Ceremony: Olympic stadium to be
flooded for opening
THE OLYMPIC stadium in Athens will be flooded with millions
of gallons of water for the Games' spectacular opening
A lake will fill the arena of the 55,000-seat stadium for
a three-hour ceremony featuring state-of-the-art pyrotechnics,
puppeteers and hundreds of dancers.
Other highlights will include a huge "comet" striking the
lake to form the five Olympic rings in flames, a 50ft Greek
sculpture emerging from the lake then exploding and a parade
of floats carrying hundreds of Greek mythological figures.
Details of the ceremony, including who will light the Olympic
flame, have been kept under wraps for months.
ceremony starts at 8.45pm on Friday August 13 as 400 drummers
make the sound of a human heart-beat across the stadium and
a giant video screen counts down from 40 seconds.
As it hits zero there will be an explosion of white light
and a flame will race across the stadium's 80-metre high roof.
The "comet" will hit the lake and a giant "paper" boat carrying
a small child will glide across the lake to a stage in the
There, the child will be greeted by Greek president Constantine
Stephanopoulos while the Greek flag is raised and the country's
national anthem is played. Then, in one of the more bizarre
parts of the show, a centaur - half-man, half horse - throws
a javelin into the centre of the lake.
From the spot where it lands a 50ft high head similar to ancient
sculptures found near Greek temples rises - then shatters
to reveal two strange figures.
The centrepiece of the show will feature more than 400 ancient
mythological figures, dancers and puppeteers in boats.
The final figure, a pregnant woman, will step into the water
to spark off a cascade of tiny lights throughout the stadium
followed by a giant projection of a strand of DNA. Athletes
from 202 countries will then file eight abreast into the stadium
via a spiral stairway and gather at the foot of a "mountain"
rising from the centre of the lake from which an olive tree
procession of teams, in Greek alphabetical order, will take
90 minutes and will end with a map of the world being unfolded
over the heads of the assembled athletes.
Figures representing the 36 countries through which the Olympic
flame has passed will fly through the air carrying illuminated
batons. Then the last of seven torch bearers will light the
Olympic cauldron with the torch.
After speeches, the games will finally be declared open. An
Olympic insider said: "The ceremony has been planned for nearly
four years and should be awesome."
But critics complain there will be a shortage of celebrities
at the ceremony. One will be actress Irene Papas, who starred
in Zorba the Greek and Captain Correlli's Mandolin.
40 construction workers have been killed, at least two Romanians
among them (Dumnezeu Sa-i Odihneasca!/ "God Rest them
in Peace!") while working on the dozens of Olympic sites
throughout Greece. Just one worker died in the run-up
to the Sydney games in 2000.
Romanian Gymnastics News Archive.