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Thread: Olympic Opening Ceremonies

  1. #1
    SkateFan4Life
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    Thumbs up Olympic Opening Ceremonies

    There have been so many memorable Winter Olympics opening ceremonies! As I recall them (and re-watch them on my videos) are:

    1964: Innnsbruck, Austria. Black and white television. Absolutely
    nothing was telecast live in those days, and sometimes we saw events a day or two after the fact. The opening ceremonies were simple, and the march of athletes was impressive as always. Of course, since my family had B & W television, everything appeared
    in shades of gray, black, and white.

    1968: Grenoble, France. Finally, color television! ABC-TV had a brief interview with Peggy Fleming prior to the start of the opening ceremonies. She and her American teammates were dressed in outfits that spoke volumes of the 1960's -- sort of a mild version of mini skirts, boots, and coats for the women, and
    nondescriptive outfits for the men.

    1972: Sapporo, Japan. The opening ceremonies were held in the outdoor speed skating oval, and a Japanese skater glided around the rink with the Olympic torch in hand. I only saw a small portion of the ceremonies, as I was living away from home at that time and did not have access to television. And of course, those were the pre-Internet days, so we did not have the instant access to the news that we have today.

    1976: Innsbruck, Austria. The opening ceremonies were simple and featured local Austrians in costumes, music, and dancing. The US team was shown parading into the outdoor stadium that was used for the ski jumping events. Dorothy Hamill, wearing her glasses, was shown marching in.

    1980: Lake Placid, New York. Finally, live television coverage!!
    The opening ceremonies were, again, low-keyed, and had a sort of down-home touch to them. A group of skaters from the local area skated around the outdoor rink, balloons were set up, and Mayor of Innsbruck presented the Olympic flag to the Mayor of Lake Placid, Vice President Mondale was in attendance, and the US team was led into the parade area by Scott Hamilton. I recall the commentators focused on the US figure skaters. Jim McKay said he thought Linda Fratianne "a lovely girl from California", had an almost-frightened look when she entered with her teammates.
    David Santee, Charlie Tickner, Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner and the rest of the US skaters were noted in the crowd.

    1984: Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. Very colorful, impressive opening ceremony - full of local dancers and performers. I recall that Christopher Dean carried the Union Jack to lead the team from Great Britain. The American figure skaters were pointed out in the crowd, especially World champions Scott Hamilton and Rosalyn Sumners, both of whom were favored to win gold medals.
    The stadium was packed, and the crowd was very warm and applauded all of the teams with a lot of enthusiasm. When the Yugoslavian team entered, everyone erupted in a loud, noisy ovation. Very nice.

    1988: Calgary, Canada. Oh, Canada! What a great opening ceremony -- plenty of Western flavor with horses, wagons, show riding, roping, and that wonderful "Catch the Spirit" theme song.
    A cast of several thousand citizens from Calagary and its environs had practiced their dance routines for months, and they put on a wonderfully impressive and entertaining show. The team parade was ablaze with color. The American team wore blue coats, white hats, and everyone carried a small flag. The Canadian team wore those neat red coats with white shoulder fringe and white cowboy hats. Let the Games begin!!

    1992: Albertville, France. The great Jean-Claude Killy, triple gold medalist in alpine skiing from 1968, was one of the committee who had organized the games. He was interviewed prior to the opening ceremonies. What a hunk, and what a nice gentleman!
    There were interviews with a clownish Christopher Bowman, and with Paul Wylie and Kristi Yamaguchi prior to the parade of athletes. Cool! And after the games had been officially begun, a terrific circus-like performance was put on - typically French and somewhat offbeat but really, really entertaining to watch.

    1994: Lillehammer, Norway. Would Nancy and Tonya parade in together? Of course not - Nancy did not appear, and Tonya was still in Oregon at the time of the opening ceremonies. The show put on by the locals was simple, sweet, and downright homey.
    The King and Queen of Norway entered the stadium on a sleigh drawn by horses, after which they got off and sat with the rest of the people. No posse of body guards for them. It appeared to be absolutely frigid cold, but the huge, SRO crowd seemed to have a glorious time. It was very touching when they sang their national anthem.

    1998: Nagano, Japan. Terrific Japanese show! Suma wrestlers, music, dancing, etc. The "snow children" who accompanied each of the teams were absolutely charming. A group of these little girls were interviewed prior to the opening ceremony. They told the reporters that they had studied each country they would be "leading" into the Olympic stadium, and the little girl who led the US team said she thought the US had many famous people and was a very impressive country. When asked who her favorite athlete was, she said, 'Tara Lipinski'. Tara walked into the stadium with her teammates, with a transmittor which she used to speak with the broadcasters. Tara said she was "thrilled"
    to be a the Olympics, and she clearly showed that emotion.

    2002: Salt Lake City, Utah. GREAT SHOW!!! Remember the opening portion, when a skater carried a flag representing each of the countries that had hosted Winter Olympics, starting back with 1924 in Chamonix, when separate Winter Olympic Games were first held. Each skater wore a costume representative of the era and host city.

    As an American, I was very moved to see one of the flags that had been recovered from the destroyed World Trade Center brought into the arena with an honor guard of US athletes, including Todd Eldredge. The talented New York policeman who had sung "God Bless American" numerous times in the wake of
    9/11 sung this beautiful piece at SLC. President George Bush welcomed the enormous crowd into the stadium. As reflective of the times, the President and Mrs. Bush sat behind a bullet-proof protected screen, and they were surrounded by Secret Service agents.

    The "show" contained a variety of snapshots of life in the American West. Frankly, I thought that part of the opening ceremony was a bit overdone, but it was presented with a lot of style and enthusiasm.

    Kristi Yamaguchi came out and skated at the end of the ceremony.
    When she finished her program, she faced the athletes, who were now all assembled, and she mouthed, "Good Luck!" to all of them.

    All of the teams received wonderful applause. When the Americans entered the arena, the noise was incredible.

    Dorothy Hamill and Dick Button were two of the Olympic torch carriers, and they entered the stadium with the torch. They passed it off to Peggy Fleming and Scott Hamilton, who skated around the rink and passed it on to the next athletes. Eventually, the cauldron was lit by Mike Erizone, the captain of the 1980 US gold medal hockey team.

    GREAT MEMORIES!

    Do you have other memories? I've only scratched the surface.

  2. #2
    Custom Title heyang's Avatar
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    The lighting of the Olympic flame is usually the most memorable moment for me.

    in 1992, the cauldron was lit by a flaming arrow.

    Didn't Midori Ito light the flame in Nagano in 1998?

    2002: Sasha getting President Bush to speak to her Mom on her cell phone. The flag being carried into the stadium was very moving. I can't believe it's been just about 2 years since 9/11 - reading the stories from that day still make me cry.

  3. #3
    Keeper of Michelle's Nose berthes ghost's Avatar
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    The US uniforms were done by Levi Strauss in 1980. They had a big problem with Eric Hyden, as they didn't make a pair of jeans big enough to fit over his huge thighs.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    I go along with Heyang about Sasha and the President.

    Also, that arrow that lit the flame (it was the 1992 summer Olympics at Barcelona, IIRC, by archer Antonio Rebolla) -- that will never be topped!

    Mathman

  5. #5
    Keeper of Michelle's Nose berthes ghost's Avatar
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    Wow. Am I the only one who thought that phone call was the height of bad taste?

  6. #6
    Yep It's me!
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    No, and I also thought at the time Bush looked ticked.

    Maybe he was, maybe he wasn't, but that's the first thing I thought of.

  7. #7
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Oh, come on. She was an 18 year old kid at the most thrilling moment of her life. I thought it was sweet that her first thought was to call her mom.

    MM

  8. #8
    Yep It's me!
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    I should clarify......I didn't think it was in bad taste...gutsy yes, but not bad taste.

    I did think that Bush was ticked. He doesn't seem like the type to appreciate or embrace "sweetness"

    But that's another thread...................

  9. #9
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    I agree, Bush seemed unnecessarily gruff. When Sasha asked very politely if he would be staying to watch the skating, he brushed her off with something like, "I can't be bothered with anything so frivolous, little girl, I have a war to run."

    MM

  10. #10
    Skater Girl
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    I thought the phone call was cool. If I was in Sasha's place I would do that; I mean, at 17, you're standing next to the President on the phone with your mom...what are you gonna do? I don't think Bush looked ticked. Sasha said he was very nice in an interview, and on her site she lists it as "one of the highlights of the Olympics".

    I think the best thing about the 2002 Olympic Opening Ceremonies was the 9-11 American flag. When it was brought out, I started crying. It was so sad, but so touching...

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    When Olympics were over, all American athletes -- participants were invited to the White House. After president Bush walked out to talk to them, he've asked: "Do all of you have your mothers standing by on the cell phone?"

    (True story, by the way. I'm not making it up.)

  12. #12
    Gone with the wind windspirit's Avatar
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    Originally posted by berthes ghost
    Wow. Am I the only one who thought that phone call was the height of bad taste?
    I wouldn't use that expression, but it did rub me the wrong way when she did it. And the whole bunch of athletes who were on their cell phones when their countries were being introduced and they were walking around the arena... "Hey, I have a cell phone and I can't stop talking! Look, mom, I'm on TV! They're filming me, like, right now!" Geez.

    Anyway, I liked the opening ceremony for the 2002 Olympics (I don't remember much of the previous ones). I thought the Native American part was very moving.

  13. #13
    SkateFan4Life
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    UGH! Do we have to mention Sasha Cohen's nervy bit of shoving her cell phone in President Bush's face? Is that the only memory you folks have of the Olympic opening ceremonies over the years?
    Egads! I don't mean so be critical, but, enough, already, please.

    What was the song the Japanese singer sang at the Nagano opening ceremony? Something like "When Children Rule the World", of something like that.

    I'll mention a personal note. I have sung in a local summer choir that has an excellent professional quartet, including a bass and a tenor who are singers with the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
    The bass soloist has toured Japan on several concert tours. While I was watching the Nagano opening ceremony, I got a real shock - and a lovely one at that - when Kevin was the first singer to sing the bass solo in the multi-choir "Ode to Joy". He was in Nagano, while other groups were in China, Sydney, Capetown, Berlin, and New York. Wow!

  14. #14
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    Originally posted by SkateFan4Life
    UGH! Do we have to mention Sasha Cohen's nervy bit of shoving her cell phone in President Bush's face? Is that the only memory you folks have of the Olympic opening ceremonies over the years?
    Egads! I don't mean so be critical, but, enough, already, please.

    To those of us who happen to think that it was one of the lighthearted, funny and unplanned moments at the opening ceremony -- why shouldn't we mention it?

  15. #15
    SkateFan4Life
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    Of course you can mention Sasha Cohen's antics - but is that the only Olympic opening ceremony memory you all have?????

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