Many olympic writers are saying that this could very well be the most anticipated Olympics in the last 100 years. It's host country has gone absolutely all-out in preparations. It has one of the most unique designs for its central stadium, compared to only 3 or 4 other Olympic cities in the world in terms of best architecture and significance. Any person even remotely involved signed confidientiality agreements to keep it locked in sercrecy. For the opening ceremonies, this stadium + 32 other sites in the city absolutely lit up with fireworks. From where we were sitting, we could see two of the fireworks sites in the city.
The ceremony definitely displayed some typical characteristics of China performance: A) Enormous numbers of people (around 15,000 this time) and B) All of them acting in perfect unison to create a larger image or picture. From the teams with fans to the drumming in the beginning to the people creating Chinese characters, it was all perfect harmonization that made you say: How did they do that?!
Well, it took the 3 months of practice and all the performers were Chinese students. Some received a stipend of a couple dollars a day while others were purely volunteer. They received housing and transportation but mainly worked for their free ticket to China's most exciting ceremony. I'm sure if they didn't, there would be thousands more willing to take their place.
The U.S. team came out with fanfare second only to the China team. They were dressed in sailor-like uniforms and had upwards of 600 in the delegation.
It was a very impressive opening ceremony promoting the idea of peace and cooperation. Now come the events!