' criteria of staging these unique Ceremonies is to use 'original' ideas never before seen and unveiled to the world for the first time. There is a very small community of these Special Event producers and there is a great deal of oneupsmanship and also a certain amount of pride in presenting their 'creations' to the world as unique and original. After all, the 'freshness and originality' of their work may GET them the next big assignment; but not if all they do is copy somebody else's work.

As outsider kibitzer/observers, it also becomes our (or at least my) job to compare and catch 'scofflaws' or cheats since, well, these matters do border on the 'intellectual property' realm. I mean da Vinci and Michaelangelo would not be considered world-revered artists each in his own right if one merely copied from the other, would they? After all, the IOCs of the world are showing these spectacles to the outside world and subject to our own scrutiny and comparison. Also, why would they make a big deal about "...the secrecy of the maneuver and who wold light the cauldron..." if it's merely a repeat of a previously attempted scheme, and the last one at that? I mean I can't be a Madonna or Cher or Cirque du Soleil fan forever if all they did were exactly the same thing over and over, would I??

Yes, Torino improved on it and made it grander. And frankly, speaking for myself, I was not bothered by Belmondo's not actually touching the flame or the tower as others are. Hell, London may have its cauldron circle around the roof before coming to a stop. But that would look awfully familiar, wouldn't it?

A quote I found on the Paralympics page of Beijing:

I see your points and I partially agree but..

1 One thing is a mere copy, another is to take an idea and make it grander.. You yourself said Torino made it grander.. so improved it with changes (to say one, the spiral here embrassed all the stage and increasingly reached the cauldron). So we can discourse about the lack of ispiration or the lazyness of producers but objectively this is not a “copy” and least of all a rip-off and it’s the same director and the same family.

2. I agree that Birch(/Balich) and co. has becoming repetitive in these things but, personally, there are other things which bothered me about Torino ceremonies rather than this. You know for example how lame I found some of Cds performances, the disjointed fealing or how they summarily told the historic section.

3. You’re right about being original and showing something unique.. it's fair but the example of Beijing is so oversize compared to Torino. I mean those were the most expensive Summer Games in the history. There was a lot of nationl pride to show in those ceremonies and they obviously wanted to stage something which should have impressed the world. Torino didn’t have the same purpose or at least not at this scale even compared to Salt Lake or Vancouver. It was more relaxing but frankly nevertheless Torino provided originality and uniqueness in many other fields.

4. A vertical -tall- outside cauldron didn’t give much choices to organizers I guess.

How could you light it without throwing (Barcelona), stairs (LA), floss-thread (Albertville), lift (Sydney), huge mechanical devices (Athens, Beijing)?

Vancouver might be appreciated for making it new and original but, a part for the mulfunctioning, it turned out to be lame and anticlimax to many people. And also, don't you think that Beijing's was a bit tacky and unstylish (the floating guy looked like a salami).

So the pursuit of originality at all costs doesn’t mean necessarily good result.

At this regard I think that Salt Lake’s lighting (from the last torchbearer to the cauldron) was arguably one of the most succesfull and iconic overall as it well combined originality and simplicity.

5. Don't you know that Italians are famous for pyrotechnics? Maybe they wanted to pay homage to firework producers.. :D

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I don't see the big deal.

There's only so many ways you can light a flame.

In fact, sometimes the simpler, the better.

I think my favourite lighting was Sydney's, followed by Athens' and Nagano's.

Sydney had the super awesome waterfall, and Athens had that giant needle bend down, but all three were very elegant and dignified.

Beijing's was way too contrived. Torino's was a big cheat.

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Sydney's was spectacular, Barcelona and Lillehammer my favourites, but I think Vancouver's was such a shame. I loved it - but it will always be tinged at regret for what could have been! The Vancouver Para lighting was lame though!

Anyone remember what the Sydney 2000 Paralympic lighting was like? Was it the same as the Olympics?

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There's only so many ways you can light a flame.

There are. But at least you try to give an old method a new twist and just DON'T do it right after the last one. I mean the point is: at least show some imagination, ingenuity and "a little originality." ;)

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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Anyone remember what the Sydney 2000 Paralympic lighting was like? Was it the same as the Olympics?

No. If I remember correctly, the cauldron was only lit indirectly at the Sydney Paralympics. Australian Paralympic Champion Louise Sauvage dipped the torch into a small cauldron located on the stadium's infield, and they pretended that there was a connection between that small cauldron and the big one on top of the stands -- that means: First the small cauldron lit up, then "magically" the big one did.

Here's a picture of the lighting of the small cauldron:

1070077z.jpg

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Oops - not meant in that way. Perhaps should have said that the cauldron looks less impressive than the Olympic one.

Again, the small cauldron wasn't the final cauldron but only a sort of "relay" cauldron to the big Olympic one which was lit a few seconds later.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I suppose what makes the lighting sequence, spectacular or not depends on the story line that is woven around the "lighting of the flame" segment. It is not so much the way the flame makes it from torch to cauldron but the story of the process that is involved, plus the way the cauldron is unveiled. The story and the unveiling of the cauldron creates suspense and excitement. It moves our emotions.

Like Sydney's waterfall was so spectacular (the best ever IMO) because fire touched water, a theme carried throughout the 2000 relay (think great barrier reef relay segment to the ripple motif that defined the Torch Bearer's outfit) and even it's relevance to opening ceremony segments: Deep Sea Dreaming / Fire / Tin, all came together in such a beautiful, industrious and simple steel cauldron rising out of water/ cradling fire, that looked timeless and forever beautiful.

Beijing tied in the symbolism of the Chinese scroll as a narrative of a journey being made. Scrolls in China tell a person's journey, and thus worked as a perfect theme as the final torchbearer 'journeyed' across the rim of the stadium and with him, a recount of the global torch relay. The unveiling of the once 'non-existent' cauldron that was assembled during the ceremony was even more shocking and spectacular. No one except those in the stadium could have noticed where it was hidden or it being assembled perhaps during Rogge's speech.

These two were most spectacular in cauldron "revelation" because both did not 'exist' at the start of the ceremony. They were constructed live during the 4 hour spectacle and only took center stage through lighting and assemblage at the precise moment that was required.

I also liked the narrative of the flame touching cauldron, as in the case of Sydney, Athens and Beijing. It gives such a clear visual reference of the small flame growing into a huge fire rising up as it ascends to it's high place way above the spectators. The whole double cauldron plus malfunction in Vancouver made it look like a confusing, haphazardand ambiguous moment. And Torino's fake flame is such a turn off.

Sadly I was really looking forward to how they could make one focal flame, burn high above Vancouver city, while lighting it from inside BCP. Didnt happen.

However what are your opinions of the way Cauldrons are extinguished?

Should they "cease to exist" at least in the context of the closing ceremony? I really liked Sydney again because once Nikki Webster completed her song as the flame extinguished, a fighter jet symbolically took the flame away from homebush bay down Darling Harbour out to the Pacific, and the organizers shut all lighting off the cauldron so it 'ceases to exisit' from the stadium. It was never captured on TV screen again through the rest of the CC.

I didn't like how Beijing kept their's lit so brightly like a giant bowl missing the flame, it sort of became a distraction to the scenography of the post flame proceedings.

After all the flame is gone and the lights should be turned off the cauldron since it's form only has meaning when it has a function: to hold the flame.

Opinions?

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/\ Welcome to the boards, Chiangzhi.

Good observations on the narrative for a flame. However--and this is merely my opinion--as in Beijing's case, it becomes too convoluted and contrived. The whole narrative thing works only for people who follow the whole torch/relay saga for most of its journey...and that's mainly the 4-score or so diehards here. For most other people, OK, they see part of it in a run...and the next time they see it is when it enters the Olympic stadium at the Opening Ceremony.

I think the main raison d'etre for putting on a breathtaking moment of lighting is (i) that is the end of the flame's long journey which then makes up for (ii) the exciting climax of the evening's events. It's not more than that; don't overthink it.

As for the extinguishing part...again, it's nice and cute to have touches like Sydney's or Athens' where the little girl blew away the flame. But then again, how many ways are there to extinguish the flame? Plus, it's really a sad moment for the host city. So it shouldn't or needn't have to be overdone. And then anyway as soon as the flame goes out, the partying continues, so...

But good analyses /\.

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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Very true baron.

One thing that always has been a powerful connector that links the Opening Ceremony to the Closing in any 'Games of the Olympiad' is the way the flame burns high above the Olympic Stadium and in the heart of the Olympic Park.

The flame is often forgotten after Day 0, in the first few days of competition when all eyes are on the swimming pool and gymnasium, but by the time the catalyst and interest in the games catches on around the world, day 5 or 6 begins, and Athletics starts and yay!... we can see that huge flame once again burning quietly in the background - as Athletes do their high jumps, as tears stream down their faces during the victory ceremonies. I always found that to be a powerful symbol of how a ceremonial object had so much meaning and evocation, so much so that it justified the elaborate 4 hour ceremony that lead to it's ignition. Athletics is pretty much the 'flagship' event of the Summer Olympics - and the stadium is always the 'flagship' venue of any Olympic Park. It is fitting the flame crowns such a venue and in the case of the Summer edition, the venue's setting works perfectly - Sport vs. Ceremony vs. Spectacle.

However, that power of the Flame has never occurred in any winter games as the stadium is not used for any competition. At best the flame burns majestically to an empty stadium, at worst, you get the blunder of Vancouver's ambiguous 'multiple flames'. The spread out nature of competition venues and lack of a centralized olympic park also prevents this "festival like" atmosphere which we have seen so powerfully happen along famous olympic boulevards in Sydney, Athens, Beijing, where 24 hours a day, hundreds of thousands of people just walk and take in the sights. But the main point is, the power of the flame is pretty much lost in the winter edition.

Again never knew why they did a double flame thing for Vancouver's OC / CC and the Whistler 'mini' flame? It was awfully confusing and diminished the power of a core/ central visual symbol.

Also concerned about how Rio 2016's flame will fare as it will be burning in an empty stadium as Athletics is in a different venue? Very strange, not a good thing IMO!

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However, that power of the Flame has never occurred in any winter games as the stadium is not used for any competition.

Actually, I think Cortina's Ceremony stadium was used for the figure skating and speed skating events. (I think.)

But I know Squaw Valley 1960 for certain that the cauldron was just outside the Blythe (semi-indoor) Arena where figure skating and the hockey matches were held. So the flame was a witness to those competitions.

Squaw Valley: http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=bSIErufS5kE&feature=related (at the 1:10 point, far right)

And then for the two Innsbruck Games' and Lillehammer 1994, the main cauldrons were at the ski jump bowls, so those cauldrons again did see partial action as part of a competition.

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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wow you are right!

But never in recent memory at least since I was born... oh actually i was 5 years old by Lillehammer :P

Even then, not on the scale of the Summer games.

But it would be nice to see if Rio at least considers this 'problem' for their games. Are the two stadiums far apart from each other?

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Actually, I think Cortina's Ceremony stadium was used for the figure skating and speed skating events. (I think.)

But I know Squaw Valley 1960 for certain that the cauldron was just outside the Blythe (semi-indoor) Arena where figure skating and the hockey matches were held. So the flame was a witness to those competitions.

Squaw Valley: http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=bSIErufS5kE&feature=related (at the 1:10 point, far right)

And then for the two Innsbruck Games' and Lillehammer 1994, the main cauldrons were at the ski jump bowls, so those cauldrons again did see partial action as part of a competition.

In Oslo in 1952 and in Sapporo in 1972, the cauldron was located at the speed skating rinks (Bislett respectively Makomanai Stadium).

And I believe that the Olympic Flame of Garmisch-Partenkirchen was located pretty near to the ski hill as well.

So of all 17 Winter Games which had a cauldron, only nine (Grenoble, Lake Placid, Sarajevo, Calgary, Albertville, Nagano, Salt Lake City, Torino, Vancouver) had their cauldron outside of the view of the event spectators. Actually, one can also scrap Albertville out of this list since it had secondary cauldrons at least at each outdoor venue, I believe.

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Nagano...Actually, one can also scrap Albertville out of this list since it had secondary cauldrons at least at each outdoor venue, I believe.

Nagano had secondary cauldrons at 5 of the far-flung venues with fire from the original mother Olympia flame.

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  • 2 months later...

Nagano had secondary cauldrons at 5 of the far-flung venues with fire from the original mother Olympia flame.

Calgary also had a few of the small cauldrons at venues. There's one outside the oval - which they light-up every year for grad ceremonies at the University. There's one at Olympic Park. And there's one at the Nordic Centre in Canmore. The one at McMahon stadium is still there, at least I think I spotted it last time I drove by.

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