Spectacular, spellbinding, magnificent, and amazing was the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics held at the Beijing National Stadium. Focusing on the ancient Chinese Culture and the contemporary creativeness, this ceremony featured more than 15,000 performers,which highlights China's emergence as a global icon. Directed by Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou, this four-hour-long dazzling performance has been estimated to cost over 300 million dollars to produce.
The event kicked of with a performance of 2008 Fou drummers on a gigantic LED paper scroll, representing the first of the great Chinese inventions, paper. The LED-embedded drums and the glowing drumsticks were lit by the Fou drummers forming Arabic and Chinese numerals to signify the countdown the final seconds and the official opening of the 29th Olympiad. As soon as the countdown hit zero, a trail of 29 whopping firework footprints went off, one after another, from Beijing city's central axis into the national stadium, representing all the 29 Olympiads. Signifying the second of the Chinese inventions, gunpowder.
Perhaps the most impressive of all the performances was a fluid array of 897 movable type blocks that formed three variations of the character "harmony." The blocks moved in unison as it danced up and down the stage harmoniously forming all kinds of shapes and pictures to symbolize how the world could together as a whole in harmony. Terracotta soldiers, Beijing opera puppetry performance, Tang-dynasty dancers, a Harp player, and two opera singers, famous pianists Lang Lang and five-year-old Li Muzi performed a melody from the Yellow River Cantata, a Tai Chi performance by 2,008 Tai Chi masters and a skit with schoolchildren drawing and colouring on the giant scroll and chanting poetry were just some of the hundreds of different acts performed during the opening ceremony. These acts symbolizes China's ancient tradition and also of China's emergence in the world.
After all of these breathtaking, inspiring, and spectacular performances, it is time for the athletes to take parts in the parade of nations. In accordance with Olympic tradition, the national team of Greece entered first; the host country came last. The athletes marched along the tracks toward the center of the stadium, which was encircled by white-capped Chinese cheerleaders welcoming each contingent. As they did so,they would step on colored ink before treading on the Chinese painting done earlier by the children and the performance artists. After all athletes have been introduced, the Olympic torch was relayed around the stadium by 7 athletes, and was finally passed on to Li Ning, the former Olympic gymnast champion, the 8th and final athlete. Li Ning, who was suspended by wires, then appeared to run horizontally along the walls of the stadium through to the Olympic cauldron, which at this moment was still undisclosed. As he ran along the upper wall of the stadium,the projection displayed an opening scroll, usually ahead of him, on which was beamed footages of previous torch relays. At the final moment, a spotlight revealed the final resting place of the Olympics flame. A colossal torch situated at the top of the stadium was lit. A flurry of spectacular fireworks of various colors and shapes, some projecting Olympic rings, others forming hoops, flower outwards, fountain or float down, accompanied the ending of the ceremony.
This opening ceremony was definitely the best I have ever seen. Being a Chinese American, I am extremely proud of China for being able to successfully produce such a fantastic performance. I am sure now that the other countries will all be deeply awed by both the ancient traditions and the modern technological advances of China.