I’ll admit that I never really got into the 2004 Athens Olympics. If I watch the games at all, they’re usually the winter variety, but this summer something is different. The Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics have sparked the interest of people across the globe and grabbed hold of me like never before. There are a number of great things being done by the host country, the IOC and NBC’s coverage that have set these games apart from any I can remember. Here’s a list of just some of the things I’ve throughly enjoyed this time around. Bravo Beijing!
The Opening Ceremonies
Right from the start I knew the opening ceremony of the 2008 summer games was going to be something special. I distinctly remember how disappointed I was with the start of the 2004 Athens games and so I almost didn’t tune in this time. Boy, am I glad I did. The artistry, depth and intricacy of the spectacle set the bar far above anything I’ve ever seen. From the huge animated scroll, to the wonderful 2,008 Tai Chi demonstrators all moving in unison, Beijing did the Olympic tradition proud and put on a visual feast that won’t soon be forgotten.
Incredible HD Coverage
The Beijing games are the first Olympics I consider to be truly broadcast in high definition. There are hundreds of hours of HD coverage from NBC and her sister networks and it is simply wonderful. Watching the opening ceremonies, the epic spanning shots of Beijing and the incredible sports action in the pool and on the track in HD cannot be beat. If we can’t be court-side for beach volley ball or high up in the Bird’s Nest for the parade of nations, NBC’s Beijing HD broadcasts have to be the next best thing.
I love the look of these games. Every single visual aspect of the 2008 Beijing Games has been masterfully designed to evoke emotion, Chinese tradition and technical perfection. From Herzog & De Meuron’s famous “Bird’s Nest” stadium and PTW Architects’ exciting “Water Cube” swimming center, to the elegant design of the wave pattern employed on banners, posters and even the medals themselves, Beijing looks simply stunning. By contrast, London’s designers come off as hacks.
Compelling Athletic Drama
The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat are all in play in Beijing. I’ve really enjoyed watching Michael Phelps make Olympic history with his eight gold medals. I’ve also been rooting for the Chinese every chance I get from rowing (they won their first golds!) to women’s beach volley ball, the incredible women’s marathon and beyond. And who could forget Usain Bolt’s incredible and cocky performance in the men’s 100 meter dash? The 2008 Summer Games have been a dream come true for sports fans around the globe, and it isn’t over yet.
Yes, even the ads kick ass. The commercials during the games have put those over-hyped, over-priced train wrecks we see during the Super Bowl to shame. I especially love VISA’s simple, narrated ads with Morgan Freeman and the always inspiring creations of United Airlines. Between the games and the commercials, I can barely break myself away from the TV long enough to grab a snack!