Ahead of Rio 2016’s curtain raiser, ranking the best ever opening ceremonies

  • Govindan Kishwar, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 05, 2016 12:35 IST
The Rio 2016 Opening ceremony is set to take place on August 5. (Getty Images)

2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony is still talked about as the best so far. London Games ceremony had Brit humour written all over. As we eagerly wait for Rio’s opening here’s a look at the best opening ceremonies at the Olympics so far

1. Barcelona, 1992

25 Jul 1992: Fireworks explode over the Montjuic Stadium Barcelona at the opening ceremony of the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. (Getty Images)

For the first Olympics in Spain, the organizers had a trick up their sleeve when it came to the lighting of the Olympic flame. Paralympian Antonio Rebollo was picked two hours before the ceremony as the one with the honour of lighting the cauldron. He lit an arrow from the final torch bearer, and shot it across the stadium into the cauldron.

2. Tokyo, 1964

Olympic flame torchbearer Yoshinori Sakai mounts the steps to light the cauldron at the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympic Games at the National Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, 10th October 1964. (Getty Images)

The Ceremony is remembered for the emotional impact it made, more than the presentation. The final torch bearer was Yoshinori Sakai, who was born on August 6 1945 in Hiroshima, the same day the USA dropped an atomic bomb on the city. The moment was seen as a sign of Japanese strength and resilience.

3. Sydney 2000

15 Sep 2000: Performers gather to create a map of Australia during the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. (Getty Images)

The ceremony showcased the importance of Australian stockmen, and their pastoral heritage. It also included various depictions of Australia and its peoples, its flaura and fauna, as well as the marine life.

4. London 2012

The Olympic Stadium is illuminated during the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games on July 28, 2012 in London, England. (Getty Images)

The “Isles of Wonder”, as it was called, was watched by nearly 900 million people worldwide and was a tongue-in-cheek depiction of what it means to be British. The ceremony included a short film featuring actor Daniel Craig as James bond and Queen Elizabeth II, as well, herself.

5. Beijing 2008

Fireworks explode over the National Stadium during the Opening Ceremony for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games . (Getty Images)

Despite all the controversies that surrounded the build-up to the event, the opening ceremony at the 2008 Beijing Olympics is considered the best ever. Many even call it the greatest show on earth. Since the number eight is associated with prosperity and confidence, the ceremony began at 8.pm, on August 8, 2008.

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