And We’re Off!
I just returned from an opening ceremony watch party at “Club Bud,” a temporary venue sponsored by Budweiser. I was unable to get tickets to watch the sold out event live, and security lines for access to the Olympic Green were reportedly five hours long, so the Bud watch party seemed to be the best option. The opening ceremony was just as spectacular as I expected -- and I’m sure it must have been even more impressive to see in person (please comment if you were able to see the show at the Bird’s Nest). The first hour featured performances from Chinese singers, acrobats, drummers, and dancers, while the second half of the show included the athlete parade, official speeches, and torch lighting ceremony. President Bush was in attendance, as were key leaders from many of the countries participating in the Games.
I board my shuttle to the Road Cycling Course finish line in a little less than six hours, and need to get some sleep before my 16-hour day at the Great Wall, so I decided to watch the last hour of the opening ceremony on the way back to my hotel. Passengers were glued to the flat panel displays on Subway Line 10 as basketball star Yao Ming led the Chinese athletes around the National Stadium track -- the last team to march into the venue. Small crowds gathered around televisions in a subway station to watch the final minutes of the ceremony, standing near television speakers to hear a speech by Chinese President Hu Jintao.
The tape-delayed opening ceremony will be broadcast on NBC at 7:30 EDT tonight.