Over the past month, I have been watching countless Youtube clips of previous Opening Ceremonies. From Berlin's Olympic salute to Athens' little boy on a boat, I have watched it all. Because of that, I can confidently say that the Beijing team put on the best ceremony ever, and no one else was even close.
Starting with 2008 drummers banging on 2008 lit-up drums and ending with a man walking on air to light the cauldron, the spectacle was creative and beautiful. Two Chinese inventions, paper and fireworks, were worked into into every part of the ceremony. Even the Parade of Nations, usually a fairly boring tradition, had a special touch added. A large canvas with paint pads in front of it in the middle of the infield ensured that every athlete left their footprint at the games.
Despite the pyrotechnical, technological and engineering wonders displayed during the ceremony, the true stars were the Chinese people. Their pride was palpable. Each performer seemed to put their all into the ceremony. After the ceremony, Yao Ming said that he was proud to be a part of it on behalf of his country. In this case, Yao spoke for all of his countrymen.