Top three highlights of the YOG Opening Ceremony

Sunday, 22 August 2010

YOG Opening Ceremony, Youth Olympic Games
By Joyce Leong, Teo Xing Zhi and Kenneth Pek

The time has come and the long wait is finally over. The inaugural Youth Olympic Games has officially begun and it started with a bang.

Fun packs, roaring audiences and awe-inspiring performances were part of the Opening Ceremony at Float@Marina Bay yesterday night, where the Youth Olympic Flame, having travelled all the way from Greece, lit the skyline.

Fireworks burst in spectacular colours, but surprisingly, were not the most popular events. Here, we list the top 3 highlights that were the real crowd pleasers.

#3: Monster

YOG Opening Ceremony, Youth Olympic Games The bronze prize of the Ceremony was the segment entitled "Monster", a story about overcoming fears.

A huge book rolls out and slowly opens out to show a boy sleeping. "Once upon a time" scrolls onto the screen, and the boy wakes up and begins shadowboxing. A shadow appears on the screen, and transforms into a ferocious monster which attacks the boy.

All this while, a choir clad in futuristic silver costumes serenade the audience with Bonnie Tyler's old hit "Holding out for a Hero". As the song reaches its chorus, the boy summons his inner hero and musters a group of warriors to fight the monster with him.

The main beauty of this segment is found in the special effects and props. The monster, animated on screens at first, disappears and is wheeled out as a huge creature. Music accompanies the effects in perfect synchrony.

#2: Playing with Fire

A little girl lugs a huge matchbox onto the stage and begins exploring it. The screens suddenly fill with a woman (presumably her mother), who warns the girl not to play with fire.

The curious girl, of course, lights the match the moment she leaves. Fire spouts out from the stage and dancers appear.

Cut to the next scene: a carp swims ferociously against the current. Finally it reaches the edge. Its perseverance causes the deities to turn him into a beautiful dragon.

Accompanying the performance is the appearance of a handful of pole dancers at the special platforms set up amongst the spectators.

The young dancers created quite a buzz and even managed to steal the attention of many spectators from the action on the main stage.

Constantly spinning, twirling and hanging around the poles with different movements and poses, the sexy dancers made it difficult for the spectators to look away.

YOG Opening Ceremony, Youth Olympic Games

When asked about the pole dancers, 39-year-old IT consultant Manish Agrawal exclaimed, "Excellent! Their actions were all well coordinated. It was very impressive!"

Although it was a relatively short segment, the pole dancing was definitely one of the most memorable acts for those who managed to get a clear view of the dancers.

#1: Blazing the Trail

YOG Opening Ceremony, Youth Olympic Games

Arriving on a float via the sea came Amanda Lim, bearing the torch. Upon docking, the flame was transferred from the Asian Youth Games and SEA Games medalist to the next torchbearer, and the next, till it reached 16-year-old sailor Darren Choy.

The lad rushes across the reflective pool, ripples marking his path all the way up to the cauldron. He placed the torch's tip at the edge of the Cauldron's ribbon. Fire burst from the ribbon and spiraled up, firing up the burner. A vortex of fire whirls wildly around in the center, and will continue to do so for the rest of the YOG.

Singaporean Manjit Kaur, 50, said: "It came from a float. Other countries have torchbearers on flat land; we have ours on floating platforms! And the run and the way they light the torch was very nice, very beautiful. This performance is very special, I like it very much."

As for the Ceremony as a whole:

"I came because I wanted to experience the feeling of the world coming together to celebrate together. This ceremony has more than fulfilled my expectations. I am very proud to be here," says 23-year-old Michael Riesener, from Germany. Michael had bought the tickets on impulse, and thoroughly enjoyed the show. His friends, he said, had wanted to come, but the tickets were all sold out.

His fellow countrymen, Stephanie Reichelt, 19, and Janine Straub, 18, added that they also enjoyed the event. "There were lots of people dancing with each other, very colourful events, very fun! The platform performers were very good because we're closer to everything, and it's not just the show on the stage, but it's everywhere. It's a very good idea."

Be it the fancy fireworks and flame or a get-together celebration, the Opening Ceremony was a great success, and the next two weeks will be just as filled with fun and laughter, as athletes of all 204 countries compete in the Games!

The writers are student reporters from Republic Polytechnic's Diploma in Communication & Information Design (DCID). They will be working with AsiaOne and Edvantage, bringing you stories from the 2010 Youth Olympic Games.

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