NEWS

Opening ceremony replay ‘even better’

The first, live broadcast of the Olympic Games opening ceremony failed on several levels. The commentary was over the top, in length and content, and the sound was frequently poor. ERT made up for these failings in its replay last Thursday, showing the ceremony without the commentary and with an improved sound quality, a partial compensation to both viewers and creators of the event who had seen the hard work of three years spoiled by confused sound and a flood of chatter. The second version, briefer than the live broadcast as it cut the amount of time given to the athletes’ parade, was more than satisfactory to viewers who felt they were «inside the stadium» with the 70,000 spectators. So we were spared comments such as the fact the girls carrying the signs bearing the countries’s names were «dressed as vases.» However, we were treated to lengthy footage of Athens 2004 President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki on the videowall in the «pre-show,» first as a torchbearer in the flame relay, then getting off an airplane and finally making statements about the effectiveness of the organization, right after an appearance by pop singer Anna Vissi. Little Areti with her santouri was a moving sight, but Yiannis Kotsiras singing «Pass the Flame» did not have the impact it was supposed to. The fact that Greeks do everything at the last minute was presented as somewhat of a metaphysical virtue, which, although a fact, smacked of self-congratulation. For example, there was «fast-forward» footage of bulldozers, cranes and excavators, and of an olive tree being planted (still in its pot) in some public place in the blink of an eye. Let us not forget that the «last-minute drive,» the overtime and «superhuman efforts» all came at a price, not only in cash.