Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pageantry, Parade, Torch Lighting

I think it is my favorite part.
Sometimes I feel like I am the only one.

Did you watch the Olympic Ceremonies?  I do mean the ceremonies and not the games.  I enjoy the games (a lot), but I really love, love, love the ceremonies ... opening and closing.

The ceremonies have (in my lifetime) become such elaborate, lovely, compelling (like to think about) entertainment ... absolutely the show-of-all-shows for the host country.  An amazing amount of thought and artistry go into the modern ceremonies, and I, for one, do love and appreciate them.

2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, London

An old friend of mine just moved to Maryland this weekend.  We spent Friday evening at a final, final, get together with them.  I almost forgot about the opening ceremonies.  I programmed my VCR to tape them.  When I sat down to watch Saturday night, I found that even though I had correctly created the timer program I had forgetten to turn on the timer program button.  I did not have a tape to watch.  (I know this is 2012 and no one uses a VCR anymore.  Obviously, I do not use mine often.  I would not have made that mistake 10 years ago.)

Luckily, I found that the ceremony was available on my Xfinity-(cable TV company)-On-Demand in three parts: Pageantry, Parade, and Torch Lighting.  I have now watched most of it twice.

It all began with Bradley Wiggins, 2012 Tour de France champion from Great Britain (their first ever), ringing a huge beautiful bell from the same London foundry that made Big Ben and the Liberty Bell.

Queen Elizabeth had a short and extremely memorable role that included her corgis and also featured James Bond.  Children's literature, British rock, current music and the digital age all had their parts.  (Thanks Tim Berners-Lee.)  Amongst all of that, "Chariots  of Fire" was performed by the London Philharmonic along with Mr Bean.

One of my favorite parts was when winged cyclists, representing doves of peace, circled the entire stadium as the Arctic Monkeys played a magnificent cover of The Beatles "Come Together".  This came shortly before the torch lighting.

What about those petal shaped lanterns, one for each of 204 countries, that were lit, forming a ring of fire that rose up on tall poles/stems to form the Olympic torch?  It was so beautiful, especially from above, and the following fireworks looked amazing.

Ending out the ceremony, an emotional Paul McCartny performed "Hey Jude" on the platform under that giant bell.  It rang once for a second time, but I am not sure if he rang it.  I like to think it was him.

Did you watch it?  What were your favorite parts?

Photo Credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/nickwebb/7663412908/ 


  1. I love the whole Olympics and I am not normally a sports watcher but the opening and closing ceremonies are a must! All those representatives from around the world - very moving.

  2. I love the Olympics as well - all of it.

    And London's opening ceremonies were grand, but the ceremonies I still remember vividly are China's. I guess that is an indication of just how special they were if I can remember them after 4 years.