I settled in to watch the opening ceremonies for the Olympics on EuroSport this evening. The first half was sprawling and colorful: thousands of synchronized performers and very high-tech ground visuals. It culminated in Sarah Brightman singing atop a huge video globe.
The Boston Globe has a wonderful photo collection that really captures the event. And the final segment, where the suspended runner made a symbolic circuit of the statium, was amazing.
Still, for me, the best part is watching all of the teams come in.
It has the most human moments to it: people who have worked hard their whole lives to be there and the thrill is on every face. The small countries with a half dozen participants: how different their arc through life has been from mine.
I like all of the distinctive national outfits and the diversity in how they do their procession. Some are rigidly formal, others dance and jump on one another. Even the waving, smiling national leaders look more spontaneous, proud in an almost parental way.
Drat, the Netherlands team got by me. Was the queen there?
DutchNews says that there are 242 "sportsmen and women" in the national team ( a slightly effete phrase in US english... ).
Oddly, the Telegraaf is reporting that a mystery man got through security to run alongside the Dutch team, waving, as they entered the stadium. 'never a dull moment...
In the end, for me, it's all about the athletes, and their stories and efforts transcend the spectacle. Their contagious enthusiasm puts the right spirit onto the Opening Ceremonies.