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Memorable Opening Ceremony Moments at the Olympics (PHOTOS) – Biography

Memorable Opening Ceremony Moments at the Olympics (PHOTOS) – Biography

Memorable Opening Ceremony Moments at the Olympics (PHOTOS) – Biography
February 09
12:08 2018

Whether winter or summer, every Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games carries a theme represented through a storybook mosaic of artistic, historical and cultural expressions from their host countries. And this year’s 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, Korea is no different.

Given the peninsula’s (literal) divided history of North and South and the recent instability in the region, South Korea has aptly chosen “peace” as its guiding theme, along with the official motto “Passion. Connected.” Despite many details remaining secret, the organizers of this year’s Opening Ceremony have announced that among the performers, indie rock star Ha Hyun Woo (from the South Korean band Guckkasten) and Ahn Ji-young, (part of the K-Pop duo Bolbbalgan4), will be performing. Korean R&B singer Insooni is also set to sing a track during the torch relay. (For those who are up on their K-Pop bands, we’ll take your word that these are baller lineups!)

As a lead up to PyeongChang’s opening festivities, here’s a look back at some celebratory, beautiful and awe-inspiring moments of past Opening Ceremonies.

Hey, Paul – London (2012)

Paul McCartney London Olympics Photo

Sir Paul McCartney performs during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

(Photo: Pool_Getty Images)

Directed by Danny Boyle, the spectacle that was the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics did not disappoint. Not only were there cameo appearances by Queen Elizabeth II and comedian Rowan Atkinson (a.k.a. Mr. Bean), but the great Beatle Paul McCartney was the show’s closer, first singing the penultimate track “The End” from the group’s album Abbey Road. Then, amid the fiery torch, the fluorescent lights and Olympic athletes holding hands and swaying, everyone in the audience joined in to help McCartney sing the chorus of his beloved song “Hey Jude.”

Luciano Pavarotti Performs in Virtual Reality – Turin (2006)

Pavarotti 2006 Olympic Ceremony Photo

In 2006, Italian opera singer Luciano Pavarotti graced the stage for the last time before his death in 2007. At the Opening Ceremonies for the Winter Olympics in Turin, he performed ‘Nessun dorma,’ to a roaring standing ovation.

(Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

It was at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics in Italy that operatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti gave his final public performance before he died the following year from cancer. Enduring great pain, Pavarotti lifted himself from his wheelchair and performed the aria “Nessun Dorma” in front of an audience of millions. However, it was later discovered that, due to his illness, Pavarotti was concerned of his weakening voice and decidedly lip-synched his performance.

Gisele Turtle-Walks the Runway – Rio (2016)

Gisele Bundchen Rio 2016 Olympic Games Photo

Supermodel Gisele Bundchen walks to the ‘The Girl From Ipanema’ during the Bossa segment during the Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium on August 5, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

(Photo: Jamie Squire / Getty Images)

Could anything slow Gisele Bundchen down? Apparently, nerves. The Brazilian supermodel admitted she was feeling the jitters at the 2016 Rio Olympics and thus, sashayed too slowly down the 400-foot long catwalk in the Maracana stadium to the famous tune “The Girl From Ipanema.” Because of her slow progress, an homage to the song’s composer, Tom Jobin, had to be cut at a moment’s notice. Needless to say, the director wasn’t happy, but hey, at least Gisele looked amazing in her sequinned high-slit ensemble by Alexandre Herchovitch. That was almost mostly the point, right?

Projecting Much? Björk’s Dress Steals the Show –  Athens (2004)

Bjork Dress Athens Olympic Games 2004 Photo

Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk created one of the most memorable Opening Ceremonies moments at the 2004 Summer Games in Athens. As she performed ‘Oceania,’ a song she wrote for the Olympics, Björk’s dress unfolded across the crowd to reveal a 10,000-square-foot map of the world.

(Photo: Getty Images)

How could Icelandic songstress Björk ever top her Swan Dress from the 2001 Academy Awards, you ask? Easy. With a 10,000 square-foot mammoth dress with a world map projected onto it that could billow out to all ends of an Olympic stadium, while singing the song “Oceania.” It’s as simple as that — and of course, it blew everyone’s minds just like anything Björk does.

Muhammad Ali’s Fighting Spirit – Atlanta (1996)

Muhammad Ali at the 1996 Olympic Games

Muhammad Ali at the 1996 Olympic Games.

(Photo: Michael Cooper/Getty Images)

If the world thought they knew what “The Greatest” was made of in the boxing ring, Muhammad Ali‘s presence amidst the Olympic rings at the 1996 Games in Atlanta became one of the greatest moments in Opening Ceremony history. Despite his hands shaking from his longstanding battle with Parkinson’s disease, Ali fired up the world as he determinedly lit the torch — symbolizing the spirit of resiliency and defiance that defined his life and boxing career and undoubtedly the lives and careers of athletes far and wide.

Source: Memorable Opening Ceremony Moments at the Olympics (PHOTOS) – Biography

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Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

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