Sunday, August 24, 2008

Olympics Closing Ceremony Live Broadcast

I returned from a week in Kansas last night, in time for this morning’s live broadcast on China’s Olympics channel CCTV5 (through TvAnts). My sister emailed yesterday that her husband, a usually thrifty man, spent 8000 yuan (over $1,000) on the ticket and flew from Haikou to Beijing just to see the closing ceremony. He had wanted to attend the opening ceremony, but was unable to get tickets.

He is sitting in the audience in the Bird’s Nest right now then.

After a dramatic opening ceremony, the closing ceremony seems more subdued, but is still on a grand scale. The count-down to the 8:00 opening was done with fireworks forming numbers in the air above the stadium. The first set of performers ran in wearing red costumes and bicycle helmets. More lighted outfits, red and silver, formed a large bell with two concentric rings. The shape then changed to present different images and the logo of the Beijing Olympics. About 8:18 the flag bearers of 204 countries came in, each accompanied by a Chinese man dressed in white. The Chinese broke off to form the container that welcomed athletes from all the countries.

Only 18 minutes of performance? I hope there’s more. Otherwise my brother-in-law will be deeply disappointed. So will I.

Added at 10:00 am: After an hour of formal procedures including official speeches, the performance did resume at about 9:11 , beginning with "8 minutes of London." After that mostly just singing, giving the feeling of an ordinary performance, kind of uneventful. Perhaps I was too spoiled by the peculiar opening ceremony. The only thing that was a bit different was an opera piece titled "Flame of Love," sung by Domingo and Song Zuying, alternatively in English and Chinese. Not sure what to make of the mixed languages. It didn't particularly touch me.

At 10 am, fireworks went off again -- the end.

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