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Olympian2004

Glitches during Olympic ceremonies

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Not everything goes as planned during Olympic ceremonies, even despite often meticulous preparation. This thread is dedicated to the human or technical errors at the Games' pageantries.

Which goof-ups do you remember from Olympic opening and closing ceremonies, regardless whether they could be noticed by the complete audience or not?

My list, off the top of my head (so I might forget some goof-ups):

Helsinki 1952

  • Opening ceremony: A mentally deranged woman from Germany interrupts the organising committee president's speech.

Cortina d'Ampezzo 1956

  • Opening ceremony: The final torchbearer trips over a cable on his way to the cauldron and falls.

Melbourne 1956

  • Opening ceremony: Ron Clarke almost burns his arm when the flame suddenly shoots up in the cauldron while he dips the torch into it.

Montreal 1976

  • Closing ceremony: A streaker appears on the infield during a dance performance.

Los Angeles 1984

  • Opening ceremony: Edwin Moses forgets the text of the Olympic Oath.
  • Opening ceremony: Staff members notice at the start of the ceremony that the wiring for the automatic cauldron igniter had been altered. They prepare a makeshift holder for the torch to be placed by Rafer Johnson on top of the hydraulic stairs instead of actually lighting the cauldron. Finally, they make the lighting mechanism working again.
  • Opening ceremony: President Reagan changes the order of words in the traditional opening declaration ("Celebrating the Games of the XXIII Olympiad, I declare open the Games of Los Angeles").

Calgary 1988

  • Opening ceremony: The ribbons of the teepee structure around the cauldron have to be retracted after the cauldron lighting due to strong winds.
  • Opening ceremony: The judge who takes the judges' Olympic Oath misses her cue.
  • Closing ceremony: The preliminary mascot of the Albertville 1992 Games, the chamois, loses its head when it is revealed during a figure skating performance.

Seoul 1988

  • Opening ceremony: Several peace doves are burned during the lighting of the cauldron.

Albertville 1992

  • Opening ceremony: Francois-Cyrille Grange stumbles on the stairs while accompanying Michel Platini on the way to the cauldron.

Barcelona 1992

  • Opening ceremony: Luis Doreste Blanco forgets the text of the Olympic Oath.

Atlanta 1996

  • Opening ceremony: The burning wick (lit by Muhammad Ali) seems to have difficulties rising and starting its journey to the cauldron.
  • Closing ceremony: The first bars of the Olympic Anthem are accidentally played again well after the Olympic Flag has been taken down.

Sydney 2000

  • Opening ceremony: The hydraulic lift for the cauldron dish stalls; the cauldron can start its "journey" up the stands only several minutes late.
  • Opening ceremony: Governor General William Patrick Deane hits the microphone when he wants to applaud himself after the opening declaration.
  • Closing ceremony: A female dancer at the "Strictly Ballroom / Love Is In The Air" segment hits the TV camera with her foot when she gets twirled around by her partner.

Salt Lake City 2002

  • Opening ceremony: President Bush alters the traditional opening declaration and forgets the number "XIX" in "XIX Olympic Winter Games": "On behalf of a proud, determined and grateful nation I declare open the Games of Salt Lake City, celebrating the Olympic Winter Games."

Athens 2004

  • Opening ceremony: Björk fails to rise above the athletes while singing "Oceania" due to a technical error.
  • Opening ceremony: The world map doesn't get projected on Björk's dress when it gets unfurled over the athletes heads - or at least the projection doesn't get shown to the TV audience.
  • Opening ceremony: Zoi Dimoschaki forgets the text of the Olympic Oath.
  • Closing ceremony: Singer Sakis Rouvas stumbles and falls on the stage during his performance.

Turin 2006

  • Closing ceremony: A streaker interrupts organising committee's president Valentino Castellani's speech

Beijing 2008

  • Opening ceremony: Hu Jintao changes the order of words in the opening declaration.
  • Opening ceremony: The "Blue Screen of Death" appears in one of the projections of torch relay images on the bottom of the Birds Nest's roof while final torchbearer Li Ning runs his lap around the rim of the roof.
  • Opening ceremony: One (or several?) cheerleader(s) collapse(s) during the parade of nation.

Vancouver 2010

  • Opening ceremony: The fifth pillar of the interior cauldron doesn't extend due to a blocked trap door.
  • Opening ceremony: The English announcer fails to pronounce the name of Nodar Kumaritashvili properly at the start of the ceremony.
  • Closing ceremony: The "real medal count" projection on BC Place's infield seems to fail at the end of Michael J. Fox' speech.

London 2012

  • Opening ceremony: The OBS global TV feed fails to show a long shot of the stadium the whole stands clad in blue shortly before the official start of the ceremony.
  • Opening ceremony: Several balloons fail to pop during the children's final countdown to the start of the ceremony.
  • Opening ceremony: The female announcer fails to pronounce a few of the country's names properly during the parade of nations.
  • Opening ceremony: Muhammad Ali doesn't touch the Olympic Flag.
  • Opening ceremony: An audio problem occurs when Paul McCartney starts his "Hey Jude" performance - his live singing and the backup track are asynchronous.

And now it's your turn. ;)

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Muhammad Ali not touching the Olympic flag in London? Seriously? The guy has severe Parkinsons for god sakes. Cut him some slack. TBH I found that whole part with Ali to be very disturbing and uncomfortable. It was a terrible move by the London Organizing Committee to bring him out in public in that state. Shame on them.

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Jeez - lots of people seem to have trouble remembering the Olympic oath! Or reading the script in front of them.

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Muhammad Ali not touching the Olympic flag in London? Seriously? The guy has severe Parkinsons for god sakes. Cut him some slack. TBH I found that whole part with Ali to be very disturbing and uncomfortable. It was a terrible move by the London Organizing Committee to bring him out in public in that state. Shame on them.

I wouldn't go as far as shaming them, Parkinson's is a reality of human existence, and to see a former champion reduced to that point from it is humbling, not shameful.

My gripe was that it was quite a strange choice, given Ali has seen to publically confront his condition, and triumph in Atlanta.

Also the obvious point that he's American, and I can't think of any connection to London.

If it were a second Rome Olympics, I'd understand.

Edited by runningrings
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Vancouver

-The flags were not flying properly during the anthems -_-

Also the pronunciation of Nodar's name echoed, it wasn't a mistake.

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I wouldn't go as far as shaming them, Parkinson's is a reality of human existence, and to see a former champion reduced to that point from it is humbling, not shameful.

My gripe was that it was quite a strange choice, given Ali has seen to publically confront his condition, and triumph in Atlanta.

Also the obvious point that he's American, and I can't think of any connection to London.

If it were a second Rome Olympics, I'd understand.

But it was uncomfortable, and really unneccessary. You're exactly right, it was a strange choice by the organizers. It was almost as if they went out of there way to put him on display.

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But it was uncomfortable, and really unneccessary. You're exactly right, it was a strange choice by the organizers. It was almost as if they went out of there way to put him on display.

It could be argued that if any non-British former cauldron lighter was relevant to London, it would be Cathy Freeman. She represents triumph over the social disadvantage the British Empire (and their offspring Governments) inflicted upon the world.

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It could be argued that if any non-British former cauldron lighter was relevant to London, it would be Cathy Freeman. She represents triumph over the social disadvantage the British Empire (and their offspring Governments) inflicted upon the world.

Also because of the fact that she is aboriginal, a group of people who were so terribly treated not only in Australia, but Canada and the US too.

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Muhammad Ali not touching the Olympic flag in London? Seriously? The guy has severe Parkinsons for god sakes. Cut him some slack. TBH I found that whole part with Ali to be very disturbing and uncomfortable. It was a terrible move by the London Organizing Committee to bring him out in public in that state. Shame on them.

Olympicsfan, you misunderstood that. I didn't mean it as criticism against Muhammad Ali. I just wanted to list things that went differently in real life than the ceremonial organisers originally conceived them. And that that thing with Ali "went wrong" became particularly evident because you could see Ali's wife saying "Grab the flag, baby" repeatedly to him while they were on camera.

I agree with you that it was a completely bad choice to expose a man who now definitely is only a mere shadow of his former self in such a way to the public.

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Vancouver

Also the pronunciation of Nodar's name echoed, it wasn't a mistake.

I confused the two mentions of Nodar by the English announcer: The announcer made the mistake directly before the minute of silence after the Olympic Anthem. And if you ask me, that doesn't sound like an echo to me. See below. He already stumbles across the name "Nodar" (instead, saying "Nordar"). And again, I don't mean that as criticism - only as examples when not everything went as planned at Olympic ceremonies. I had huge difficulties myself at first, pronouncing the name "Kumaritashvili". And the announcer had only a few hours - besides his many other preparations - to learn how to pronounce that name. And then you maybe get nervous at the night, speaking in front of billions of TV viewers, and there you have it.

http://youtu.be/MxZpUueDAvc?t=2h51m9s

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Olympicsfan, you misunderstood that. I didn't mean it as criticism against Muhammad Ali. I just wanted to list things that went differently in real life than the ceremonial organisers originally conceived them. And that that thing with Ali "went wrong" became particularly evident because you could see Ali's wife saying "Grab the flag, baby" repeatedly to him while they were on camera.

I agree with you that it was a completely bad choice to expose a man who now definitely is only a mere shadow of his former self in such a way to the public.

I understand. It was rediculous for the organizers to expect him to do that though. The man can barely walk. Its all very sad.

I confused the two mentions of Nodar by the English announcer: The announcer made the mistake directly before the minute of silence after the Olympic Anthem. And if you ask me, that doesn't sound like an echo to me. See below. He already stumbles across the name "Nodar" (instead, saying "Nordar"). And again, I don't mean that as criticism - only as examples when not everything went as planned at Olympic ceremonies. I had huge difficulties myself at first, pronouncing the name "Kumaritashvili". And the announcer had only a few hours - besides his many other preparations - to learn how to pronounce that name. And then you maybe get nervous at the night, speaking in front of billions of TV viewers, and there you have it.

http://youtu.be/MxZpUueDAvc?t=2h51m9s

I noticed that error too.

Olympicsfan, you misunderstood that. I didn't mean it as criticism against Muhammad Ali. I just wanted to list things that went differently in real life than the ceremonial organisers originally conceived them. And that that thing with Ali "went wrong" became particularly evident because you could see Ali's wife saying "Grab the flag, baby" repeatedly to him while they were on camera.

I agree with you that it was a completely bad choice to expose a man who now definitely is only a mere shadow of his former self in such a way to the public.

I think that if I were a commentator during the ceremony, like Bob Costas, I would have said something about it.

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I guess this is where we become real geeky trainspotters.

A few that I noticed ...

- Atlanta 96:

*during the welcome to the world segment in the opening ceremony , one of the cheerleader girls (while standing on the hands of one of the guy cheerleaders) starts to drop lower and lower

* During the Happy Birthday at the end of the closing ceremony they displayed either the rings or 100 (i can't remember which one) in pyro, but it was real smokey , so you couldn't really see much

* Stevie Wonder was void of audio for a little bit of a song during one of his performances

- Nagano 98: the cauldron is extinguished, but then lights up again

Again, most of these things are silly nit picking, but still, they happened.

However, one of the biggest fails would have been the Vancouver Hallelujah performance. I believe the intention was to have the crowd turn their glowlights on row by row, so the light radiated to the back row, but instead they all turned them on at the same time.

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Munich 1972 - Memorial to the slain Israeli athletes was a last-minute improvisation.

Moscow 1980 - one card in giant Stunt-card section was always 1.5 seconds late from the rest... :lol:

Re Reagan at the LA84 Opening. I don't know if that'd be considered a glitch since he purposely transposed the line he was given. Some actor he was; and considering he was was ex-president of the Screen Actors Guild as well. They should've revoked his membership!! :lol:

What's-her-face in Calgary 1988? Jeanne something-or-other, the Queen's rep to Alberta or Canada, who was to open the Games. DIdn't know her cue...and on camera, didn't think she was on camera, and asked to the side something like...is it my turn?? The woman was just clueless.

Atlanta 1996 - robot double of Muhammed Ali was supposed to light the wick like a normal person. Yet robot imitated the real Ali's Parkinson's affliction with uncanny accuracy. ACOG got its money back from the robot company, and London used the real thing!!

Athens 2004 - Klepsydra. Nobody told the performers that that section was being cut!! :lol:

London 2012 - Opening - projection on mutant-infant's chest was lost; similarly

at Closing - the projections over that whole building blox thing never materialized either.

Edited by baron-pierreIV

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@baron-pierreIV: "London 2012 - Opening - projection on mutant-infant's chest was lost;"

My understanding is that it wasn't exactly lost- it was planned but in the end just not done, partly because the graphics team were too busy making adjustments requested as a result of rehearsal experience (like replacing the montage of Doctors Who) but mostly because, as the Media Guide indicates by its failure to mention the Cute/Creepy thing, its inclusion on the night after repeated mechanical failures was a last-minute act of faith. On the other hand, if you watch the BBC DVD version you can see that even Danny Boyle wholeheartedly accepts that the way the infant was presented on live TV was unacceptable.


@Olympian2004: "it was a completely bad choice to expose a man who now definitely is only a mere shadow of his former self in such a way to the public."

Sort of- but given that the universal message of the entire evening was about the succession of generations, and the journey through life, you can see why they did it, and why Ali agreed. Pretty much that whole final section, right up to the torch lighting, was very sober and reflective, rather than brash and triumphalist as in previous OCs.

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I guess the two main ones most people remember are the cauldron glitches of Sydney and Vancouver. London also had the LED seats that failed at times during the opening.

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Muhammad Ali not touching the Olympic flag in London? Seriously? The guy has severe Parkinsons for god sakes. Cut him some slack. TBH I found that whole part with Ali to be very disturbing and uncomfortable. It was a terrible move by the London Organizing Committee to bring him out in public in that state. Shame on them.

Whether it was right for the occasion is debatable (just as any aspect of any ceremony is) but there's no shame on the London organisers at all. Ali was in London anyway that week doing a charity event in his honour (yes, despite his condition - http://sports.ndtv.com/olympics-2012/news/194160-muhammad-ali-gala-kicks-off-olympic-party-season). So he was obviously still up for public appearances. And London's organisers consulted with him and his family at length about whether he should appear and what his role should be. Yes, it was uncomfortable to watch (but that says more about us than anything else), but it's not like they wheeled out a comatose former-athlete who had no choice or knowledge of where he was.

Edited by RobH
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However, one of the biggest fails would have been the Vancouver Hallelujah performance. I believe the intention was to have the crowd turn their glowlights on row by row, so the light radiated to the back row, but instead they all turned them on at the same time.

I think that was intended.

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Whether it was right for the occasion is debatable (just as any aspect of any ceremony is) but there's no shame on the London organisers at all. Ali was in London anyway that week doing a charity event in his honour (yes, despite his condition - http://sports.ndtv.com/olympics-2012/news/194160-muhammad-ali-gala-kicks-off-olympic-party-season). So he was obviously still up for public appearances. And London's organisers consulted with him and his family at length about whether he should appear and what his role should be. Yes, it was uncomfortable to watch (but that says more about us than anything else), but it's not like they wheeled out a comatose former-athlete who had no choice or knowledge of where he was.

He'd do ANYTHING to grab the global spotlight! Once spotlight-hungry, ALWAYS a spotlight-grabber!! B)

Edited by baron-pierreIV

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I think that was intended.

It wasn't. I remember that someone from this board who was among the audience told that they were instructed before the ceremony to switch the flashlights on gradually. You can also recognise that by the projection on the stadium's floor around k.d. Lang - the lights slowly extended from her place in the middle towards the edges of the infield and the stands. You can see that particularly around the 1:00 minute mark:

What's-her-face in Calgary 1988? Jeanne something-or-other, the Queen's rep to Alberta or Canada, who was to open the Games. DIdn't know her cue...and on camera, didn't think she was on camera, and asked to the side something like...is it my turn?? The woman was just clueless.

That wasn't Jeanne Sauvé (the Governor General of Canada), but the female judge who took the judges' oath - and whom I mentioned in my initial post. Jeanne Sauvé committed a small mistake of her own, though. She forgot the word "winter" in "XV Olympic Winter Games" when she repeated the opening declaration in English:

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It wasn't. I remember that someone from this board who was among the audience told that they were instructed before the ceremony to switch the flashlights on gradually. You can also recognise that by the projection on the stadium's floor around k.d. Lang - the lights slowly extended from her place in the middle towards the edges of the infield and the stands. You can see that particularly around the 1:00 minute mark:

That wasn't Jeanne Sauvé (the Governor General of Canada), but the female judge who took the judges' oath - and whom I mentioned in my initial post. Jeanne Sauvé committed a small mistake of her own, though. She forgot the word "winter" in "XV Olympic Winter Games" when she repeated the opening declaration in English:

Yep I was there - we were supposed to do it gradually but everybody just put them on!

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1. It wasn't. I remember that someone from this board who was among the audience told that they were instructed before the ceremony to switch the flashlights on gradually. You can also recognise that by the projection on the stadium's floor around k.d. Lang - the lights slowly extended from her place in the middle towards the edges of the infield and the stands. You can see that particularly around the 1:00 minute mark:

2. That wasn't Jeanne Sauvé (the Governor General of Canada), but the female judge who took the judges' oath - and whom I mentioned in my initial post. Jeanne Sauvé committed a small mistake of her own, though. She forgot the word "winter" in "XV Olympic Winter Games" when she repeated the opening declaration in English:

1. Yeah, u can't control a huge audience of thousands in something timed like that.

2. Oops, yeah. Sit corrected. Mixed them up.

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London also had the LED seats that failed at times during the opening.

I wonder how many "gaps" in the LED displays were simply due to people/things getting in the way. Does anybody who was there know whether there was any tendency to hang coats etc. on the LED mounts- or would the Mechanicals have put a stop to it?

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I wonder how many "gaps" in the LED displays were simply due to people/things getting in the way. Does anybody who was there know whether there was any tendency to hang coats etc. on the LED mounts- or would the Mechanicals have put a stop to it?

Not just the Mechanicals but even those around you who cared that the effect come out as effectively as intended.

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Two more goof-ups from Calgary's closing ceremony: Apparently the Canadian flag that should be hoisted besides the flags of Greece and France got stuck - so that it stayed at the bottom end of the flagpole.

See

And two of the skating girls carrying the flags of the participating nations through the skating rink fell just a few seconds apart:

(First at 24:58 at the left in the background, then a couple of seconds later, the girl carrying the Costa Rican flag fell in full view of the camera).

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Two more goof-ups from Calgary's closing ceremony: Apparently the Canadian flag that should be hoisted besides the flags of Greece and France got stuck - so that it stayed at the bottom end of the flagpole.

See

And two of the skating girls carrying the flags of the participating nations through the skating rink fell just a few seconds apart:

(First at 24:58 at the left in the background, then a couple of seconds later, the girl carrying the Costa Rican flag fell in full view of the camera).

Good eye. Not doing too much these days, Fab?? :rolleyes:

Also, one sequin was missing from costume of WOMAN carrying the Japan flag. :lol:

Edited by baron-pierreIV

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