Chen Weiya, general director of the opening ceremony of the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games (YOG), is interviewed by China.org.cn on Aug 15, 2014. [Photo/China.org.cn]
The opening ceremony of the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games (YOG) will be "very different" from that of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, according to Chen Weiya, general director of both events.
"The YOG is aimed at young people across the world, so it requires a different customized opening ceremony," Chen said on Friday, during an exclusive interview with China.org.cn.
To achieve this goal, Chen and his team paid special attention to ideas from young people. They held seminars and brainstorming sessions in both Beijing and Nanjing to allow students from primary school through to university to contribute ideas.
According to Chen, the Nanjing YOG opening ceremony will feature a huge sphere and a telescope, to express the idea of "allowing young people to see the world and see the future." By contrast, the message of the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony was "inviting the world to see China by unfolding a scroll."
The huge prop telescope will play a central role in the YOG opening ceremony as it will be placed on the stage throughout the performance. Chen said he was inspired by a visit to the local Purple Mountain (Zijinshan) Observatory, where he came up with the idea of comparing the telescope in the dome to how young people try to explore the world and see into the future.
Chen's original plan included lighting the cauldron in the stadium by reflecting light from the observatory, or at least having a torch relay starting from the mountain. But the distance between the two places led him to abandon the idea.
Although he is a native of the city, Chen admitted that Nanjing is "very different" from the city he remembered when he left it in the late 1960s when he was 13-14 years old. "It was a completely different city, in comparison with Nanjing now," he said, adding that it would be impossible to showcase every detail of Nanjing at the ceremony.
But the props displayed at the spectacle, including ancient city walls, Zheng He's ship (Zheng He was a famous explorer and diplomat during the Ming Dynasty), and astronomical equipment, will be "highly distinctive and recognizable" Nanjing features.