The Critical 'I'

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Monday, August 09, 2004

OPENING CEREMONY: SNEAK PREVIEW
jumping through hoops
How do you keep a secret among 35,000 people? You don't. And so we have an early peek at Athen's Opening Cermony show this Friday to kick off the Olympics.

Pagans rejoice! It sounds like it'll be a Homeric spectacle:
... the infield of the stadium was flooded at one point and that a giant statue of Athena -- the city's protector -- rose into the stadium through a hole in the middle of the field.

The set then turned into a mountain, topped by an olive tree, and volunteers danced around in ancient costumes, [the anonymous informer] said. Hundreds of musicians beat drums and a performer dressed as a centaur -- half man, half horse -- shot an arrow intended to look like a comet.

At another point in the show, mythological figures sailed on a boat -- perhaps symbolizing the ancient story of Jason and the Argonauts, in which the hero and his crew hunt for the legendary golden fleece.

The dress rehearsal also included a Trojan horse. In Homer's epic, The Iliad, the horse concealed Greek troops who sacked the city of Troy.
Nice little swipe at Troy! Good thing the city is no longer around to complain about it.

The centaur's arrow shot sounds an awful lot like the flaming arrow shot in Atlanta in 1996 to light the Olympic torch for those Games. I would love to see that neat little trick repeated; I thought it was very dramatic and memorable. I'm not sure if the speculation on Athen's torch display gives any indications:
The Olympic flame will burn atop a 100-foot tapered column resembling the torch used in the worldwide relay. The structure, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, is fitted with a hinged base -- suggesting it could be tipped over to be lit and then repositioned upright.
Man, I should have gone. Hopefully NBC will have excellent coverage.