I thought they were absolutely fabulous, although a few times some silly comments from Bob Costas and Katie Couric spoiled them a bit. I saw the Salt Lake City Olympic opening ceremonies in person and I still remember the excitement I felt. On TV I have to admit they don't appear as grand as they do in person, but I was VERY impressed with the creativity of the Athens opening ceremonies. They all are creative and present the best of their country and culture so it was not a surprise to see Athens present the historical aspect- the journey through time. It was a reminder of how much of the Greek history I have known, simply as a result of growing up, and how much it has been a part of our civilization. The water was used beautifully (and I was wondering later what happened to it), and the way the Olympic rings lit up was spectacular, even on the TV screen. The colors were beautiful (white boat against the blue water, and later the 'statues' throughout Greek history). The people hanging by ropes created spectacular moving sculptures. We are so lucky to be able to get a glimpse into other countries because of the Olympics. From my experience in Salt Lake City I had a greater appreciation for how big a festival the Olympics are, and how difficult it must be to put on a show like that.
It was touching to see the joy etched in the face of Gianna- the organizer that pulled off the nearly impossible: getting ready for the games in just one year, after the first 3 years were wasted. Greece is a tiny nation, with fewer resources than mega powers like USA, Canada, and others. My hats are off to them for creating such a spectacular opening ceremony.
I got bored during the parade of nations. It is hard to watch 202 nations, no matter how interesting. I am glad that they showed the parade, however. It is a very important part of the Olympic ceremonies. I have taped the show and I can watch them bit by bit later.
One more interesting thing was the alphabetical order. Even though Greek symbols /alphabets have been a part of scientific notation, which I have used for years, I had never given a thought to the order of alphabets compared with English. So it was unpredictable which nation would march in next.