80-minute pre-ceremony to precede main Opening

August 6th, 2008 - 6:58 pm ICT by IANS  

By V Krishnaswamy
Beijing, Aug 6 (IANS) Eight is an auspicious number for the Chinese. So, the theme of eight will mark the opening ceremony which gets underway at eight seconds past the eighth hour on the eighth day of the eighth month of the eighth year of the millennium. But before that for nearly 80 minutes, there will be a prelude leading to the opening ceremony, which the organisers promise will be spectacular. The official ceremony will get under at 8:08:08 and will last about two and half hours, with China’s Liu Huan and Sarah Brightman from Britain chosen to sing the theme song, according to Zhang Heping, director of the Beijing Olympic Organising Committee (BOCOG) Opening and Closing Ceremonies Department at a press conference.

A 75-80 minute performance that is being called a “pre-ceremony” will be held before that and it will feature folk and ethnic art from 28 teams across the country, Zhang said.

The core part of the ceremony — the artistic performance — will last one hour. It will be divided into two parts — one to highlight China’s age-old civilization and the other to highlight China’s splendid modern era. The theme song will come at the end of the performance.

The main performance the ceremony that begins at the official time will last two and a half hours and will feature the various Olympic rituals and traditions, including a declaration by Chinese President Hu Jintao opening the Games and a two-hour long parade of athletes.

Delegations from 205 national and regional Olympic committees will enter the stadium according to the order of the simplified Chinese characters.

Security during the opening and closing ceremonies is expected to be the tightest with visitors, officials and even media requested to be in their seats at least two hours before the ceremonies begin.

In fact, many facilities will be suspended during the ceremonies, including transport restrictions, suspension of usage of wireless facilities from the stadium and many such precautions.

As Beijing goes all out to put its best foot forward, the organisers also opened the Beijing 2008 Olympic Youth Camp with the theme, “Youth Creates the Future”.

Meanwhile, as the clock ticks, the Olympic torch has completed its global journey and is now on its last stages before it concludes the run at the Opening Ceremony.

BOCOG President Liu Qi said in one of his meetings at the Olympic session that Beijing had invested 140 billion yuan into improving the ecological environment. Consequently, 70 percent of this year’s days have met the goal of good or fair air quality.

During the Olympic Games, Beijing will take various measures to cope with extremely unfavorable weather and ensure good air quality.

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