Opening Ceremonies: The Wonderous and Blunderous


The quadrennial sporting extravaganza that is the Olympic Games is nearly upon us. Rio, a city known for its ability to party is about to throw World Sports Biggest Party. At breakfast time, in Australia, on Saturday they will officially begin festivities with the Opening Ceremony.

While we don’t want to mozz the Brazilian’s efforts, which some reports have suggested will be the ‘sexiest ever’ (and yes, actual reports have suggested that, thank you Daily Mail) we thought this would be the perfect time to look back at wondrous and blunderous moments from ceremonies past.

We haven’t limited ourselves to Olympic Opening Ceremonies, mainly to allow us to poke fun at a few beautifully blunderous moments. So in no particular order let’s look at the good and bad from Opening Ceremonies gone by.

1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games – Blunderous


thumbnail_Brisbane fails geography

Something’s missing here

When you have 60,000 screaming fans in a shiny and new QEII Stadium, a giant blinking Kangaroo, renditions of ‘I Still Call Australia Home’, ‘Click Go the Shears’ and ‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport’ how can you possibly end up on the Blunderous list?

Well, when you direct thousands of children to form a map of Australia and forget Tasmania.

A feat Woolworths repeated on their Australia Day merchandise earlier this year. You can see the faux paux about 2mins in on this video.

1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games – Wondrous

Forget Eta James singing Oh When the Saints Go Marching In. Forget a musical score composed by Star Wars’ John Williamson. The real highlight of this Opening Ceremony is Bill Suitor, powered by a rocket pack, flying around the stadium. Gold. Watch it here.

thumbnail_Rocketman at 84 olympics
Rock. It. Man

2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games – Blunderous

It must have looked good on paper, dancers in national costume frolicking beneath a backdrop of snowflakes, each in turn becoming one of the 5 Olympic Rings.

However, despite the organisers best hopes the music ended and the fifth snowflake remained unchanged.

The Russians did have the last laugh though, making light of the situation by replicating it in the closing ceremony.

1964 Tokyo Olympic Games – Wondrous

The Olympic Games in 1964 was a significant moment for Japan as hosting it represented a major step in its return to the world stage after the ravages of World War II. Their choice of person to light the Olympic Cauldron was special too. Dubbed ‘Hiroshima Baby’ Yohinori Sakai was born the day the Atomic Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. His lighting the cauldron rather poignantly represented Japan leaving the darkness and entering the light. He emerges about the 5.10 mark here.

thumbnail_Korean Charcoal Dove

1988 Seoul Olympic Games – Blunderous

What could possibly go wrong if you release swarms of doves near where you are about to light a massive open fire. You can imagine or you can watch here. 

2012 London Olympic Games – Wonderous

James Bond and the Queen parachute into the Olympic Stadium. Need I say more? Watch here.

1994 USA World Cup – Blunderous

The US pulled out all the stops to put on a show to open their World Cup in 1994. Diana Ross belting out some of her hits was a good way to start. But if you are going to get a music superstar to perform an ‘impromptu’ penalty attempt, you should probably find out if she has any ability first. Check out the shambolic attempts here.

thumbnail_Gold medallistist Janet Evans greatest ever moment
Yeah this was pretty amazing

1996 Atlanta Olympic Games – Wonderous

After much surprise that Atlanta was awarded the Olympic Games in 1996, the southern US City did their best to put on a show the world wouldn’t forget. They succeeded, the sight of sporting icon Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic flame will never be forgotten by anyone who saw it. Watch it again here.

1991 Sheffield World Student Games – Blunderous

The first British Astronaut, Helen Sharman, may well have wished she had stayed in space. Poor Helen, as she brought the flame around the track, she stumbled and dropped the torch, extinguishing the flame. Have a look here 

1992 Barcelona Olympic Games – Wonderous

The first Opening Ceremony I remember watching live and it is hard to top in my mind. The ‘money shot’ so to speak saw an archer fire the Olympic Flame across the stadium to light the cauldron. Definitely a ballsy move as so many things could go wrong but the risk was rewarded with the archer hitting his mark. I was mesmerised. Watch it here.


Authors note: Blunderous is a made up word, but I think it works for this purpose.

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