Evaluating th eopening ceremonies of modern olympic games

Por: John Cheffers e Ken Hawkins.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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The lead author has evaluated the opening ceremonies of the Modern Olympic Games in Los Angeles, U.S.A.; Seoul, Korea; Barcelona, Spain; Atlanta, U.S.A. and Sydney, Australia. This presentation concentrates on the last two, Atlanta and Sydney. It is intended that a similar evaluation of Athens will take place in August, 2004. The evaluation conducted by seven professional sport theorists was given and will be given to the local organizing committee and the IOC President the morning after the Olympic Games. The opening ceremonies are the signature of what modern Olympism is all about. The ceremony speaks to the intricacies of modern Olympism. If it fails, much of the effectiveness for the entire movement is lost for the current Olympiad and the next four years. Building from local, quaint and historic traditions, the current efforts are a distillation of culture pageantry, interracial ritual, explicit equity and mind boggling identification with human excellence. Art, sculpture, music, dance and mass movement are fused with athletic excellence absorbed with aim of winning.

Seven investigators were placed at critical points in the movement. Some trailed the spectators, others interviewed widely. Two sat through the ceremonies inside the stadium itself. Others located with police and especially partisan supporters. They observed the torch ceremonies, ticket sales, especially scalpers, transport, security and ceremonial performances. The opening ceremonies were reported on depth.

Results and Discussion

In Atlanta, train and bus snafus, interminable lines, screw ups with tickets, timetables and programs were readily observed. Bill Clinton arrived 40 mins late but Mohammed Ali, in delivering the final torch, event was magnificent. Crowd flow was problematic and the team presented 19 recommendations for improvements for the rest of the Games. Sydney fared better with just a few overt problems, not the least being a speech by Michael Knight which barely passed the censors probe. Temperature readings, humidity and especially decibel counts were recorded. The team in preparing for Athens will look especially for transport problems and security. It is hoped that the rich history of the Games in Greece will be featured.



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