BEIJING -- I'm taking a timeout from the opening ceremony to tell you about some of the performers.
There are 2,008 (just a random number, I'm guessing) from the Shaolin Temple schools, located in China's Henan Province.
Xue Mingrui, one of the officials from the school of martial arts, explained in a release to the media how the young students were selected. See if he sounds like Bob Knight to you.
"We first looked at heights and appearances. The performers must be about 1.70 meters (5 feet 7 inches) tall and wear no obvious scars on faces. Secondly, we'd look into their basic skills of martial arts; they must have the capacity to perform difficult, stunning movements. Thirdly, we'd look into the students' characters and personality. We wanted no law offenders.''
They also had to be resilient. On one rainy, slippery night during training, 16 of the students were injured. One lost consciousness. But Xue said it was OK, that the student was revived and "sustained to the end.''
One student, Fan Weipeng, 19, recalled another rainy night last summer. "We trained for 48 hours because it rained while we were training,'' he said. "We trained until 3 in the morning and then we all fell asleep in the audience seats. When we woke up, we continued -- so we trained for two days and two nights.''
Fan, by the way, can break 99 porcelain bowls in one minute with a single finger. He can support his entire body with two fingers, known as "the power of two fingers.''
-- Randy Harvey
Photo: Dancers perform during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games at the National Stadium. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas/US Presswire