To some viewing the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games on Friday (July 27) in London, the sights and sounds were overwhelming. To some there also was an overwhelming silence. You can credit — or, in the case of the latter, discredit — the International Olympic Committee.
It refused to offer a moment of silence for 11 Israeli athletes and coaches murdered at the 1972 Games in Munich by Palestinian terrorists. Then again, it was 40 years ago that IOC president Avery Brundage — in the aftermath of such horror — declared, “The Games must go on.” And they did. So why expect the IOC to recognize the event now?
Thankfully, NBC’s Bob Costas — as he had said he would do — made note of the Munich tragedy during the parade of nations Friday.
“There have been calls from a number of quarters for the IOC to acknowledge that, with a moment of silence at some point in tonight’s ceremony,” Costas said as the Israel team walked into the Olympic stadium. “The IOC denied that request, noting it had honored the victims on other occasions. And in fact, this week [IOC president] Jacques Rogge led a moment of silence before about 100 people in the Athletes’ Village. Still, for many, tonight — with the world watching — is the true time and place to remember those who were lost, and how they died.”
NBC paused for five seconds of silence before cutting to a commercial.
Before all that, Rogge told the crowd: “London has an unmatched record for hosting the Games that spans more than a century.
“We are all grateful to the thousands of dedicated volunteers who are being so generous with their time and their smiles.
“You will inspire a generation.
“To the athletes I offer this thought: ‘Your talent, dedication and committment brought you here and now you have a chance to be true Olympians. That will be determined not by whether you win but by how you compete’”
Queen Elizabeth’s speaking part: “I declare open the Games of London, celebrating the 30th Olympiad of the modern era.”
The problem with being a broadcaster presenting the ceremonies is knowing when to be quiet. It is a difficult lesson. Sometimes a viewer had the feeling Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira thought they were being paid by the word. They were at their best when they were not speaking. Maybe one of these years, NBC will employ graphics (some basic captions would suffice) — rather than voices — in setting the scene.
Among the highlights was Mr. Bean (also known as actor Rowan Atkinson) being part of the theatrics as a keyboard musician in a “Chariots of Fire” segment. Quite creative and amusing. Too bad Benny Hill no longer is around; it would have been interesting to see how that British comic could have been incorporated into the opening. Something says chasing attractive females in skimpy attire around probably would not have received IOC approval.
James Bond (also known as actor Daniel Craig) accompanied he queen to the Games — or something like that — as part of the opening festivities:
NBC’s Jimmy Fallon offers advice to the China swim team:
The following should be Sir Paul McCartney concluding the opening ceremonies by singing “Hey Jude,” one of his hits from his days with the Beatles (unless Olympic censors swoop down on YouTube and make viewing impossible):
For those of us who watched the opening ceremonies — or at least part of them — at a viewing party hosted by Chicago Sky forward/center Ruth Riley at Rockit Bar in downtown Chicago, the evening was enjoyable. Among Riley’s teammates joining her were Shay Murphy, Ticha Penecheiro, Sonja Petrovic, Carolyn Swords and Courtney Vandersloot. Sky general manager/coach Pokey Chatman also attended, as did other team officials. There may have been other players and/or notables, but some of us departed a little early for some beauty rest (which in the case of this
author person typing onto a computer keyboard obviously is needed and obviously not working).
It was fun seeing familiar faces and making new acquaintances/friends.
Well, in that we have a photo of Ursula Andress as part of today’s effort, the video-research team thought we ought to add something from her Bond Girl performance from “Dr. No.” Just had to say yes to that idea:
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