Fri, August 08, 2008
Sports > Popular News

Olympics opening ceremony to celebrate sport, Chinese culture

2008-08-08 12:00:18 GMT2008-08-08 20:00:18 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English

BEIJING, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese couple in an eastern Chinese county woke up early on Friday morning to witness probably the most exciting day for millions in the country.

The husband Lu Jie was invited to attend a young colleague's wedding. Sticking to the popular belief, the young man arranged his wedding day on the most auspicious day according to Chinese numerology: Aug. 8, 2008.

His wife stayed at home, watching snippets of the Olympics opening ceremony rehearsal, and she couldn't wait to see a complete show.

"Seven years of preparation will boil down to this single big show, and every one is waiting," said Lu, 50.

The Olympic opening ceremony, which is scheduled to start at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, is set to become another pinnacle of five thousand years of host China's journey from an ancient country to the biggest and fastest developing countries in the world.

From the host city Beijing to the remotest town in China, like Lu, millions are waiting for the moment of jubilee in the iconic Bird's Nest stadium.

"There is so much expectation weighing down, but inevitably it'll be a fluent and spectacular show of the Olympic spirit and the culture of the host country," said Wang Ning, an official with the opening ceremony planners.

Although further details are yet to be out in just hours, the ceremony will begin with a 40-minute show, featuring 15,000 performers depicting 5,000 years of Chinese history.

Highlights include the terra cotta warriors, martial arts performers, Peking Opera and dazzling fireworks shows. The climax will include Chinese singer Liu Huan singing a theme song with Sarah Brightman and the lighting of the Olympic cauldron.

"The opening ceremony will tell a Chinese story with a globally-understood language, but it will not be a simple exhibition nor history lesson," director Zhang Yimou said this week.

"The Athens Games opening ceremony was an aesthetic feat, and was a very cool show," he said, "but the Beijing show will be another kind of cool."

"We have to use four grams to move a thousand kilos," he said, referring to the shadow-boxing technique of using minimal efforts to achieve maximum effects.

The ceremony will be witnessed by over 80 heads of state and international dignitaries, along with 91,000 spectators and billions of audience around the world.

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