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Favourite Opening Ceremonies Poll 2022 Editon


GamesBids Favourite Olympic Ceremonies Poll - 2022 Edition   

29 members have voted

  1. 1. What’s your favourite Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony?

    • Moscow 1980
      0
    • Los Angeles 1984
      0
    • Seoul 1988
      0
    • Barcelona 1992
      3
    • Atlanta 1996
      0
    • Sydney 2000
      6
    • Athens 2004
      13
    • Beijing 2008
      3
    • London 2012
      2
    • Rio 2016
      2
    • Tokyo 2020
      0
  2. 2. What’s your favourite Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony?

    • Lake Placid 1980
      0
    • Sarajevo 1984
      0
    • Calgary 1988
      0
    • Albertville 1992
      3
    • Lilehammer 1994
      3
    • Nagano 1998
      0
    • Salt Lake City 2002
      6
    • Torino 2006
      0
    • Vancouver 2010
      7
    • Sochi 2014
      10
    • PyeongChang 2018
      0
    • Beijing 2022
      0
    • Other (post to specify)
      0


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Okay, it’s been a while since we had one of these. Last one was around 2014, but we’ve had a few more ceremonies under our belt since then, we’ve had new members join, the subject’s been raised again lately and it’s god to se the General Olympics Discussion forum see a bit more activity lately.

The question’s simple - what’s your favourite opening? Not necessarily best, it’s incredibly subjective after all, but what touched you most, lingered longest in your memories, impressed you most.

I’ve only gone back in the poll options to 1980 - that was generally recognised as the start of the big, flashier ceremonies with extended cultural elements. It’s also likely the cut off for most of members’ memory or life spans (even us more elderly ones). But if you have a particular pre-1980 favourite, which one and why?

I’ve also had t divide up between Summer and Winter - the poll maximum is 20 options, and it was a bit unfair to set a cutoff of 1992 that a combined poll would have required. On the plus side, it gives you two bites at the cherry.

So, vet, discuss and argue away!

Edited by Sir Rols
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Just now, Sir Rols said:

That’s weird - they were there before, and now I’ve put them back, I can’t put an “Other” category in. Take that as intended.

there we go, thanks

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7 minutes ago, baron-pierreIV said:

I'll have to go with the Commie Ceremonies.  Nothing like a cowed, intimidated populace to produce a memorable Olympic ceremony!!  

As much as it rails against all my personal political/moral values, I have to agree with you on Sochi. It was slick and spectacular and distinctly Russian. I justify it as it being before Russia turned completely feral. Otherwise, winter-wise, Lillehammer would have been my pick, with an honourable mention to Vancouver’s closing ceremony.

Summer was a bit more difficult for me. Beijing was big and spectacular but a bit too bombastic for me. Sydney or London could have got my nod for personal emotional or entertainment reasons respectively. But I plumped for, of all things, Athens. I used to be a bit colder on Athens, but lately I’m starting to appreciate it for its loftier, artistic ambitions.

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I too have (as long-term GB followers will be all-too-well aware) issues with the Athens 2004 opening, which stem, paradoxically, from my acknowledgement that as a TV spectacle it was magnificent. The more you analyse why it worked so well on TV, the more cynical and shallow it appears (even down to the length of the main cultural segment, 40 minutes, just the amount of actual content NBC viewers would expect from a typical episode of a primetime drama).

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6 hours ago, Sir Rols said:

As much as it rails against all my personal political/moral values, I have to agree with you on Sochi. It was slick and spectacular and distinctly Russian. I justify it as it being before Russia turned completely feral. ...

I used to be a bit colder on Athens, but lately I’m starting to appreciate it for its loftier, artistic ambitions.

I too opted for Sochi as the Winter champ for pretty much the same reasons, although with a slightly different justification. Russia already had "turned completely feral" (even ignoring the so-not-unplanned actions in Crimea etc., remember the convenient hole in the drug testing lab wall) but it's unlikely that the Ceremonies team were aware of the nastier plans.

Continuing my bile against Athens- what if the "loftier ambitions" were more cynicism: a veil to hide the emptiness of post-classical Greek culture? [I'm thinking particularly of the DNA image, which is (a) a matter of genetics, not culture and (b) a splendid example of what science has achieved since freeing itself from the grip of Aristotle]

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8 hours ago, baron-pierreIV said:

I think Athens was pretentious and so full of baloney.  A totally JOYLESS ceremony considering the Games were finally returning after 108 years.  

 

I just recall its huge cauldron, the one that looked like a Bic lighter.

But I prefer 2004 to 2012. But 2022 to me pinged "Olympics" better than those other two did.

I'd never have thought "Beijing" would end up that way.

I'm not exactly the best analyst, however, since I've never watched any ceremony in its entirety. I do focus on them because they set a tone of a games. I think the ceremonies are the main reason why 1996, even though it ranks at the top in 2 of 3 categories (budget and attendance), didn't earn a gold medal.

 

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, baron-pierreIV said:

I think Athens was pretentious and so full of baloney.  A totally JOYLESS ceremony considering the Games were finally returning after 108 years.  

 

11 hours ago, JMarkSnow2012 said:

I too have (as long-term GB followers will be all-too-well aware) issues with the Athens 2004 opening, which stem, paradoxically, from my acknowledgement that as a TV spectacle it was magnificent. The more you analyse why it worked so well on TV, the more cynical and shallow it appears (even down to the length of the main cultural segment, 40 minutes, just the amount of actual content NBC viewers would expect from a typical episode of a primetime drama).

Yeah, it’s certainly a polarising one, I’ll give you that.  I also used to be dismissive of it, though I’m trying to temper that these days as a caution for perhaps not wanting it at the time to eclipse Sydneys. However, one of my main issues with it at the time still stands. As Baron said, it’s was rather cold and, yes, philosophical. That was already foreshadowed, and was more glaring, in the handover in Sydney when, in the midst of a raucous, rocky and irreverential celebration, the goddesses came across as a real downer. Still, I admire its ambition now, even if the Greeks didn’t seem able to let their hair down a bit.

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5 hours ago, Olympics2028 said:

I'm not exactly the best analyst, however, since I've never watched any ceremony in its entirety. I do focus on them because they set a tone of a games.

And that’s the contradiction right there - you don’t watch them but you focus on them. But you hit the nail on the head that that doesn’t make you the best analyst.

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^ I admit to not watching but segments of openings/closings, even 2012's ceremony.

Because London is one of the cultural-financial capitals of the world, I made more of an effort to watch the way they managed their games. But when I see more parts of them years later, if anything they merely confirm my overall rating of them.

Same thing with other ceremonies too.

If an opening/closing I had previously given high or low marks to had segments that wanted me to change my score, I'd feel hesitant about having any opinion. But, if anything, when I see more of 2012, 2004, 1996, etc, I think my original ranking of them, upon a closer look, was actually higher than I'd give them now. However, after watching a short clip of the 1948 games, posted at the IOC's Youtube channel, I notice that event had a full-time choir. Not that I had previously rated London's second games as either high or low. But I didn't fully realize that element was, as I've long had a vague sense about, quite common decades ago.

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I was fortunate to have attended the first dress rehearsal and actual Opening Ceremonies of each of Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004, both times from opposite sides of the Stadiums. 

I loved both Sydney and Athens Ceremonies for different reasons but I loved Sydney’s. ore because of the sheer incredible atmosphere inside the Stadium with frequent massive audience responses to the stunning massive colourful stories unfolding on the arena floor,  I’m talking about 100,000 cheering - was an absolute din. Emotional and uplfiting music backed up every segement right to the end.

Athens was quiet comparatively but beautiful nonetheless and also spectacular.

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For me Sydney had everything that makes a near perfect opening ceremony. A great introduction, a strong butterfly in stomach national anthem rendition, a cultural segment that easily told a story form start to finish without much thought for the viewer, a colourful, spectacular cultural segment on a grand scale with minimal use of led, props etc. a mass band in homage to older ceremonies. some fantastic music and songs/performances - truly ceremony songs. And a spectacular cauldron lighting (albeit with its issue)

Athens had a hard act to follow, some if it was indeed spectacular but lacked in its celebration i thought, it was more subdued and difficult for the story to flow and alot of thinking on part of the viewer.

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1 hour ago, Scotguy II said:

For me Sydney had everything that makes a near perfect opening ceremony. A great introduction, a strong butterfly in stomach national anthem rendition, a cultural segment that easily told a story form start to finish without much thought for the viewer, a colourful, spectacular cultural segment on a grand scale with minimal use of led, props etc. a mass band in homage to older ceremonies. some fantastic music and songs/performances - truly ceremony songs. And a spectacular cauldron lighting (albeit with its issue)

Athens had a hard act to follow, some if it was indeed spectacular but lacked in its celebration i thought, it was more subdued and difficult for the story to flow and alot of thinking on part of the viewer.

I voted for Athens because it has a special place in my heart and I liked the theatrics and drama of it. It was very clean and well produced, in my opinion. Papaiannou's stories take a lot of work on the part of the view to interpret and understand. I do agree though with what you said, Scotguy, about both Sydney and Athens. Sydney is the quintessential Opening Ceremony.

I'm all Athens, Sydney, Barcelona before anything we've seen in the last 15 years. I'll take SLC, Torino and Vancouver over Sochi.

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Posted (edited)

Okay, got a bit inspired to watch some of Sochi again (and, yes, I do feel a bit guilty about it. It’s like watching Olympia - am I watching dictator-porn, or am I viewing it as a student of ceremonies?).

Anyway, in particular the following segment - the part that deals with post-1917 Russia. So brilliantly done in the way it captures the aesthetics of early and mid Soviet Russia through its music and visuals. It could easily be a highlight of a summer ceremony. Hey, it’s even got a choir towards the end!

And, yes, it does deal with a problematic historic period. I can understand if some people take issue with it. But I do think it’s a masterpiece of stadium theatre.

And in dealing with a troublesome time period, I contrast this with Athens’ Klepsydra. Now, I loved this part of the Athens OC. I know it was better for a TV audience than in a stadium, but it combined beautiful visuals with a sense of story of history to me. But… it’s not exactly an annoyance, but it did jar me a little that while it followed the trail of Greek history from archaic, through classical to the Byzantine periods, it just stopped dead and skipped over everything between Byzantium to the Greek independence wars of he 1800s. Now, I know the Greeks still get stung by their period of Ottoman rule, but I sorta felt short-changed they didn’t confront it in their tableau.

  

 

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Since (and including) London 2012, opening ceremonies have become a bit messy and complicated in their execution.... Sochi feels more like a ceremony pre London due to its storytelling.

It makes me sad to think that we will probably never see a ceremony like Sydney ever again, but at least every so often it can be watched on youtube to relive the magic and i feel so blessed that i was able to witness those kind of ceremonies first hand instead of youngsters today having today's ceremonies as their memories.

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7 hours ago, Anthony said:

Papaiannou's stories take a lot of work on the part of the view to interpret and understand.

Or, returning to my "made for TV" notion, they take a lot of work on the part of the TV commentator. Check out the minute-by-minute detail of the ceremony Media Guide:

https://library.olympics.com/Default/doc/SYRACUSE/47787/opening-ceremony-media-guide-games-of-the-xxviii-olympiad-friday-august-13-2004-athens-2004-organisi?_lg=en-GB

And for older British viewers, "Clepsydra" will always be reminiscent of this:

https://www.facebook.com/the90swereawesome/videos/remember-the-prize-conveyor-belt-on-the-generation-game/460176427655300/

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I don't find Klepsydra particualry unique.  It's something you could see in a comprehensive museum exhibit.  Plus, it wasn't entirely original.  He got the ideas from the annual Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach, CA; and the parade of Persian history presented at the 2500th anniversary celebrations at Persepolis in Iran (below) -- (except, of course, Persia did not celebrate the Last Stand of the Spartan 300 at Thermopylae around a "fake lake).  ^_^  Whereas in other ceremonies, some of the costumes, etc., end up in museums as souvenirs of a one-time event, Kleptomania was ripped off wholesale from a museum, put on moving platforms -- and then passed off as a "unique Olympic ceremony" of little cheap, plastic dolls.  
 

.  

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12 minutes ago, baron-pierreIV said:

He got the ideas from the annual Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach, CA; and the parade of Persian history presented at the 2500th anniversary celebrations at Persepolis in Iran

Very possibly, but as I mentioned in an earlier discussion of Clepsydra, the ancestor of all such parades on slow-moving vehicles is a concept known as the "Pageant of Progress" (example below). The most significant difference between all such parades and the Athens version is that every performer in the parade passes every spectator along the route- no turning the lights down and escaping under cover of darkness!

 

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I have voted for Athens. I may be biased because it was the first Opening Ceremony I attended in person and also because I have a keen interest into Greek culture, but for me, it remains one of the main elegant, meaningful ceremony ever. I can understand some people found it cold but it felt very emotional to me, with a very human touch and scale. It has also aged very well.

For winter I have voted for Albertville, as I definitely think it has led the way to more creativity but Vancouver and Sochi were quite impressive as well.

 

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