another celebration of the Games. It alsomarked the end of a unique journey. More than21,800 torchbearers had carried the flame over137,000 kilometres during 129 days.
6. THE SYMBOLIC RELEASE OFPIGEONS
As doves are the symbol of peace, it is nosurprise that the Opening Ceremony protocolcalls for a symbolic release of these birds. From1936 to 1988, the release of the pigeons used totake place before the arrival of the Olympicflame. However, following the unfortunatedemise of several pigeons sitting on the edge ofthe Olympic cauldron at the Opening Ceremonyof the Games in Seoul, this part of the protocolwas moved, but not eliminated. Today, thesymbolic release of the pigeons follows thelighting of the Olympic cauldron.
7. THE TAKING OF THE OLYMPICOATH BY A COMPETITOR
First pronounced by Belgian athlete Victor Boin(water polo, swimming, and fencing) at the 1920Games of the Olympiad in Antwerp, the Olympicoath of modern times was similar to that takenby the Olympic athletes of ancient times - but atthe modern Olympic Games, the athletes swearon the Olympic flag, not on the entrails of asacrificed animal. The modern Olympic oathwas originally written by Pierre de Coubertin,and has been modified over time to reflect thechanging nature of the sporting competition. Thecurrent version of the oath, which was sworn bythe Chinese table tennis player Zhang Yining inBeijing, stated:
“In the name of all competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams.”
See table C.
8. THE TAKING OF THE OLYMPICOATH BY AN OFFICIAL
Since 1972, a judge or official from the hostcountry also takes an oath. In Beijing in 2008,Liping Huang, a Chinese gymnastics official,pronounced the following oath: “
In the name of all the judges and officials, I promise that we shall officiate in these Olympic Games with complete impartiality, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, in the true spirit of sportsmanship
See table D.
9. THE ARTISTIC PROGRAMME
Once the national anthem of the host countryhas been played, the show begins. Usually, thecontent is kept secret until the last minute. Overthe years, Games organisers have managed tofind creative ways to combine Olympic protocolwith just the right amount of entertainment,cultural references, technological innovationsand festive atmosphere. The Sydney 2000presentation covered the history, nature andculture of the whole of Australia. In Turin in2006, the organisers offered spectators andtelevision viewers a ceremony in which theathletes were at the heart of things, with anunforgettable show illustrating the values ofbrotherhood and dialogue between peoples andcultures, to show that “passion lives here”. Forits part, the Opening Ceremony of the 2004Games in Athens, produced by DimitrisPapaioannou, offered a memorable mix ofOlympic protocol and Greek culture. The variousscenes depicted 3,000 years of this historicallegacy, highlighting the links between theAncient Games and this first Olympiad of the21
The Opening Ceremony of the Beijing OlympicGames was spectacular, unforgettable andstirring. It celebrated the imagination, originalityand dynamism of the Beijing Olympic Games.Under the leadership of Zhang Yimou, 22,000actors gave life to the motto “One World, OneDream”. They retraced the history of China in agrandiose show bringing to life Chineseinventions and culture.
Opening ceremony of the Games of the Olympiad / July 2009 Page 3/5