The 10 best moments at the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony were awe-inspiring in conception and execution. Though the $300 million price tag to stage the opening Olympics ceremony is the annual budget for some countries, it was money well spent toward firmly establishing China as a world leader.
The 2008 Olympic Games were a coming out party for China, as it opened its doors in welcome to the world, while hidden eyes and ears lurked in the background. Still, for a moment in time, the world looked on in awe at the Beijing Olympics Opening ceremony.
- The Bird’s Nest Stadium. Even before the opening Olympics ceremonies began, the architecture of the Bird’s Nest Stadium provoked wonder that only increased upon entering into the largest steel structure in the world.
- The 2,008 Fou drummers. The in sync play of 2,008 Fou drummers held the Olympic audience spellbound. At the final drumbeat, a young Fou drummer was caught on camera noticeably exhaling a sigh of relief, an emotion the watching world could understand.
- The 29 Footsteps of History. The 29 footsteps moving outward from near Tiananmen Square and culminating over the Bird’s Nest stadium symbolically linked old Beijing with modern Beijing. The 29 historical footsteps were also representative of 29 Olympiads to date. Due to logistical limitations, the footsteps leading to the Stadium were computer graphics, but the footsteps appearing in the sky over the Stadium were produced by actual fireworks.
- The world’s largest LED scroll. The 230 feet by 70 feet of unfolding LED scroll depicted the ancient and modern history of Chinese culture.
- A giant illuminated sphere. Watching nimble athletes running on and around the surface of a red illuminated sphere segmented into nine rings of latitude, only added to the surreal beauty of the Olympics opening ceremony.
- Moving images on the Bird’s Nest scrim wall. A giant whale moving through water, cascading waterfalls, fluttering butterflies, planets orbiting in space and birds in flight were all beautifully portrayed on the scrim wall of the Bird’s Nest stadium.
- Entrance of the Olympics athletes. The highlight of any Olympics opening ceremony is the entrance of the athletes into the Olympic stadium. It is a proud moment for any country to see its athletes enter the stadium behind their nation’s flag.
- Li Ning runs along wall Bird’s Nest stadium. Leading up to the lighting of the Olympic torch, former Chinese Olympian, Li Ning, ran the length of the Bird’s Nest scrim wall tethered by a wire, and while holding high the Olympic torch.
- The Lighting of the Olympic Stadium Torch. After traversing the scrim wall, Li Ning touched the lighted torch to piping extending into a partially unfurled scroll. The moment the Olympic torch blazed into life, excited cheers erupted. With the Olympic torch lit, the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games had officially begun.
- The national Chinese costumes. The beautiful costumes worn by the 56 children representing the 56 ethnic groups of China proclaimed a people proud of their ancestral heritage.
The August 8, 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony was a technological wonder. The hard work and dedication of the 15,000 performers gave the world an Olympics opening ceremony to remember for ages to come.