Friday, August 8, 2008

8AM: Opening Ceremony Updates *SPOILER ALERT*

Remember you can watch the Opening Ceremonies tonight on NBC at 7:30PM. Below are continuous updates and details LIVE from the Opening Ceremonies in Beijing. Ignore this post if you don't want the show to be ruined for you.

12:16PM - This concludes our LIVE BLOGGING of the Opening ceremonies at the Games of the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing, China. Special thanks to those who provided the live German telvision feed of the Opening Ceremony, this live blog would not have been possible without that feed. Remember to go to our main page at NOW Sports Daily: for a full recap of the Opening ceremony and a preview of Day 1 of competition.

And our live blog will be back later tonight at 10:30PM EDT for LIVE BLOG coverage of women's 10m air rifle, the first medal to be awarded at these games. And remember that those of you in the United States can catch the Opening Ceremony tonight starting at 7:30PM Eastern / 6:30 PM Central.

Thanks so much for joining us for these Opening Ceremonies, we hope to see you back soon as NOW Sports continues its coverage of the Games of the XXIX Olympiad.

12:13PM - As Jackie Chang and other Chinese singers perform, the Opening Ceremony has concluded and what a spectacular ceremony it was. It was just visually appealling and how it unfolded was just delightful. Seeing how China presented its rich cultural history and how they were able to provide a fluid ceremony made it that much better. But everything in that opening ceremony is nothing compared to how the flame was lit by Li Ning. This ceremony is definitely worth watching again later tonight on NBC.

12:04PM - Li Ning has done something absolutely historic in a breathtaking lighting of the Olympic Cauldron that no one has ever seen before in Olympic games. Li Ning has lit the Olympic cauldron in a way no one has imagined by walking along the sides of the top of the stadium and lit the flame. Fireworks are now exploding over not just stadium but the entire city. It's a spectacular display as the flame shines brightly over the entire stadium amid the enormous amount of fireworks that have exploded. Everyone is standing proudly as China's moment has finally arrived.

12:01PM - As 8/8/08 passses into 8/9/08, the way that this Olympic cauldron is lit is nothing short of ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! Li Ning, a well decorated Chinese gymnast that won multiple medals 1984 in Los Angeles and now he is putting his acrobatic skills to such great use. He is currently walking or rather flying along the sides of the top of the stadium as he unravels a scroll that depicts the flame's journey from Ancient Olympia.

11:55AM - The flame, which has traveled thousands of miles all over the world and all throughout China and had originated from Ancient Olympia in Greece, where the games were born, is now being passed throughout the stadium in the final stage of the relay.

11:54AM - And now the Olympic flame has arrived in the stadium!

11:53AM - The Olympic anthem has been sung and the athletes' and officials' oaths have been taken. Now the official theme song for these games is being performed to serve as an inspiration for the athletes that will be competing over the next 17 days.

11:40AM - The Olympic flag is being carried in by four male and four female Chinese athletes.

11:37AM - Chinese president Hu Jingtao has just opened the Games of the XXIX Olympiad as fireworks explode over the stadium. "I declare open the games of Beijing, celebrating the XXIX Olympiad of the modern era."

11:35AM - By the way, those quotes aren't exact obviously. The feed that I am receiving is being translated in German so it was hard to hear Rogge under the translations.

11:33AM - Rogge: "Athletes...these games belong to you. Have fun! Remember however that you are much more than performance alone...Please compete in the spirit of the Olympic value. Dear athletes, remember that you are role models to the youth of the world."

11:31AM - IOC President Jacques Rogge: "for a long time, China has been dreaming of opening its doors and has been inviting the world's athletes to compete in the Olympic Games. Tonight, that dream comes true. You have chosen your motto to be "One World, One Dream." That is what we are tonight."

11:25AM - So now we proceed with the formalities of this ceremony, including remarks by both the president of the IOC and the president of BOCOG (Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games). They are currently walking up to the stage and set to speak to the world.

11:10AM - The time has finally arrived for host nation China to arrive into National Stadium. Seven years in the making the time for China to be cheered on by the home crowd. As the host nation, they are entered in every competition. Yao Ming is the flag bearer and has done such a great job in propelling sports into the lives of the Chinese people throughout the past four years in the run-up to these games. China has a very good chance of taking the top of the medal board, possibly will top the United States in the medal count.

They have great chances of winning gold in many events, especially men's gymnastics and diving. But this stadium will most likely have this kind of atmosphere in two weeks when Liu Xiang competes for gold in the 110 meter hurdles. The entire nation is counting on him to defend his gold medal title here at the National Stadium and that is a tremendous amount of pressure on the young hurdler.

But meanwhile, the Chinese are enjoying their moment as 639 athletes are cheered on by the crowd in a tremendous showing of Chinese pride.

11:07AM - Australia has arrived and they are probably amazed at what they are seeing as they arrive into the stadium, especially after hosting the spectacular Sydney games eight years ago. They are a competitor in cycling, swimming and rowing. China coming up next.

11:01AM - We have about 10 or 11 nations left in the Parade of Nations. Coming up as the last few nations to arrive into the stadium are Germany, Australia and host nation China.

10:50AM - We now see South Korea coming in. This is the first time since the Atlanta games in 1996 that the two Koreas are not marching in together.

10:37AM - The parade of nations continues as Netherlands walks in. They are contenders in badminton, field hockey and cycling. Peter van den Hoogenband is looking for another medal in freestyle swimming.

10:30AM - The United States is now marching into National Stadium, a huge applause from the crowd. Lopez Lomong is the flag bearer and he holds a lot of significance to this team and to the U.S. He was one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, a refugee fleeing from war and was adopted by an American family. He is part of the track and field team competing in the 1500 meters. The United States has been at the top of the medal count and boasts one of the largest delegations competing here at these games. The U.S. is competing in almost all sports, including soccer, field hockey and water polo along the usual marquee sports where they are favorites in women's gymnastics, swimming and track and field.

10:27AM - Russia, then Syria and the United States have arrived in Olympic stadium. A huge roar from the crowd as Russia enters, they are expected to be near the top of the medal count competing with the United States and China. Andrei Kirilenko, a basketball player, carries the flag for Russia.

10:20AM - France, Poland and Puerto Rico are currently marching in as the Parade of Nations continues. Still a lot more countries to go, including the United States, Russia and host nation China.

10:15AM - Great Britain, hosting the Olympics in four years in London, has arrived into the stadium. The Brits have several medal contenders in cycling, rowing and badminton

10:10AM - Athletes continue to arrive into the stadium. The most recent delgation is that from Argentina which hokds the defenidng Olympic gold medalists in basketball and soccer. Manu Ginobili is the flag bearer hoping to lead the Argentine team to another Olympic gold medal.

9:58AM - The Dominican Republic and Felix Sanchez has arrived in the National Stadium. Sanchez, a gold medal contender and favorite in the 400 meter hurdles, carries the flag for the Dominican Republic. Sanchez won gold in the 400 meter hurdles in Athens.

9:55AM - Iraq has entered the stadium. You know the story behind this Iraq team. The IOC banned the naton from competing at the games after the government interfered in their National Olympic Committee. But then, after talks between Iraqi officals, the IOC and outside parties like Germany and China, the IOC decided to allow Iraqi athletes compete. Their contingent includse several track and field runners and two rowers competing in double sculls.

9:51AM - Spain has entered the stadium. They are looing for medals in basketball as the reigning world champion. Spain is also pinning its hopes on Rafael Nadal to win olympic gold in tennis.

9:43AM - The parade of nations continues as we've seen Nigeria, Luxemberg, and Qatar among others. The Canadians are now entering the stadium behind Ghana. The Canadians are looking forward to grabbing several medals including Brent Hayden, Tyler Christopher and Alexander Despatie.

9:31AM - More nations have arrived into National Stadium, including Denmark, Uzbekistan, Ukraine and most recently Brazil, who has a large delegation and is looking to grab medals in football, volleyball and gymnastics through Diego Hypolito. Brazil recently hosted the 2007 Pan-American games and they are in the running to host the 2016 Olympic Games. They have already been awared then 2014 World Cup.

9:23AM - A huge roar from the crowd as Chinese Taipei, also known as Taiwan, arrives into the stadium, which includes a top-notch baseball team looking for a medal here at these games. Another huge roar now as Hong Kong, China arrives into National Stadium. Hong Kong will be equestrian events at these games.

9:20AM - Jamaica has entered the stadium, including Asafa Powell and Usain Bolt. Belgium, the home nation of IOC President Jacques Rogge has entered as well. We also see Israel arrive into National Stadium. A large delegation from Japan has now entered the stadium, which boasts several top male gymnasts and marathon runners.

9:13AM - After Greece, we have seen Guinea, Turkey and now Turkmenistan arrive into the stadium. We have also seen Malaysisa, Cayman Islands, Macedonia and Bhutan as well. There are over 200 nations and approx. 10,000 athletes competing and they are entering in the order of the Chinese alphabet.

9:10AM - After a brilliant presentation of Chinese history and culture we have now arrived at the PARADE OF NATIONS! Greece, as the nation where the games were born, will enter first.

9:02AM - The faces of children and babies from all over the world are being shown to the crowd as smiley face fireworks explode over the stadium and a performance is being sung by two Chinese singers.

9:00AM - The stadium has been turned into somewhat of a celestial galaxy as astronauts are walking around the stadium and a giant sphere has emerged from under the stadium floor. It is now depicted as Earth as we see people orbit around it. The Earth has now turned into a sphere of orange light as the stars are shining throughout the stadium crowd and on the scroll that is till on the stadium floor.

8:55AM - What we are looking at is the future of China being conveyed through school children. School kids have gathered in the center of the stadium floor and are now drawing a picture of the sky. Meanwhile, hundreds of martial arts performers are on the floor surrounding the scroll and they are performing some kung fu moves and are now lined up in a large circle. This is a brilliant display of Chinese martial arts.

8:47AM - It appears that we have entered the modern era of China as a girl and a man are seen playing the piano together while hundreds of dancers dressed in white suits help to illuminate the floor in lots of nice neon colors. Now pictures of modern China are seen illuminating the scroll as the dancers have arranged themselves in a dove, a symbol of peace throughout these games.

8:41AM - Scores of Chinese female dancers dressed in an elaborate array of bright colors have arrived on the stadium floor as colorful pictures lighten up the scrolls that have been placed on the floor. Fireworks explode over the stadium signaling the end of this portion of the ceremony. But we still have alot of Chinese history to go through as we near completing the first hour of this 3 1/2 hour ceremony.

8:28AM - The ceremony has been spectacular so far. We just saw a collection of blocks simulate what looks like a pool as they made waves and showed Chinese characters as if they were lifted off the floor. Now what we are seeing is another well coordinated dance with four or five performers on stage and hundreds more on the floor standing in the shape of a square. The performers on the stage are puppeteers and they are using these fancy Chinese dolls dressed in what looks like warrior clothing as their puppets.

8:19AM -There are Chinese dancers that are performing on a scroll that is unfolding and this is supposed to represent the writing of China's history as the spectators at the stadium watch it unfold. The performers have just drawn a picture of the sun and the sky and it has been lifted off the stadium floor.

8:10AM - The Chinese flag is being carried by a group of children dressed in very diverse outfits, representing the different cultures of the youth of China. Now the Chinese national anthem is being played and everyone has joined in to sing with pride. Fireworks have now erupted over the stadium in a sea of red and gold as it explodes over the Olympic venues.

8:07AM - After a nice round of fireworks, the Olympic rings have been illuminated on the stadium floor and now they are being raised off the floor. Definitely a sight to see. The rings are being illuminated by thousands of little lights that have been assembled together.

8:03AM - There are hundreds of drummers on the stadium floor and its a spectacular sight to see. A very coordinated movement that they are doing with red sticks and these cubic drums.

8:01AM - Brilliant countdown with the use of drums and lights on the stadium floor. You can really feel the magic and excitement as the Ceremony is officially underway. They have just introduced IOC president Jacque Rogge and Chinese President Hu Jingtao.

7:50AM - We are less than 10 minutes away from the Opening Ceremonies and it is guaranteed to be magical. NOW Sports has secured a live feed of the Opening Ceremony and we will be updating you on the latest going on from the Bird's Nest

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