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Most underrated in Olympic history


mattygs

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There's always alot of debate on here with lists of the best and worst , interested to get your views on what the most underrated things in Olympic history.

They might be a logo, mascot, set of pictograms, a look, a ceremony, an official song, or even an Olympic Games which you think are massively underrated by the masses - and especially, by fellow Olympic fans on here.

I'll kick it off with a few ...

* Underrated Opening Ceremony: Atlanta 96.

Probably one of the most talked about opening ceremonies on here, often panned. It was my first opening ceremony that I watched Live, maybe that makes it more attractive in my view. To me, it has some of the most epic segments in ceremonies history, and the show had a sense of class about it - which contradicts many peoples views that it was kitch and commercial (probably focused mainly on the pickup trucks). It's a ceremony I often go back and watch from start to finish. It has beautiful moments, clever moments, joyous moments, great original compositions etc etc.

Really do believe it gets an unfair rap by alot of people.

* Underrated Closing Ceremony: Athens 2004.

I was probably one of many who thought the London closing was near perfect for a closing ceremony, gotta say though, I think Athens almost had everything perfect when it comes to closing ceremonies. Its design was impressive, it had alot more heart which a number of people probably saw the opening ceremony lacking. It had personal moments with performer/crowd interaction that was in alot of ways a pre-curser to London (the clinking of glasses to the crowd), some visually impressive moments, aswell has still being locked into the fact that we were at the Olympic homecoming.

The music was fantastic, unfortunately, it was all Greek - which is always going to piss off alot of people. Ironically, it's the Greek party music that makes alot of people love Greece.

It was a ceremony that mixed fun with warmth, right from the welcoming introduction imploring the crowd to have * a wonderful time*.

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I agree with you about Atlanta, actually there is a lot about it that is underrated because all people do is harp on the shortcomings that were presented ad nauseum in the media. Let's face it, everybody wanted Athens to host in 1996, and that would have been even more of a disaster...they really needed those eight extra years and it worked out very nicely for them...at the time.

I think Nagano is very underrated as well. It, along with Torino, seem to be the least discussed Games on these boards (at least of those that have taken place in the last 40 years). There was a simple elegance to those Games that went against the grain of the world as it was then and stil is today. Extremely charming.

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I was only 9 years old when the Atlanta Olympics was on and I remember being very excited watching the Opening ceremony on a Saturday afternoon. I also remember vividly watching swimer Danyon Loader win the 200m and 400m freestyle for New Zealand.

Atlanta has a special place for me as it was those games that really got me interested in the Olympic Games! I often go back and watch those ceremonies.

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I'm a little like that with Seoul - one of the last purely daytime ceremonies I remember (I recall watching it with my parents on a Saturday afternoon here) , and I do still have vivid memories of the skydivers forming the Olympic rings, the young kid rolling the hoop, the doves being fried and two giant knots colliding with each other. It's hardly mentioned much here and elsewhere (probably because it was sandwiched by LA's and Barcelona's spectacles), but nevertheless at the time it wasn't shabby at all. I think altogether Seoul really help feed what was already a germinating fascination with the Games for me - the first in a convenient time zone for me so ended up watching a LOT of them.

I also second the Vancouver ceremonies seem to be overshadowed by the high regard for the Lillehammer and SLC ceremonis when it comes to the WOGs, but they were honestly among the more enjoyable winter ceremonies I've watched. The Vancouver opening, in particular, I thought wads very classy and lyrical.

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Most underrated opening/closing: Vancouver 2010. Enough said.

Really? From a Brazilian POV I guess Vancouver will be the 'cherished winter games' since it was the first time we had open tv broadcast for the OWG and the averege joe learned there is this weird winter version of the games right before the FIFA WC.

Plus, Vancouver seems to have been the first in the line on the use of projections for these events. We had lots of them in South Africa's WC Closing Ceremony, the CISM Games in Rio and Guadalajara Pan Ams.

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Plus, Vancouver seems to have been the first in the line on the use of projections for these events. We had lots of them in South Africa's WC Closing Ceremony, the CISM Games in Rio and Guadalajara Pan Ams.

And they seem to have completely disappeared...or per my source in LOCOG...miscued for London. I don't think Vancouver's ceremonies, even with the cauldron glitch, are under-rated. I rank them up there very close to Salt Lake's. But they are more an indoor theatrical experience rather than a true-winter opening ceremony.

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I think Nagano is very underrated as well.

I absolutely agree. There were many elements of charm. Japan was my teenage obsession at the time and I was enthralled. The choir link up for Beethoven's 9th was amazing. The conductor Ozawa, hair flapping like a demented genius. One of the singers Denis Sedov starting an obsessional fan base amongst Japanese girls. A post-apartheid Cape Town, a unified Berlin. No one would have believed it just a few years before, and resolutely refusing to dumb down, finishing the movement rather than just doing the three minutes for the cruise ship audience!

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I think the thing with Atlanta, is they were probably the most *Olympic* opening ceremony, with so many of these shows, they could pass for any old piece of stadium theatre (minus the protocol of course) . Atlanta had the job (some would say the curse) of having to be not so introspective and be a little more worldly, having to mark the centennial of the Games. I think they managed to do the job nicely and as good as any other host city has done.

I also think Atlanta's look was underrated. Again, they couldn't have something which was entirely *ATLANTA*, but they managed to tie in the Centennial to produce a classy design that worked on numerous levels. The forest green mixed with the classic font, in added with the olive wreath with various icons nestled within (rings, 100) , aswell as the quilt of leaves worked well

As for Nagano, I do feel they are an underrated winter Games. Of course they got the stamp of approval as having *the best organisation in the history of the Olympic Winter Games*, and maybe they did feel abit bland and lacking the pazaz as some other hosts, but I think they did deliver on their concept of what they wanted their Games to be.

They rooted them as a *Games from the heart , together with love*, and a simple and warm Games, and I think they did deliver. They seemed to deliver a Games which was esentially what Nagano is all about. I visited there for a day last year and I really did *get* what Nagano was about in terms of its hosting. Of course, they maybe went abit crazy with venues, but the support was fantastic.

I still think the Nagano cauldron lighting deserves alot more praise than it got, it's one of the most beautiful and emotive that I have seen.

The sight of Midori Ito rising up into the sky , with what appears to be such a dignified poise, turning slightly and lighting the cauldron and then disappearing back down - it worked so well.

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I think the thing with Atlanta, is they were probably the most *Olympic* opening ceremony, with so many of these shows, they could pass for any old piece of stadium theatre (minus the protocol of course) . Atlanta had the job (some would say the curse) of having to be not so introspective and be a little more worldly, having to mark the centennial of the Games. I think they managed to do the job nicely and as good as any other host city has done.

I also think Atlanta's look was underrated. Again, they couldn't have something which was entirely *ATLANTA*, but they managed to tie in the Centennial to produce a classy design that worked on numerous levels. The forest green mixed with the classic font, in added with the olive wreath with various icons nestled within (rings, 100) , aswell as the quilt of leaves worked well

Indeed. Only clueless nimrods fail to see and appreciate the understated beauty and elegance of the Centennial visual manifestations. Really pathetic, unhappy fools. B)

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In terms of underrated, for Summer, the winner and undisputed champion is Atlanta. I still fondly recall those Ceremonies and am frankly amazed I have not worn out the tapes from watching the Opening Ceremony. OK, some parts were a little.. not so great, but the parts that were were exquisite. The Tribute to the Ancient Games and the entire block from the entrance ot the flag to the lighting of the cauldron rank especially high in my memories.

For Winter... legitimate points for Nagano and Torino I agree... but for me, I want to cast a vote for Calgary. Coming off the boycotts in LA and the real unknowns ahead in Seoul, Calgary was just a joyful party. I honestly think Vancouver took the best of Calgary, mixed in modern technology and perfected it. But the seeds for Vancouver were in Calgary.

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This is an interesting concept for a thread, but so far I disagree with 90% of the content.

I think Sam the Eagle was underrated. He was the last mascot that really had charm and personality. Now we're getting weird artsy things and menageries of mascots that don't connect the same way. I miss Sam.

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Frankly, I think the Seoul Games were the most underrated. We almost never discuss them here on Gamesbids. Always get the stories of how wonderful Barcelona and Sydney were, how big Beijing was, how Atlanta and Montreal screwed up, how Moscow reinvented the ceremonies and how LA saved the movement. But almost nothing mentioned about Seoul.

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Frankly, I think the Seoul Games were the most underrated. We almost never discuss them here on Gamesbids. Always get the stories of how wonderful Barcelona and Sydney were, how big Beijing was, how Atlanta and Montreal screwed up, how Moscow reinvented the ceremonies and how LA saved the movement. But almost nothing mentioned about Seoul.

Well, except for the one embarrassing Boxing episode, Seoul was also nearly a flawless Games that, like the recently concluded London Games, u can't really nitpick or remember anything that didn't go well. I mean, even evil old North Korea was a non-factor in those Games. Other than our Korean-Canadian (Canadian-Korean?), gangwon, there are no other big Korea boosters here.

So, maybe future organizers should throw in a major kink or controversy so at least those Games will get a lot of traction in anal-obsessive boards like ours. ;)

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Well, except for the one embarrassing Boxing episode, Seoul was also nearly a flawless Games that, like the recently concluded London Games, u can't really nitpick or remember anything that didn't go well. I mean, even evil old North Korea was a non-factor in those Games. Other than our Korean-Canadian (Canadian-Korean?), gangwon, there are no other big Korea boosters here.

I think mention Seoul, and most people, if they recollect anything, would mention "Ben Johnson".

Olympic sports fans, when pressed.

Those like us, who dissect every games apart, would probably mention the final appearance of live (until they were barbequed) doves.

I think you're right, though, generally there was little else in terms of flaws to pick over. Still, at the time, they were a good edition - notable for one as the first time since 1976 (and the last time ever) that the Soviet Bloc and the West would meeyt head-to-head.

On another note, and there's obvious reasons for it (I guess only a very few of us were even alive at the time), but Rome 1960 has drifted well back into the un-remembered games of history. Though, from most of my readings, Rome was the Barcelona/Sydney/London of its day, a games that really sang to the tune of ""Arrivaderci Roma" and inspired so many of the bidders to go for it over the next decade and a half (until the Games hit their 1970s bump).

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I've always been a huge Seoul fan, even if I've understood that for different reasons it's not talked about much here as they may have appeared a bit sterile and dull, though also organisationally very good. Actually, I remember some sport director saying after Sydney that he thought of Seoul as organisationally perfect but Sydney had even bettered them.

Much of my fascination for Seoul is related to my age as those were the first games that I really do remember something about, even if I did live during Moscow and LA. Also I link Seoul mentally to some of my happiest childhood years. When I had the chance to travel to Korea exactly 20 years after the games, I chose more or less the same dates during which the games took place, although of course late september/early october is also arguably the best time to travel to that country.

I do think that they were also objectively in many ways quite unique though, the last cold war games with the Soviet Union, East Germany and also the unified Yugoslavia participating for the last time. Plus the duel of Carl Lewis and Ben Johnson. Also Seoul Games were not ruined by large scale boycotts for the first time since 1972, although North Korea, Cuba, Ethiopia and a few others didn't go but even that I count in some way positive, even if it may sound strange because I find something in a strange way fascinating and intriguing about that era of boycotts looking back at it from our time. So, basically Seoul did provide something about that cold war ambiance but the boycotts didn't ruin the games unlike from 1976-1988. Also, Seoul had the last day time opening ceremony and probably for the only time in recent decades the athletic competitions, including the finals, were held at mid day and early afternoon for television purposes. Nowadays there is an ever increasing trend of staging every sports competition at night, and even if it may seem more visually exciting and glamorous in television I find that somewhat boring. In fact, the bright sunshine so typical for Seoul makes the images of those games very pleasing to me.

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I want to talk more about Atlanta, I'm falling in love with Atlanta! I don't really remember the games and I'm sure the issues brought up are valid, but the more I study the city, the games plan and legacy, their entire brand identity and marketing, and even the cauldron I'm getting more and more impressed. I just visited Turner field and anyone trying to convince you the cauldron is discarded in a parking lot does not understand the area.

The Atlanta look is quickly moving WAY up my list of favorites.

Even in the US there is a HUGE misconception about Atlanta the city still, mostly by people that have not been to Atlanta, so it's understandable that an international audience may not get it, but let me tell you this city is unbelievable! Super glamorous, super exciting, amazing architecture, incredible layout, it's as compelling as any big city in the US, a treasure, a powerful seductive city.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree with so much that has been said about Atlanta (being underrated) here. I do wonder whether the shortcomings that are occasionally mentioned have been blown out of all proportion. I watched hour after hour of it on TV, and I was mighty impressed by the spectacle of the ceremonies, and the high standard of the competition. Some of my best and strongest memories of the Opening Ceremony include Ode to Joy as the torch entered the stadium, the official opening by Bill Clinton (unlike the Queen in London, he seemed genuinely happy to be there) and Muhammad Ali's lighting of the flame.

I visited Atlanta while touring the USA three years later, on the strength of it being a recent Olympic city. I found the place really intimidating and freaky. As the Greyhound coach pulled in after arriving from Savannah, the very first thing I witnessed was some dude getting arrested for something or another. And it didn't get any better after that. Maybe I should give it another try.

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