1) The school child who walked at the front of the Chinese team during the opening ceremonies (he was a survivor of the Sichuan earthquake) was carrying an upside-down Chinese flag. Why is debatable. Maybe it was an innocent mistake, or maybe it was a coded message of "great distress" (as upside-down flags mean in nautical convention). Whatever the reason, the Chinese media cropped the upside-down flag out of the photos
they showed Chinese audiences.
2) The opening ceremonies included a massive fireworks display. But what was shown to television audiences was a pre-recorded, computer-generated shot
of fireworks. This was done because of "potential dangers in filming the display live from a helicopter." I've seen plenty of televised fireworks displays, but I've never heard that excuse before.
According to stuff.co.nz
, the fake fireworks occurred during the sequence when firework "footprints" were going off in a series over the city of Beijing, tracked from a helicopter and leading right up to the stadium. When I watched the ceremony, I remember the NBC commentators noting that the sequence was a computer generated graphic. This is more understandable to me. When I read the yahoo sports article, I got the impression that it was the fireworks directly over the stadium that had been faked.]
3) The ceremonies concluded with a dramatic torch-lighting stunt. As this was happening, a projection of the Microsoft "blue screen of death" mysteriously appeared
on the roof of the stadium. Some programmer's mistake, apparently. This really happened.
And a fourth item to note
(Thanks, Nick): the little girl who sang "Ode to the Motherland" was lip-synching. The AP reports
Lin Miaoke's performance Friday night, like the ceremony itself, was an immediate hit. "Nine-year-old Lin Miaoke becomes instant star with patriotic song," the China Daily newspaper headline said Tuesday. But the real voice behind the tiny, pigtailed girl in the red dress who wowed 91,000 spectators at the National Stadium on opening night really belonged to 7-year-old Yang Peiyi. Her looks apparently failed the cuteness test with officials organizing the ceremony, but Chen said her voice was judged the most beautiful.
"The national interest requires that the girl should have good looks and a good grasp of the song and look good on screen," Chen said. "Lin Miaoke was the best in this. And Yang Peiyi's voice was the most outstanding."