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:
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!?
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!?
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.
The organisers for London 2012 will have a tough act to follow…