For four years, the world has waited in eager anticipation. Finally, the day has arrived. Friday, August 8, 2008, kicks off the 29th summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
There has been quite a bit of controversy around these games thus far, but in spite of some interesting press, the show will go on. People of all countries, nationalities, races and backgrounds will huddle around their television sets to watch the astounding grace, strength, athleticism and talent that Olympic participants possess. And then, of course, there's the carpet.
Oh yes, even at the Olympic games, we're thrilled to see the carpet!
At the opening ceremonies, you'll apparently get a glimpse of a very dramatic carpet. According to television footage taken of a dress rehearsal, at one point, a huge, carpet-like scroll unrolls; it's apparently a massive piece of artwork. The Times in London describes it as a "giant traditional scroll painting of misty mountains on which gymnasts cavorted." What does this mean exactly? We don't really know, but we're excited to find out! Apparently, Korean television news station SBS recorded the rehearsal and caused quite a stir by broadcasting the resulting footage. The opening ceremony's secrets are kept under lock and key, complete with rumors of confidentiality agreements for participants, three rings of security, and jail time for those who don't comply.
What we do know for sure, however, that Chinese filmaker Zhang Yimou (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) took three years to develop a lavish 50-minute show based on the history of China. The show will take place within the 3.5 hour opening ceremonies and will include a cast of 10,000. Be prepared to be amazed!
A very literal red carpet has decorated the path of the Olympic torch bearers. The torch relay began on July 2 and will end on August 6 after having passed through numerous Chinese cities and communities.
Below, Yang Liwei, China's first astronaut, runs with the torch as the first torchbearer at the Meridian Gate of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, Aug. 6, 2008. The Olympic torch relay began its final leg in Beijing from the landmark Forbidden City Wednesday morning.
(Photo credit: Luo Xiaoguang/Xinhua)
And, interestingly, there is another type of carpet at the Olympics this year: the figurative red carpet.
According to a McClatchy wire story by Linda Robertson: "China has rolled out the red carpet for the Olympics, but behind the polite smiles, the government is using the Games as a showcase for legitimacy, respect and power."
An interesting take on the carpet concept. The article is a fascinating one, so if you're interested in learning more about China, then and now, I'd recommend it.
So there you have it. Carpet in all nooks and crannies of the 2008 Olympic Games. Don't forget to tune in!