Forbes flies the flag

| 10/08/2008

With a 14,000 man cast, watched by an estimated four billion viewers around the world, the Beijing Olympic opening ceremony has been described in the international press as the best in the history of the Olympics. Cayman’s own small team was privileged to be there and Ronald Forbes (left) from North Side, who will be competing in 110-meter hurdles, proudly carried the Cayman flag into the Bird’s Nest stadium.

Shaune Fraser (Left ) who competed on Sunday 10 August in the 200 metre freestyle, where he recorded a time of 1:48.60 in his heat, was unable to join the parade but the rest of the team was able to enjoy the incredible experience.

The ceremony, which covered ancient Chinese history and avoided the legacy of former Communist dictator Mao Zedong, was directed by acclaimed Chinese movie director Zhang Yimou. The performance, which began with thunderous drumming and, according to Reuters News agency, a chanting troupe intoned the Confucian proverb "Friends have come from afar, how happy we are".

A collection of flying acrobats recalled the grottos of Dunhuang; blue-robed oarsman enacted seafarers travelling between Southeast Asia and the coast of Fujian; dancers clacking bamboo props represented some of the oldest Chinese records, whose delicate brushstrokes are preserved on bamboo strips over 2,000 years old, and undulating grey blocks symbolized the printing blocks of ancient China that invented moveable type, which morphed into the Great Wall.

Children wearing the outfits of China’s 56 different ethnic groups carried the flag into the stadium, illustrating China’s claim to unite its diverse population under one nation and one party. As the climax approached, three astronauts "flew" through the stadium, before Li Ning, a three time gymnastic gold medallist, circled high above the heads of spectators to light the cauldron in a show-stopping, daredevil high-wire act.


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