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Day 1 is more than just song and dance
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09:17, August 07, 2008

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The names of the artists who will lend their voice to the theme song at the Olympic Games opening ceremony are out.

West End star Sarah Brightman and Liu Huan, China's most versatile singer, will regale the audience toward the end of the opening ceremony on Friday.

But whether it will feature white-winged doves or will they sing a song of sixpence is a suspense, still.

More good news: latest weather forecasts say Beijing is unlikely to experience a heavy rainfall on Friday night.

The Beijing Olympics organizing committee (BOCOG) gave out the information yesterday, but refused to say whether the theme song would be in English or Chinese - or in both the languages. It did say, however, that the lyrics and music had been written and composed by Chinese artists.

The three-and-a-half-hour gala will begin with the beating of the ancient Chinese drum, fou, the BOCOG said. It will be followed by the display of the Olympic rings and the Chinese national flag.

The one-hour "main" performance, divided into two parts, will be intervened by "a Chinese scroll painting". About 15,000 performers are expected to wow spectators in the Bird's Nest, as well as billions of others watching it live on TV across the world.

Modern technology and wire performances will highlight China's iconic civilization through to the modern times, said Zhang Heping, director of BOCOG's opening and closing ceremonies department. "It's a Chinese story told in the language of the world."

Their performance will be followed by athletes' parade, speeches by the International Olympic Committee and BOCOG presidents, oath-taking by athletes and referees, releasing of pigeons and lighting of the Olympic flame in the stadium, to be accompanied by 30,000 "shells" shooting into the sky above the Olympic Green.

A real Chinese touch

The parade will see a Chinese twist in the order of the teams. The countries will be arranged according to the number of strokes it takes to write their names in Chinese. It will be in ascending order.

This means Guinea, whose acronym Ji needs two strokes, will enter the stadium behind Greece that leads the parade because it is the birthplace of the Olympics. Zambia, will enter just before host China because it takes 14 strokes to write its acronym, Zan.

The organizers will count the second character of a country's name if the strokes in the first are the same as another country's to decide the order.

The two Koreas, however, will not parade as one team this time. The BOCOG and the Foreign Ministry have arranged for the ROK to be the 176th delegation.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea will enter after another four countries, Vietnam, Fiji, Botswana and Portugal.

The opening ceremony team refused to disclose more details about the show, which is expected to attract 4 billion viewers worldwide.

Source: China Daily

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