One World, One Dream

Holy Confucius! I thought I’d seen it all.

What a jaw-dropping stunning feast of sound, color, syncronicity, pyrotechnics and human drama.

If you are one of approximately 1 billion people on the planet who will reportedly watch it – then you likely know I’m referring to the spell-binding opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

To open the extravaganza the Chinese organizers drew upon the best from the past two Olympic Opening ceremonies. In 2000 in Sydney do you remember the Australian icons amid a sea of dazzling flora and fauna? Or 2004 in Athens where two drummers pounded to the rhythmic pace of a heartbeat during the 28 second countdown?

In breath-taking fashion and preceded by a thunderous cast of thousands of Chinese drummers beating down upon traditional drums with glow-in-the-dark sticks – the big red machine paraded and flashed before the world captivating vignettes of four of its life-altering contributions to humanity – gun powder, paper, movable type and the compass.

Then from a touching scene that could just as easily have come from a Disney movie, were it not in the center of the communist world – an adorable little Chinese girl sang and melted the collective hearts of those lucky enough to have a spot in the remarkable Beijing ‘bird nest’ and the multitudes watching via television.

Still, if there was any iota of doubt that this extravaganza was not the most spectacular of the modern Olympic era – then the surreal torch-lighting ceremony (it brought tears to my eyes) proved to be the clincher. If you didn’t catch the opening ceremony live – then you will just have to wait to see the re-broadcast.

Yes, China’s human rights record is abysmal. The country’s mammoth industrial cities are environmental disasters. Tibetans long to be free and the fear of terrorism stalks the air.

Yet for a least a few brief hours . . . while the Chinese authorities held their breath, over a billion human beings around the planet watched and listened, united in hope . . . for one world . . . one dream.

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One Comment on “One World, One Dream”

  1. dougpete says:

    Good summary of the opening ceremonies, Mike. I felt the same level of emotion and just don’t know what to attribute it to. As with all recent Olympics, the final lighting of the torch is kept in secrecy until it’s finally revealed. Beijing’s was spectacular. Makes you wonder how the dress rehearsals could be held and none of it revealed to a globe that is salivating to find out what would be done.

    China did itself proud with the ceremony. For at least three hours, the world was not focused on the other historical things that you’ve noted. But, on the news during the event comes the notification that Russian tanks were moving into Georgia and the fantasy that was the opening ceremonies is lost.

    The magic of the Olympics will be tested over the course of the next while with professional athletes competing against amateurs, dope testing, claims of partiality, and all the things that go along with Olympics. Even during the opening session, the awards in Euros for winning metals was noted by the announcers.

    The magic will return with the closing ceremonies and we can hope that it’s just as impressive as the opening.


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