Games opening ceremony will be 'different', director says
Winter sports fans can expect the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing to be "different "from that of the 2008 Games, which was also held in the Chinese capital, with a cauldron lighting method that will be "unprecedented", according to chief director Zhang Yimou.
Zhang, who also directed the opening and closing ceremonies for Beijing's 2008 Summer Games, will be behind the wheel again for the ceremonies for the Olympic Winter Games.
"In 2008, the Olympics were a brilliant stage and chance for our country to show ourselves," he said. "In fact, there are plenty of pages across our 5,000-year history that we would like to present to the world.
"It's different now. China's status in the world, the image of the Chinese and the rise of our national status－everything is totally different now.
"In the wake of the pandemic, the world needs a new and strengthened vision, and that is people of the world coming together to face difficulties and looking forward to a bright future."
That has been reflected in a change to the Olympic motto, with "Together" added to "Faster, Higher and Stronger".
Zhang said he is determined to present a "different and unique "opening for the 2022 Games.
There will be no lengthy, large-scale performance, with the number of performers cut from 15,000 in 2008 to 3,000, and the duration of the ceremony reduced to less than 100 minutes due to the cold weather and the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the quality will not be affected by the decrease in quantity.
One of the most anticipated parts of the opening ceremony is the lighting of the main cauldron, and there is always plenty of speculation about the method to be used.
"This time, the way of lighting will certainly be different," he said. "It's a major reform of the opening ceremony. It will be unprecedented in the over 100-year history of the Olympic Games."
"Not just athletes and professionals winning gold medals and achieving amazing things, but getting more people to participate in sports," he said. "It's always about the people. The spirit, emotion and hope are always the key points."
"What the Winter Olympics show is the Chinese people's confidence, pride, love and affection for the people of the world," Zhang said.
"If we can showcase that in an artistic, emotional and subtle way through the opening ceremony, so that people can see the real inner thoughts of Chinese people, that will be very meaningful."