For reasons that are difficult to decipher, many fans around the world generalize the idea that the opening ceremony of a major sports competition is a unique event.
Probably victims of the merits of the extraordinary opening festivities of the Olympic Games, any tournament of the magnitude of a World Cup, from a soccer or rugby tournament to a swimming tournament, usually receives absolutely unfounded criticism: to such an extent, the Olympic celebration is something superlative, incomparable to any of the above, that it constitutes one of the so-called high-demand events with full stadiums and expensive tickets with nothing other than the artistic celebration, the parade of delegations, protocol speeches and the lighting of the cauldron.
Without going any further, based on the magnificence of the stadiums and the images that arrived from Doha, the opening of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar was heavily criticized without taking into account that, with the exception of a very occasional occasion, these ceremonies are little more than a decent prologue to what really counts, which is the opening match that takes place after that almost always modest celebration.
In line with this logic of the lavish preliminary celebrations of the highest multi-sport competitions, the recent inauguration of the Asian Games were, in a creative and technological way, the most faithful demonstration of the evolution of Chinese sport.
In a way, a sign that, in these times, a large part of Asian sport is betting heavily. Everything smells of growth and ambition.
It is impossible not to refer to what happened 15 years ago when the Olympic Games returned to the Asian continent after the post-boycott party in Seoul 88.
Predictably, the opening of Beijing 2008 should dazzle us as a portent of technological creativity. It’s impossible to forget the Olympic premiere of mapping. Not even the race-flight of the mythical gymnast Ning Li -six medals in Los Angeles 84- who toured the roof of the Bird’s Nest before illuminating the planet with the sacred fire.
However, I think that the great legacy of that ceremony was the delicate and strong Chinese message reminding foreigners how many things that are for everyday consumption were part of their creative genius.
From the printing press to gunpowder and noodles. Let’s not believe that the Asian Giant thing only involves invading the world with sports talent.