I don't ever recall enjoying the opening ceremonies as much as I did with Beijing's. In fact, the last time I remember any portion of the ceremony was the archer lighting up the cauldron during the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

If you are like me, you probably watched bits and pieces of the Opening Ceremony a few times since it first aired on Friday. I was at a NY Dragon Boat Team dinner during the ceremony; fortunately the restaurant had plasmas all over the place set to NBC. Over the weekend I continued to watch bits and pieces of it at home and at Peter's place and even then I don't think I caught every single act.

Zhang Yimou really outdid himself with the pageantry portion. I loved the beginning where the percussionists hit their Fou drums to simulate a digital countdown all the way to the digital footsteps. Kind of ironic don't you think that with all the focus on pollution, Zhang Yimou setting off all the fireworks negates all the policies Beijing adopted to curb pollution. The large LED scroll was also breathtaking, though the sansui painting was less than stellar. My favorite act were the moving blocks, how they formed the air, ripples in the water, Great Wall, etc. Of note is the one guy who messes up at 29:35 when they first form the character for 'harmony'. Hope they don't feed him to the fishes. Water paddles depicting China's naval history (at times looking like the Sprint logo, did they sponsor?) were also awe inspiring. I wish there was just something conclusive about Zheng He's journey to the Americas.

Earlier in the month, the NY Times posted up an interactive graphic detailing the Olympic torch through the ages. Looking at them all together, the 2000 Sydney Olympics torch captures my attention the most, maybe because the design was inspired by architecture, the Sydney Opera House. Surprisingly my least favorite is one designed by Philippe Stark, a designer whose products I tend to look favorably upon.

The torch design for Beijing is credited to Lenovo which is explained in this blog post by Lenovo’s Executive Director of the Lenovo Innovation Design Center in Beijing, Yao Ying Jia. The post really only touches on the cloud theme, not much is said about the physical torch which was inspired by Chinese scrolls. The silver and red color theme is okay, I'm a big fan of the ThinkPad black and red but I understand how that wouldn't work on an Olympic torch (though it would allow you to see the flame more easily). The Olympic edition ThinkPads released by Lenovo are kind of lame though, it incorporates the rings and that's it. Would have been nice to see them etch the cloud pattern onto the body of the laptop. Maybe I'll make use of Columbia's laser cutter and etch it onto my T42.

Additional Photos:
Boston.com: The Big Picture