A brief look at memorable moments from recent Olympic opening ceremonies
VANCOUVER (CP) — The festivities at Vancouver’s cavernous B.C. Place stadium Friday marked the first time the opening ceremonies for an Olympic Games have been held in an indoor venue.
As the Olympics have evolved, opening ceremonies have become increasingly elaborate. A look at some memorable moments from select ceremonies from the recent past:
1984 Summer Games, Los Angeles — These opening ceremonies receive a splash of fiery Hollywood panache as pilot Bill Suitor thunders into the stadium riding a Bell Aerosystems jetpack. The then-cutting edge technology enthrals those in attendance, with U.S. commentators calling him the “Rocket Man.”
1992 Summer Games, Barcelona — The opening ceremonies close with one of the most spectacular cauldron-lightings in Olympic history, as Paralympic archer Antonio Rebollo lights the flame by shooting a burning arrow high into the air. It’s soon revealed that Rebollo was ordered to actually overshoot the cauldron rather than risk hitting a spectator below.
1996 Summer Games, Atlanta — Muhammad Ali materializes out of the dark in front of a frenzied crowd in Atlanta to light the torch. The image of the boxing icon and one-time gold medallist, dressed in white from head to toe and waving to the crowd while clutching the torch with his right hand, becomes the most enduring of these Games.
2000 Summer Games, Sydney — Cathy Freeman, soon to become the second-ever Australian Aboriginal Olympic gold medallist, roars into Olympic Stadium to light the cauldron. She carries the torch up a steep flight of stairs and into a circular pool of water, where she ignites the caul- dron and watches it rise around her and above her head.
2002 Winter Games, Salt Lake City — In the first Olympic Games following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, New York police officer Daniel Rodriguez sings America the Beautiful to a grateful crowd.
2004 Summer Games, Athens — With 72,000 fans in attendance, the 2004 Summer Games get off to a dazzling start as the Olympic rings are slowly set ablaze in the centre of a massive fibreglass pool constructed in the centre of the stadium.
2006 Winter Games, Torino — A gleaming red Ferrari Formula One car provides the signature moment of these Games, gliding down in front of the crowd before pulling off a dizzying array of donuts and burnouts, clouding the stadium with a plume of exhaust. Athletes standing nearby later admit they were fearful as the fiery red car spun around wildly.
2008 Summer Games, Beijing — Organizers pull off an aweinspiring ceremony, replete with the rhythmic roar of 2,008 people drumming in unison and Chinese gymnast Li Ning running around the rim of the stadium with the torch while suspended with wires.