Beijing Olympics off to spectacular startAugust 8th, 2008 - 7:58 pm ICT by IANS
Beijing, Aug 8 (IANS) The Beijing Olympic Games began Friday with a spectacular opening ceremony showcasing Chinese national pride as more than 80 world leaders watched at the National Stadium swathed in a soft blue light. The atmosphere was electric with tens of thousands of Chinese chanting and shouting slogans, waving torches and singing on a hot humid evening.
A formation of 2,008 young men controlled 2,008 Fou, an ancient percussion instrument of China with a 3,000-year history, all embedded with LED beads, to flash out the last seconds of the seven-year countdown to the Games, which started on July 13, 2001.
Chinese President Hu Jintao and International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge rose from their seats in the VIP stand to wave to a cheering crowd in the packed stadium.
The formation of Fou beaters then started a thunderous welcoming ceremony, chanting Confucius’ saying “How Happy We Are, To Meet Friends From Afar!”
Twenty-nine colossal footprints, created by fireworks explosions in the sky and symbolising the successive summer Olympics, travelled all the way along the central axis of Beijing, from the ancient city gate of Yongdingmen in the south to the futurist steel-framed Bird’s Nest.
Sparklers fell into the stadium and “lit up” a huge LED screen that showed the five Olympic rings. Embraced by “flying fairies” in shining costumes, the five rings, also made up of LED beads, were lifted in the air before the disbelieving eyes of some 91,000 spectators.
To the melodious rhythm of the song “A hymn to the motherland”, the Chinese national flag was ushered in the stadium, and hoisted with the excited and proud home crowd singing the national anthem loudly.
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