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Beijing Olympic Games are open; Kobe Bryant cheered

August 8, 2008 |  9:07 am

Yao Ming carries the flag of China next to 9-year-old Lin Hao, a survivor of the May 12 earthquake in Sichuan, during the opening ceremony for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. BEIJING -- The opening ceremony was running more than half an hour later than scheduled when Chinese President Hu Jintao succinctly declared the 2008 Summer Olympics open. At least it was still on the lucky date of 8/8/08.

Prior to Hu's remarks, International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge addressed the crowd.

"You have chosen as the theme of these Games 'One World, One Dream,' '' he said. "That is what we are tonight.''

That is arguable considering the number of people inside and outside the country who reject China's human rights policies. Rogge, though not discussing that, did at least mention this year's earthquake in Sichuan Province.

"As one world, we grieved with you over the tragic earthquake ...,''  he said. ''We were moved by the great courage and solidarity of the Chinese people. As one dream, may these Olympic Games bring  you joy, hope and pride.''

Rogge also reminded the 10,700 athletes here that they are role models for the youth of the world and asked them to "reject doping and cheating.''

Of those athletes, the ones who received the largest ovations from the announced crowd of 91,000 when close-ups were shown on the the giant screen were the NBA players -- Yao Ming, of course, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki and Manu Ginobili.

Who says this is a table tennis country?

-- Randy Harvey

Photo: Yao Ming carries the flag of China next to 9-year-old Lin Hao, a survivor of the May 12 earthquake in Sichuan, during the opening ceremony for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Credit: Amy Sancetta / Associated Press

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