the 2008 olympics: made in china!

it made perfect sense that the 2008 olympics will be held in china, because that country truly took to heart the auspicious significance of the date 8-8-08 as its opening ceremony--the day they enraptured the whole world with a spectacular welcome rite as gigantic in visual appeal as the now iconic "bird's nest" national stadium (a truly remarkable architectural masterpiece) in beijing.

the official broadcaster of the olympics here in the united states is nbc, and man--watching the ceremonies in HD was probably the next best thing to being there live. i was lucky enough to catch at least part of the parade of nations and saw a proud manny pacquiao wave the philippine flag. then, the gigantic yao ming led the host country with little boy lin hao, a sichuan earthquake survivor turned hero. it was a powerful, symbolic, and touching image: here was a literal giant, an nba superstar who hailed from a country once labeled by napoleon as "the sleeping giant"--but we all know china's current presence is anything but drowsy! and right beside him was a boy, the scar on his head introducing him to the world as a survivor of a terrible calamity that claimed lives. the camera focused on him far longer than they did on yao. when yao was interviewed as to what he thinks little lin meant to china, he replied that the boy represented china's "hope for the future." that statement summed up the boy's meaningful presence at the event, for here was someone who emerged from the rubbles, escaping a tragic death, and was said to have gone back to rescue two of his classmates. how many kids his age get to be a hero like that?

and man, how do i even start to construct the sentences worthy enough to describe the torch-lighting ceremony? here is where they really raised the bar (or should i say, cables?) for future olympics hosts (look out, london!). the participants in the torch relay were important chinese olympians....and when the final torch was lit by li ning, (nicknamed "prince of gymnastics" who won several medals in the 1984 los angeles olympics) i simply was astonished, as i believe millions of spectators simultaneously also were, when he shot up straight into the air like a superhero! as the cables finally hoisted him in mid-air, he twisted his body a bit sideways then pretended to run around the entire stadium, unfurling a streaming video of the torch's global journey in his path before lighting up the giant torch perched on top of the stadium. i don't know about you but it was just ingenious, moving, and obviously gravity-defying! now that's a tough act to follow, or even beat! the fanciest (or at that time, it was) torch-lighting style i've seen was when an archer shot a flaming arrow into the cauldron...i think that was in athens. as li ning ran in the air with torch in hand, i can't help but imagine the greek messenger god, hermes. the gods in mt. olympus probably applauded this spectacle and commented, "and that's how you light up the olympic flame!"

then cue fireworks....fireworks like you've never seen in your entire life! the macy's fourth of july fireworks paled in comparison to this breath-taking pyrotechnic display by the very people who invented fireworks. it seemed like the entire city of beijing was erupting in all its fiery glory, the whole stadium was aglow. moments like that made you feel good to be alive!

i missed the first part where the synchronized drummers performed the countdown to the ceremonies, but did catch it online instead. that would have also looked marvelous in HD. but from what i saw, it was also a massive performance. you'd think the sea of drummers was CGI-created but no, they're definitely real!

the "sleeping giant" has indeed awaken, and soared high up in the sky from its bird's nest in a blaze of glory. (did that just sound like a bon jovi song? hehe)

i can't think of a single english word that would accurately describe the opening ceremonies in beijing. i'd like to merge all the superlative forms of the appropriate adjectives. something like, SUPERDUPERMEGAFANTABULOUSLYSPECTAXCELLENT!

don't you agree?

now...looking forward to seeing michael phelps in speedos...and gold medals! hehe.

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