Monday, July 16, 2012

1968 Mexico City Summer Olympic Opening Ceremony

The Games of the XIX Olympiad
Mexico City, Mexico
First Olympic Cauldron to be lit by a woman - 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games

Olympic Ceremony Records 
italics indicate records at the time
  • First Olympic Games in Latin America
  • First Olympic Games in a Developing Country
  • First Woman to Light the Olympic Cauldron
  • First Flag-bearer to Hold their National Flag with Prostrated Arm (without carrier) - USSR
  • Last Summer Olympic Opening Ceremony Without Official Artistic Portion
  • Most Nations Participating (112) - previous Tokyo 1964 (93)
  • Most Athletes Participating (5,530) - previous Rome 1960 (5,338)
  • Most Olympic Events (172) - previous Tokyo 1964 (163)
Olympic Torch Relay Records
italics indicate records at the time
  • First torch relayed by swimming (amazing photos in the official report of the swimmer swimming with one arm holding the flame high out of the water)
  • First Woman to Light the Olympic Cauldron
  • Most Torch Designs - 7 (previous Melbourne 1956 - 2)
Opening Ceremony
Estadio Olimpico Universitario (100,000)
October 12, 1968


Opening Ceremony Highlights
The Opening Ceremony of the Mexico City games was substantially less inventive than Tokyo 1964, however the political situation in North America caused for a great concern during this time.  Assassinations of prominent political figures in the US and an ongoing social uprising in Mexico, these games were a miracle in themselves.  Nevertheless, it was a colorful and balloon-filled ceremony, with an overcapacity stadium of 63,000 seats filled with 100,000 spectators!  These would be the last ceremonies to exclude an official artistic portion of the ceremony.  The one prominent note of the 1968 Mexico City Opening Ceremony was that for the first time, a woman was the final torchbearer.
  • President of Mexico arrives with dignitaries; 21 gun salute
  • Fanfare (40 trumpets); National Anthem
  • Release of 5 gigantic balloons forming the Olympic Rings
  • Parade of Nations (300 member band performed marches)
  • President of Mexico declares the games open
  • Olympic Flag raised to the Olympic Hymn
  • "Antwerp" Flag is presented to the Mayor of Mexico City from the Mayor of Tokyo - proceeded by six Japanese girls and band performing a traditional Japanese song "Sakura"; at handover, band played traditional Mexican song "la Zandunga" and 40,000 balloons released
  • Fanfare of ancient Mexican instruments (conch shell, drums, reed flutes); entrance of Olympic Torch
  • Olympic Cauldron lit by Enriqueta Basilio (first woman to light the Olympic Cauldron; 80 meter hurdles Mexican national champion)
  • Athlete's Oath
  • 10,000 pigeons released
  • National Anthem

Gold Medal from the 1968 Mexico City Olympics

Primary torch of the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City

Secondary Torch of the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City

All 7 Olympic Torch Designs from the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City
Official Poster of the 1968 Olympic Games
1968 Mexico City Olympic Stadium


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