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If you didn't catch the 4 hour opening ceremonies for the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, I certainly hope you taped/tivo'd/recorded it. It's impossible to do the sensory impacting performance justice.
There has never been an opening ceremony even close to this one. The sights, sounds, colors, engineering, movement, enormous LCD screen, projection on the skrim that ran around the stadium's top edge, performers in perfect synchronization, singers, dancers, aerialists, martial arts, painting, calligraphy, tradition, modern design and production was absolutely spectacular.
Below are some of the best photos I could find (click on them to enlarge) from Xinhua, Reuters, the AFP, the AP, the SF Chronicle, and Getty Images.
And of course, the spectacular lighting of the cauldron by Chinese gymnastics champion Li Ning during the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics held in the National Stadium, also knownas the Bird’s Nest, in north Beijing, China, Aug. 8, 2008: