Opening/closing ceremonies of major sporting events stopped being fascinating a long time ago. I think it was the Lillehammer 1994 Winter Olympics where they irretrievably crossed the boundary into the realm of surrealistic technicolour yawns masquerading as cultural ballets. After Sydney 2000 (the one where Captain Cook discovered Australia on choreographed bicycles) I thought that wanky, over-indulgent sports ceremonies could go no further. Cape Town 2003, the opening ceremony of the Cricket World Cup, in fact proved that.
Time to bring back the Keep It Simple, Stupid principle for sporting ceremonies. Everyone nods and says these things are worthy and that there are other people who think they are great. The same can be said of elevator music.
At least there was no equivalent of Nikki Webster. At least, also, there were no obvious technical gaffes like those at the 1996 world cup opening ceremony in Eden Gardens, nor like those at the more minimalist opening ceremony at Lord’s in 1999.
And master of ceremonies Tumi Makgabo failed to emulate the achievements of Saeed Jaffrey in 1996. We were all hoping for a pompous self-indulgent monologue on her career highlights as a newsreader for CNN…
My three highlights of the evening:
- Rapper Danny K’s miming, which was noticeably worse than the usual minimum industry standards for miming;
- South African sports minister Ngoconde Balfour boogieing on the official dais when introduced to the crowd, and then pointing repeatedly to the spot where ICC president Malcolm Gray was to stand
- Malcolm Gray telling the crowd that players from five continents were competing in this World Cup. It’s six. The West Indies includes Guyana, which is on continental South America.
Oh yes, the players were all there too. I loved the orange jackets that the Dutch team was wearing.