2008 Summer Olympic Games

Season 1 Episode 1

Opening Ceremony

Aired Daily 8:00 PM Aug 08, 2008 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • The Chinese team

      NBA basketball player Yao Ming was the flag bearer for the host nation China. He was accompanied in the procession by Lin Hao, a 9-year-old boy who survived the earthquake in Sichuan, China, in May 2008. Over 70,000 people died in the quake. Twenty of the boy's classmates died in the disaster. The boy escaped but went back to the rubble to help bring out two of his classmates. He explained that he was a class leader and a hall monitor so it was his duty to help.

      The Chinese team is favored to win the total medal count at the Games.

    • The Opening Ceremony was held in Beijing National Stadium.

  • Quotes

  • Notes

    • Although this is noted as the first official day of the 2008 Summer Olympics, the Soccer Tournament began on Wednesday for the women and Thursday for the Men.

    • The Opening Ceremony had been planned and rehearsed over a five-year period. The Chinese government spent an estimated $300 million to stage the performance.

    • The U.S. Olympic team chose as its flagbearer Lopez Lomong, a former refugee from Sudan who lived in a refugee camp in Kenya for a decade. He became a U.S. citizen in 2007 and made the Olympic team as a member of the 1,500-meter squad in July 2008.

      The selection of Lomong is widely seen as a message of protest over the Chinese government's backing of the government of Sudan. Government-supported militia groups have attacked bands of rebels and civilians in the Darfur region of western Sudan, leading to an estimated 200,000 deaths in recent years.

    • Top-ranked professional tennis player Roger Federer was the flag bearer for his country of Switzerland. He was also celebrating his 27th birthday during the Opening Ceremony.

    • NBC chose to air the Opening Ceremony on a tape-delayed basis in the United States even though the ceremony was aired live in many other countries around the world. The ceremony began at 8 pm China Standard Time or Beijing Time. (There is only one official time zone in China even though the country stretches for approximately 3,000 miles from east to west, roughly the same width as the continental United States.)

      The ceremony did not air in the U.S. until 12 hours later, at 8 pm ET.

    • Over 11,000 Olympic athletes attended the Parade of Nations as part of the Opening Ceremony.

    • The Chinese government revoked a travel visa for U.S. Olympic speedskater Joey Cheek just days before the Beijing Games were set to begin. The probable reason is Cheek's activism in raising awareness of the humanitarian catastrophe in Darfur. The Chinese government is known to have influence with the Sudanese government. Cheek said that he did not plan to directly protest against the Chinese government during these Olympic Games.

    • The Beijing National Stadium is often referred to as the "Bird's Nest" because of the shape of the building and the open, interlacing steel-beam design of the exterior.

    • The opening ceremony is being held at 8 pm (local time) on 08/08/2008. This is significant because the number "8" is seen as lucky in China.

  • Allusions

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