Rio 2007 Opening Ceremony “Best I’ve ever seen.”

A great review of yesterday’s Opening Ceremony in the Los Angeles Times:

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s largest city still must overcome doubts about crime and traffic, among other things, if it hopes to make good on its Quixotic bid to play host to the 2016 Olympic Games. But Rio sure has the opening ceremony down pat.

On Friday the city inaugurated the 15th Pan American Games with a lavish and creative 3 1/2 -hour show that featured a symphony orchestra, three 100-foot-long coral snakes, Miss Brazil, an alligator the size of a 747, fireworks, a 1,500-piece percussion band and thousands of dancers dressed as everything from ocean waves to water lilies.

“It was incredible,” said water polo player Heather Petri of Long Beach.

“I actually think that was the best opening ceremony I’ve ever seen.”

And, International Olympic Committee members should note, Petri has been to two Olympics. But then the IOC voters have no need to take Petri’s word for it. IOC President Jacques Rogge was also on hand for Friday’s glossy show, which was part Disney, part Cirque du Soleil.

Even before awarding of the first medal, these Games, featuring more than 5,600 athletes from 42 countries, are the largest and most expensive Pan Ams in history.

And Friday’s $25-million kickoff probably was the most expensive opening ceremony in Pan Am history as well.

There’s little doubt it was most spectacular.

Produced by Scott Givens, an IOC consultant and chief of the group that put on the creative opening and closing ceremonies at the Salt Lake City Winter Games in 2002, Givens has worked on six Olympic ceremonies and is currently helping craft the shows for Beijing next summer.

Note:  While Scott helped judge the Beijing 2008 logo, he is not currently helping with Beijing’s Opening Ceremony.

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