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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

Features

The opening game
Hindustan Times
July 14, 2012
First Published: 00:16 IST(14/7/2012)
Last Updated: 01:25 IST(14/7/2012)
Muhammad Ali lights the 1996 Atlanta Olympic torch. Agencies
An edition of the Olympic Games is defined by the hype and hoopla of its opening ceremony. HT takes a look back at the ceremonies that set trends for future editions.

 

1896, Athens
The first modern Olympics featured a no-nonsense opening ceremony with participating nations’ contingents marching into the stadium and taking the Olympic oath.

1936, Berlin
Athletes who competed in the XIth edition of the Olympic Games felt Berlin was like another world. The meticulously stage-managed and Nazi-themed opening ceremony may have had something to do with that.

1948, London
The opening ceremony went back to its roots in the first edition following the end of World War II. Organisers probably didn’t care about frills and extravagance so long as they got to enjoy sports instead of dodging bullets.

1980, Moscow
Shades of 1936 were seen in the Capital of the Soviet Union as the hosts took full advantage of the United States' boycott to push the communist agenda.

1992, Barcelona
It marked the start of the trend of extremely choreographed and dramatic opening ceremonies. The archer firing a fiery arrow to light the Olympic torch remains one of the most enduring images in Olympic history.

1996, Atlanta
Seeing Muhammad Ali, body ravaged by Parkinson’s disease, light the torch left a lump in many a throat. Even the Greeks, upset at not hosting the centennial games, were moved.

2008, Beijing
China pulled out all stops in a tech-heavy opening ceremony that cemented the trend of a themed event produced by high-priced film-makers and choreographers. The theme of paper was used to illustrate China’s history, raising the bar extremely high.


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