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Pictures of the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Olympics

Who's Watching the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Olympics?

The opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics took place at the symbolic 8:08:08 local time (early this morning for the US) but it's due to broadcast starting on America's East Coast at 7:30 p.m. (and 7:30 p.m., PDT as well.)

The $100 million extravaganza (more than twice the cost of 2004's show) drew 91,000 spectators watching the 35,000 fireworks and almost 3,000 lights during the four-hour ceremony. The capper of the event is gymnast Li Ning, three-time Chinese Gold medalist being lifted by wires, circling the entire stadium in the air before using the torch to light the massive Olympic cauldron.


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The anticipated audience stands to make this the most-watched television event ever. If you're watching, let us know what you're thinking! Which athletes are you rooting for? What caught your attention? If it's not on yet where you are, there are tons of amazing pics below that might make you feel like you were there. To check them out,

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Mary_Sofi Mary_Sofi 7 years
I can't believe people are acting judgmental about Chinese history... Every country has its wounds, and people are so quick to judge them and forget that their own countries have committed crimes against human rights, most of them in foreign soil, but they call it "patriotism." My country has suffered from both communism and an extreme right wing dictatorship, and it's people's innability to move forward what causes so much friction between us. Maybe the Olympics are something the Chinese people are really happy about, and they needed this break. So let's be happy for them and enjoy the show.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
I understand where you're coming from meike and I have to respectfully disagree. You're certainly not alone in your opinion that the Chinese government sees the Olympics as an opportunity to distract its citizens. However, I would counter that if the Chinese government is what many suggest and I am in agreement with many of the criticisms of their government than reason would have it that there is no distraction needed and certainly not one of this magnitude & cost. Many have made the point that although China has some way to go if you compare the China of today to the China thirty years ago the difference is vast. Taking into consideration that they have/are changing is a step in the right direction. I realize most of us would prefer a Kool-Aid resolution (just add water & stir) but more often than not the world does not operate so efficiently. Humanity of all race, culture & spiritual backgrounds must wrestle with the wisdom of lessons learned before they can progress to a better state of collective mind and I do believe that China is involved in that inner turmoil, which is why I believe they need all the nudging they can get.
Ellenora Ellenora 7 years
hypnoticmix-Thank you. :D
TaiMing TaiMing 7 years
I watched the opening ceremonies looooooooove it!!!!too cool looooooooove China,my motherland, Im proud of you Chinese govement? oh.... I dont give a f**k!
Meike Meike 7 years
The Olympic ideal of unity is great, no doubt, if it were as sincere as it appears to be. Of course, the people participating in the games and the people engulfed by it are happy. I am also happy for them. You may argue all you want about the beauty of the Olympics and its meaning. However, underneath all of that, the games really are a tool to keep the average citizen distracted while governments relax and pursue questionable agendas, and greedier businesses capitalize on them. Corruption does not stop and therefore, the suffering of people around the world do not stop either. I appreciate the Olympics for what they try to convey through temporary civility. And, no, I will not revel in that sort of superficiality. :) The most I'll watch that is Olympic related are some of the gymnastics and Taekwondo matches. Nothing more.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
Beautifully put Ellenora.
Ellenora Ellenora 7 years
I was utterly stunned by the entire ceremony (minus the Parade of the Nations, that's always boring). The amount of work and pride they put in astounded me. I loved the repetition of 2008 in terms of the number of dancers at one time or the amount of drummers in the beginning. The amount of detail in this ceremony made it that more spectacular. The Olympics is not the time to be worrying about politics, government, etc. of the host country or other countries. There is a time and place for it and it's not the Olympics. The Olympics is a time to show that even though we're separated by continent or boundaries, we all still strive for unity and friendly competition. The Olympics unites countries that would never unite under other circumstances. This is a time to remind ourselves that we are all connected by sports. Sports are universal. The arts are universal. Emotion is universal. There's no boundary for these and that's what the Olympics highlight. Put aside your political views for 2 weeks and revel in something universal that occurs only once every 2 years. I do it every 2 years no matter where it takes place--Athens, Turino, Salt Lake City, Seoul or Beijing.
Meike Meike 7 years
Somehow I am just now reminded of Whoville in "Horton and the Who". Gotta love how some people are reaffirming what most governments of the world want from them. Let's all just be chummy and forget the real issues of the world exist. Who cares? While more than one billion people and the media are are focused in on the games of the Olympics, governments can do most of their dirty work under less scrutiny.
L0neLyHeArT L0neLyHeArT 7 years
Who cares about the Chinese government? Just enjoy the Olympics. I find the opening ceremony to be very magnificent and breathtaking.
Meike Meike 7 years
""The government should not be a reflection of the people, and the rest of the world should celebrate with the proud citizens of China." Yes, exactly. It's a great moment of pride for the people. Screw the government--it doesn't represent the people the way they deserve to be represented. Chinese citizens do deserve better, and the Olympics are a giant step in the right direction; boycotting the Games just because of the government's wrongdoings is doing the Chinese people an enormous disfavor." Ditto. It is unfortunate that much of China's media is censored to the point that most of its citizens are oblivious to their government's wrong doings and truth. Heh, games and politics... The ceremony yesterday was indeed beautiful. My favorite part of it was the Tai Chi chapter. The lighting of the torch, on the other hand, bored me. I get that it was based off the old Chinese tale of Kuafu chasing the sun but it was horribly long and drawn out. Nothing has yet beat 1992 Barcelona's actual lighting of the torch, imo. I was 10 years old when I witnessed that and apparently after 16 years it is still ingrained into my head as the most amazing lighting. And to think, I have seen all six Olympic ceremonies in between.
globbot globbot 7 years
Just as a side note, when human right is directly translated into Chinese (as translations often are), it means individual empowerment. Coming from a country where it's all about the community over the individual, the recent protests not only anger the Chinese, it also confuses them. I my opinion, the recent protests have had adverse affect on China's policy toward Tibet and the outside world, especially with a lot of the irresponsible actions of protesters. We're really just insulting them. Besides, just a mere three decades ago China was a starving, backward, propaganda heavy mess. And now they are hosting a billion dollar olympics. Let them have their moment. Hopefully, although doubtfully , the protest will stop during the olympics. It just angers the Chinese people. And do angry people listen to what you have to say, even though it might be good-intentioned?
Auntie-Coosa Auntie-Coosa 7 years
It was probably awesome as nearly all Olympic openings have been in recent memory. However, I do not have a television so "watching" is out unless I click on YouTube . . . and I'm busy so probably won't.
ditorres ditorres 7 years
I watched it. I loved it. It was an amazing feat of ingenuity and precision. This was a time for the Chinese people to shine. They shared their history, their philosophy and their hope. Let's not turn our backs on them. Let's give them a chance. If we ever want the Chinese people to change the policies of their government, we have to accept them and welcome them into the international community.
Bebeshopper Bebeshopper 7 years
Out of solidarity for Tibet and the Dalai Lama, I will not be watching the Olympics this year, due to China's horrible human rights violations and abuse of animals. I guess if Sadam Hussein would have offered to pay the Olympic committee the right price and built sporting arenas after bulldozing the poors' housing, we would have voted for them to host the Olympics instead of invading Iraq. Our government leaders are such hypocrits.
Miaomiaochan Miaomiaochan 7 years
(I almost forgot to mention) Well said, hypnoticmix. The Chinese gov't. can't hold a monopoly on the national pride and happiness of the entire population. The people's happiness and pride are meant for each other and not for the Communist Party. Their allegiance is not to the Party.
NurseDeAnna NurseDeAnna 7 years
I thought the ceremony was beautiful. The Chinese were sharing their history with the world in the most gorgeous fashion, I was emotional the whole time. I'm such a sap.
Miaomiaochan Miaomiaochan 7 years
"The government should not be a reflection of the people, and the rest of the world should celebrate with the proud citizens of China." Yes, exactly. It's a great moment of pride for the people. Screw the government--it doesn't represent the people the way they deserve to be represented. Chinese citizens do deserve better, and the Olympics are a giant step in the right direction; boycotting the Games just because of the government's wrongdoings is doing the Chinese people an enormous disfavor. One thing is for sure--wherever us Chinese may happen to live in this world, and whether or not we agree or disagree with the acts of the Communist regime on the mainland, we will all come together (physically or just in spirit) for events like this because we share a common thread. We all love China--the country, its culture, its history, its people. Even those of us who are naturalized citizens of other nations are exceedingly proud of our heritage. I watched the entire ceremony live yesterday, and it was absolutely breathtaking. The lighting of the torch will be burned (lol, pun) into my memory forever--it was just too cool.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
I watched the opening ceremonies. One word: Spectacular. I was deeply moved, and impressed. I loooooved the artistic statement. I think there is hope for China. Other countries, including the U.S., have made terrible human rights mistakes in its history, and turned it around. Because of this, I'm optimistic about China.
intensebandgeek intensebandgeek 7 years
You're so right, hypnoticmix. The Olympics is all about world unity and putting differences aside. The opening ceremonies were ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!! My family and I always watch the opening ceremonies and this one was THE BEST. I must say, that little boy that survived the earthquake and went back to save his classmates made me choke up a bit. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I feel that it's a shame that there is so much controversy with Beijing hosting the Olympics. The government should not be a reflection of the people, and the rest of the world should celebrate with the proud citizens of China.
fantome14 fantome14 7 years
Well, said, hypnoticmix! The government sucks, but this is a great day for the people. The Olympics are about international camaraderie, after all. I keep thinking of Hermione in the Harry Potter books going on about International Magical Cooperation. Also, I was thinking that having these games has given the human rights problems in China more international exposure, which can't be a bad thing. The fact that they're opening the country up more allows for this discourse, and they had to know that.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
I used to feel like you Jillness I understand the want to criticize a nation for its treatment of the humanity in its care but whether they know it or not this Olympics by its very nature is moving China forward in the right direction, which is why I changed my stance. I took my focus away from my frustration of the Chinese government and focused on the people. When I saw the enormous pride on the faces of normal everyday Chinese I knew right then and there that this Olympics is much less about the governments opportunity for some sort of propaganda and in a sense much more an opportunity for a people to express something greater than anything they've felt before. To feel pride & joy on a scale beyond their wildest dreams and more importantly beyond the expressions of their government. Tonight the Chinese people are building their own bridge and I am more than happy to meet them half way.
Misskastar Misskastar 7 years
$100 million dollars?? Geez. Fireworks are great and all, but isn't that a little much? I love decorations as much as the next girl, but reading this made me think of what else we could be doing with all of this money. Even a fraction of this money could really help some people that can't even watch the olympics. Sorry to be a buzzkill.
CitizenSugar CitizenSugar 7 years
OK, the pragmatist in me wants to know where they all got dressed and where the "wings" are? Where are all these people coming from? And some of these costumes are not small.
CitizenSugar CitizenSugar 7 years
I just can't believe the work that must have gone into this! Eight skrillion drummers in unison? It's amaaaaazing.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
Oooo the coligraphy dancers are on now.
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