Saturday, July 30, 2016

Shock and Awe

Bring in the audience!  Tomorrow, begins the first of two full runs with audience.  As is the case in most every Olympics, the ceremony is recorded three times.  Traditionally, this was necessary so the television broadcasters would be able to specifically edit portions of the ceremony into, or know which ones to take out of, the television broadcast.

Shameless selfie with Maracana
Many of you, I suspect all of you, remember the epic ring failure from Sochi.  That was one of the moments that could have easily been edited out, and a successful version put in.  Actually, the Russian broadcast did just that!  But we all felt devastated in a way when that happened, because the opening segment is usually one that is intended to pack a punch.  More on that in a bit.

But every so often, a segment is deleted from the broadcast like the 2000 member marching band in Sydney (2000).  But by far, one of my favorite moments that didn't see airtime in the US was in 2012.  There was a tribute to those who died in the London subway bombings, which happened the day after the games were awarded to London - 7/7/05.  The segment features 52 dancers representing the 52 who died in the 4 attacks in a performance called "An Ending (Ascent)"- performed to the old hymn, "Abide with Me."  It's about a father taking his son into eternity - I nearly cry every time I see this.

As I mentioned yesterday, the display of the Olympic Rings and welcome have been a part of the opening moment of the ceremony for decades.  Later, a countdown was added and since 1992, the nighttime ceremony would begin at the clock time of their year.  Does that make sense?  In this case, it is 2016, and the ceremony will begin at 20:16, or 8:16pm.  These have mostly been traditions, not protocol, but are often treated just as important in the planning stages.

By 2000, the countdown and Olympic Rings Welcome became a sort of "shock and awe" moment in the evolution of the ceremony, a way to say, "these are the Olympic Games" in the most powerful way.  They are all very different and spectacular, and don't last very long since I've cued them up for you - you might as well watch them all!

120 horses in Sydney (2000)

Fire on Water in Athens (2004) - one of my favorites 

Suspended Lights on Cloth in Beijing (2008) 

Smelting of Suspended Iron in London (2012) - also amazing

Snowflakes in Sochi (2014)

Today's Teaser!

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