Today, the eighth day of the eighth month of the eighth year of the millennium, the 2008 Olympics kick off in Beijing. Or rather, they've already kicked off: The opening ceremonies began at 8:08 p.m. locally — which is 8:08 a.m. on the East Coast.
Still, in just a few hours, we'll get to see the ceremonies for ourselves, as NBC will carry a tape-delayed version of the ceremonies starting at 7:30 p.m. EDT and PDT. Details of the spectacle have been closely guarded — even more so after a South Korean news station briefly leaked footage online — but here are a few of the things that are known about the ceremony:
- It will take place in China's new national stadium, otherwise known as the Bird's Nest, that gorgeous building pictured above.
- British singer Sarah Brightman will sing a duet with China's Liu Huan. The song is reported to be some sort of Olympic theme commissioned for the occasion.
- There will be a fireworks display that's expected to include upwards of 30,000 firework shells.
- The 90-minute show, which will take place before the athletes march in, will feature 14,000 performers and depict 5,000 years of Chinese history.
- The 5,000 athletes are expected to take about 90 minutes to march in — and after this week's Project Runway, I can't wait to see their national costumes!
- The method of how the torch will be lit is still a secret, but this report has several of the rumors, including that the flame will somehow float in the air above the stadium.
Are you excited, brimming with national pride, and ready to root for various athletic feats for the next two weeks? Or are the Olympics just one big snooze to you?