By the time a man had walked on air around the top of the Olympic stadium and lit the torch in Beijing four years ago, the message already had been received loud and clear in London:
You're in big trouble.
The host of the 2012 Summer Olympics was handed the most daunting assignment in Opening Ceremony history: following what was literally the greatest show on Earth.
It is hard to imagine anything London does later this month comparing even remotely to the spectacle Beijing delivered the world in August 2008, when it took the tradition of Olympic one-upsmanship to a previously unattained level.
[Photos: Opening Ceremonies through the years]
Olympic Opening Ceremonies once were primarily a showcase for the athletes themselves, marching in to the applause of a packed stadium. That's still a vital part of the show, but for a few decades the kickoff of the Games has become more of a look-what-we-can-do theatrical undertaking serving as the host country's opportunity to dazzleRead More »from Beijing's greatest show on Earth set the bar for Olympic Opening Ceremony standards