We’ve put aside our British cynicism and gotten into the Olympics spirit. Sue us – guess we got sucked into that whole “whole world coming together as one to celebrate human achievement” thing. To commemorate tonight’s Opening Ceremony, we count down the best moments of past ceremonies. Now all we have to do is pray for sunshine.
(1) Athens, 2004: Bjork sings Oceania
It’s not every Olympics country that manages to convince Bjork to write and perform a song for them – while wearing a 9,000 square feet dress.
(2) Beijing, 2008: Drumming song
You can criticise China for a lot of things, but putting on a bad show isn’t exactly one of them.
(3) Los Angeles, 1984: Rocket man flies in
Opening ceremonies used to be a rather sedate affair – until LA stepped in and flew a man into the stadium on a jetpack. Welcome to Hollywood.
(4) Barcelona, 1992: Antonio Rebollo shoots and scores
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Just another garden-variety Olympic torch lighting? Not when you’ve got a Paralympian archer shooting the torch over the heads of hundreds of spectators and straight into the cauldron.
(5) Atlanta, 1996: Mohammed Ali lights the torch
Mohammed Ali was suffering from Parkinson’s and his hands were shaking, but that didn’t stop him from triumphantly lighting the flame right before Martin Luthor King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech played.
(6) Turin, 2006: Pavarotti sings for Italy
Not every country can lay claim to a 20-stone opera superstar bursting into song at the exact moment the Olympic cauldron bursts into flame. Katherine Jenkins doesn’t count.
(7) Sydney, 2000: Aboriginal beginnings
Probably the most celebrated of opening ceremonies, Sydney showed you didn’t have to use fancy pyrotechnics (although there are plenty of those too) to create something moving, evocative and entirely beautiful.