The 1968 Olympic Games opened vividly on Saturday (12th Oct) in a blaze of pomp and ceremony which followed weeks of horror in Mexico City.
The 1968 Olympic Games opened vividly on Saturday (12th Oct) in a blaze of pomp and ceremony which followed weeks of horror in Mexico City. Under the shadow of an uneasy truce between the Mexican Government and the massive protest movement being led by the countrystudents President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz of Mexico declared the nineteenth Olympiad of the modern era open.
In an impressive ceremony, athletes hold their grand family re-union in front of 80-thousand Mexicans and 500-million television viewers. The scene served to re-enforce a statement made by Pedro Ramirez Vazquez, chairman of the organising committee who called the Games 'The only opportunity for the youth of the world to meet in peaceful and friendly co-existence'. Before the main festivities there were other colourful diversions. A band from Arezzo dressed in medieval costume and waving flags trotted round the track to be followed by Boy Scouts and a group of men in white overalls carrying five-multi-coloured balloons in shape of Olympic rings which were later to float skywards over the stadium. The main parade of athletes was led into the cheering stadium by the Greek Olympic team.
Of the teams - the Germans were particularly with the West German girls dressed in shocking orange with the East German girls in canary yellow. The Bulgars, carried posies of flowers before casting them into the crowds. But it was the Czech who stirred the crows most and brought a tremendous round of applause from an costatic audience. The President of the Olympic Committee, Avery Brundage was warmly applauded when he addressed the stadium in the local tongue saying' it was a great day of triumph for Mexico. When President Ordaz spoke trumpets blared, drums rattled and the crowd cheered excitedly. Following his speech, the Olympic flag bourne by Japanese girls was handed to Brundage who gave it in turn to the Regent of the city. The flag was raised and 40-thousand balloons soared skyward to the blast of a three-gun salute. Then it was time for the torch.
Raven-haired Senorita - the first girl to carry the torch - moved gracefully round the track and then without a falter bounced up a multitude of steps, the height of the stadium and lit the symbolic flame.