Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Master of all Ceremonies

This might be the only time I ever quote Bob Costas, "as far as Olympic opening ceremonies go, you can retire the trophy." I've never watched the Olympics opening ceremony from beginning to end. I'm 30 so I've had only 6 real chances but that streak ended last night. That was one of the most mesmerizing, elaborate and masterfully executed events I've ever seen. And I used to be a big Air Show fan.

Big ups to Zhang Yimou (the internationally acclaimed Chinese director of the movie Hero and many other canonized Chinese films) that was brought in to "direct" the ceremony. His name may not immediately resonate to most non-Chinese viewers but having experienced Yimou's previous forays into live performances I knew to expect something remarkable. It was damn near magical.

When they finally cut to Yao standing just outside the tunnel, holding the Chinese flag, towering above everyone around him and everyone in the stadium, I have to admit, I got choked up. I'm of Chinese descent but I'm no Chinese patriot, I actually identify as Taiwanese American, but the power and dignity of the image shook right through me. And the story of the young boy walking beside Yao who survived the Sichuan earthquake by digging himself out of rubble and then going back to rescue two more of his fellow students; it was almost too much to take. Even Yao admitted to nearly crying in the midst of it all.

Originally posted at Yao Central on August 8 11:09 PM.

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