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Behind the 29th Olympic Opening Ceremony
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Makeup artist Pu Yiyang, who lost her whole family in the May 12 Sichuan earthquake, was among the many who worked hard for years for the success of the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.


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At 8 PM sharp on August 8, 2008, the long-awaited Opening Ceremony of the 2008

Beijing Olympic Games kicked off at the National Stadium in Beijing. The grand and dazzling performance was unforgettable, and will have made a firm impression on the whole world.

Glory takes huge effort

The artistic performance of the Opening Ceremony, titled the "Beautiful Olympics", had the internationally acclaimed filmmaker Zhang Yimou as General Director, and Zhang Jigang and Chen Weiya as Deputy General Directors. Its core planning team comprised some of the best artists and technology experts in the world, including Yu Jianping, Lu Jiankang, Cai Guoqiang, Chen Qigang, British stagecraft designer Mark Fisher, Chen Yan, Sha Xiaolang, Japanese designer Eiko Ishioka, Xu Jiahua, Cheng Xiaodong, and Tan Dun.

Rome was not built in a day, neither was this gorgeous performance. It took nearly 20,000 artists and literary practitioners three years to plan, design, practise and finally perform the show.

On March 1, 2005, the Beijing Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (BOCOG) invited design plans for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games, marking the start-up of the preparatory efforts of the 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony. The public tender ended on July 31 with 409 valid applications. By the end of September the authorities had finished the examination and review process and 13 proposals made it onto the final list.

On April 16, 2006, the core planning team for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games and Beijing Paralympic Games was established with Zhang Yimou as the General Director. Zhang was joined by Zhang Jigang, Chen Weiya, Yu Jianping, Lu Jiankang, Cai Guoqiang, Chen Qigang and other top art talents around the world. The core planning team is in charge of designing all four Ceremonies.

Zhang and the other members of the core planning team were all chosen for good reasons.

Zhang's success lies in his long and close relationship with China's dream of hosting The Olympics. Back in 1993, although Beijing failed in its first bid for the Olympic Games, the promotional video directed by Zhang Yimou won international praise. He also produced several other promotional videos for Beijing's bid for the 2008 Olympics, of which the one shown during the candidate city's presentation played the biggest role in the success of the bid. Later, Zhang directed the promotional video and the unveiling Ceremony of the Beijing Olympic emblem. He also served as the General Director of the eight-minute performance at the Closing Ceremony of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Zhang therefore ranked first in the examination and review process held by BOCOG to decide the core planning team.

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