The Olympics So Far

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.

[Update: According to, 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."

Photos Sports Technology

Posted on Mon Aug 11, 2008


I like 1 and 3 but not 2
1 ius probably fake rally fake
Posted by Silvar  on  Tue Aug 12, 2008  at  04:02 AM
There are also reports that the 9-year old girl who was shown singing in the opening ceremony did not provide the voice:
Posted by Nick D  on  Tue Aug 12, 2008  at  05:43 AM
That's what you get when you buy your copy of Vista for $10 on the streets of Bejing.
Posted by ktownson  on  Tue Aug 12, 2008  at  07:43 AM
Not sure that this qualifies as a "hoax", but I've also seen reports that NBC rearranged the order that it showed various country's teams parading into the stadium. To the point where the US team can be seen lined up on the infield well before they were actually shown entering the stadium.
Posted by TexasAndroid  on  Tue Aug 12, 2008  at  07:55 AM
all the old ladies at work cared about was Phelp's swimsuit... digital Speedo enhancement, my guess
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Tue Aug 12, 2008  at  10:19 PM
The kid isn't carrying the flag upside down - it's a flag on a stick, and there's only one way to carry it. The thing was made wrong. My guess is that the Chinese will be telling each other it was made in the USA.
Posted by charlie  on  Wed Aug 20, 2008  at  10:43 PM
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