Fire, water, a centaur will start things offFittingly, it sounds like something from Greek mythology.
The Olympic stadium in Athens turns into a lake, churning with millions of gallons of water. A ship sails across it. A comet strikes the water, and forms the five Olympic rings in flames.
A centaur ―half-man, half-horse ― throws a javelin into the center of the lake, where an enormous head in the style of an ancient Greek sculpture surfaces. There is an explosion, and a parade of hundreds of mythological figures, dancers and puppeteers, all in boats.
Details of the three-hour opening ceremony of the 2004 Athens Olympics ― which starts at 2:45 a.m. tomorrow, Korea time (8:45 p.m. Friday in Athens) ― had been kept secret until a reporter for Britain’s Sunday Mirror got a glimpse.
Once word was out, the Athens Olympic Committee opened some of the rehearsals to the press. The media then got a look at what is expected to be one of the more futuristic opening ceremonies in Olympic history.
Korean broadcasters KBS1, SBS and MBC will air the ceremony live, and will replay the show tomorrow afternoon.
The rerun on KBS1 starts at 1 p.m. tomorrow, and SBS plans to air highlights at 2 p.m. MBC will broadcast highlights at 3 p.m. The SkyLife satellite network, which will air the ceremony live in HDTV format, will also rerun the opening ceremony from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The director of the opening ceremony, Dimitris Papaioannou, is one of Greece’s best-known dancers and choreographers; he’ll also direct the Aug. 29 closing ceremony. He said 9,000 artists and technical staff would participate in the opening ceremony.
During the ceremony, North and South Korean athletes will march into the stadium together, as they did for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. They will be led by Ku Min-jung, a South Korean volleyball player, and Kim Seon-ho, a North Korean Olympic committee official and former volleyball player, who, as in Sydney, will carry a flag bearing the image of the Korean peninsula.
by Limb Jae-un