If you didn't, I don't blame you. It was incredibly irritating to have a "live" airing of the Opening Ceremony instead of a live airing of the Opening Ceremony. While the ceremony actually started at 7pm EDT, NBC decided to not start it till 8pm and then load it with commercials, which resulted in the lighting of the Olympic cauldron not happening until 12:15am!
In an era when athletes, journalists, and fans are live tweeting and posting from the actual event itself, it's ridiculous that NBC's coverage is tape delayed and over-inflated. It is a method from a previous era, and they need to get with the times. Do you want people to get excited about the Olympics? Give children a chance to watch it, and they'll grow to love it. Don't make it inaccessible to them by boring them with commercials and taped segments. There has to be a better way.
With the rant done, let's finish this with the highlights!
- Honestly, my favorite part (besides the cauldron, that joy will come later) was Kenya's Kipchoge Keino running (running!) down the center of the floor to receive his Olympic Laurel. Oh, did I mention he ran in a suit? The kids with the kite doves just made it even sweeter.
- The rain forest segment was lovely, and they should have put the global warming segment after that. It seemed a bit out of place after the neon and glitz, even though it was supposed to segue into the Parade of Nations with their plants and stuff.
- I enjoyed that the country names were biked in. Definitely an improvement over previous years, where models just walk them in. I liked that each flagbearer had a child partnered with him or her, as well.
- Thomas Bach nailed his speech. I don't usually pay attention to the IOC Chairman's speech (sorry Jacques Rogge), but Bach hit on so many good points. He praised the Refugee Olympic Team, spread a message about embracing diversity, and pointed out that we need to unite in peace amidst a "world of crisis, mistrust, and uncertainty." He also said, "In this Olympic world, we see that the values of our shared humanity are stronger than the forces which want to divide us." Way to use the stage, Bach. I salute you.
- I was disappointed that the historical segment of Brazil's ceremony was so short. Or maybe it wasn't? Beijing's lengthy opening really spoiled me, I guess.
- If you look at both Great Britain and Brazil, it is amazing how diverse those two countries are. Immigrants from all over the world have made those two countries their home, and it's wonderful to see that represented in their respective Olympics.
- After all of that hullabaloo about Beijing's HD screen back in 2008, each respective Olympic Opening Ceremony (Winter too) have included floor screens. This one was the biggest I've seen yet!
- There was a lot of talk about the Tongan's flagbearing outfit. I'm pretty sure he always has dressed like that.
- All the Parade of Nations uniforms were tight, but the African countries will always win - I adore what they wear.
- That Bolivian athlete that cried when he entered the stadium was awesome. I would have done the same thing, buddy.
- Not too sure about the sandwich board volunteers with the giant arrows. Couldn't they have been in something a little more comfortable? And practical?
- I thought that the stadium floor would be a lot more filled during the final segments, but they seemed very empty. Were the athletes allowed to leave? I think many of them did, and that's just a shame.
Once again, the cauldron lighting brought tears to my eyes and down my face. It wasn't just when Vanderlei de Lima lit it; it was when the cauldron was brought up with that gorgeous pulsing music and stopped in front of that amazing rotating chandelier of sorts. I appreciate the uniqueness of every cauldron, and we've stopped doing the bigger-is-better route.
The reason this isn't a live blog like previous years is that I hosted an Olympics party with my coworkers! We watched previous Olympic opening ceremonies before Rio's began and ate tons of food. I had Olympic BINGO, and they got into that. While some families with small children left before the Parade of Nations, two families stuck around all the way until the USA went through.
So with the festivities wrapped up, we now get to enjoy seventeen days of SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS! See you tomorrow!