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The general concensus appears to be that it was a truely spectacular opening ceremony (and no need to any fears of upset).

Bob watched the whole ceremony with friends, and here are out selection of the top 10 moments:

China's Human Print Press - People Power

China's Human Print Press - People Power

10 – The sea of printing blocks – representing the creation of printing in China – that moved in smooth waves as if computerised, but in fact powered by hundreds of men. A particularly nice touch at the end of the sequence when the men burst out and waved to the elated crowds.

9 – The moment when a group representing China’s different ethnic minorities entered the stadium with the national flag. Or to be more accurate, the moment that they handed over the flag to PLA soldiers – there has to be a metaphore in that!?

Symetry and Harmony - Olympic Drummers Recite Confucius

Symetry and Harmony - Olympic Drummers Recite Confucius

8 – The perfect execution of the mass drumming and recital of Confucius’s words. The synchronicity was astounding; if this is anything to go by expect China to take a clean sweep on synchronised swimming golds.

7 – When, during the procession of athletes, the camera panned to three top tennis players and summarised perfectly their contrasting personalities. Rafael Nada, looking sweaty and pumped; Roger Feder, immaculate; and Andy Murray, scruffy.

6 – Firewords with smiling faces. The country that invented fireworks combines it’s pyrotechnic heritage with the modern popularity of cute emoticons. (Apologies, can’t find a photo of this.)

5 – Team Japan waving both Japanese and Chinese flags. A small act but a big statement. This could potentially have been unpopular back home, but is a bold step in international relations. Who says the Olympics aren’t about politics!?

Olympic Rings - The Light Appeared to Peal From the Floor

Olympic Rings - The Light Appeared to Peal From the Floor

4 – Early on in the ceremony the Olympic rings appeared to be projected onto the stadium floor by spot lights. It was breath-taking then when the five rings rose up from the ground to hover vertically in midair. Goose-pimples!

3 – The moment when Team China entered the stadium and the cowboy boot-wearing cheerleaders stepped up the tempo again, after having been dancing and cheering for over two hours by this stage. Olympic stamina!

2 – Li Ning executes the trademark Zhang Yimou slow-running-in-the-sky torch lighting. The image was straight out of films like Hero and Li Ning executed it perfectly.

1 – The electronic drum countdown. The coordination of the drummers was spectacular enough, and then they took it to another level with the countdown of scrolling numbers from 10 to 0 in both numerical values and Chinese. The biggest the many breath-taking moments of the night.

Beijing Olympic Drummers Count Down Perfectly

Beijing Olympic Drummers Count Down Perfectly

The organisers for London 2012 will have a tough act to follow…

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On his blog BBC Beijing correspondent James Reynolds has carried out an impromptue and “unscientific” poll to find the “top 10 Chinese people you should know about“.

Made up from contributions from readers the list includes three Olympians (past & present). Liu Xiang and Yao Ming, readers should all be familiar with, but another name may be less recognisable outside of China; Li Ning.

Li Ning won three gold medals in the 1984 Olympic Games as a gymnast. Impressive in itself, but his inclusion in this hit list is due to his entrepreneurial success with his own sports brand. Visitors to China – particularly anyone who has taught in China – should be familiar with the Li Ning ‘squiggle’ logo (in the background of the image below).

Li Ning Olympic Athlete and Businessman

The rest of the top 10 were, Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao, Yuan Longping, Yang Liwei, Zhang Ziyi, Li Jiacheng and Zhang Yimou.

Investigate the full list for yourself; obvious ommissions may include Ang Li, Jackie Chan and Jay Chou. Two years ago Jay Chou was certainly the biggest celeb going and a huge part of Chinese popular culture, and Bob’s students certainly regarded him as Chinese. In fact there does seem to be a bit of favouritism to mainland stars here… hoping to avoid debate over who is and is not Chinese perhaps?

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