With the Opening Ceremony for the Rio Olympics hours away, Fox Sports looks back at some of the greatest moments from Summer Olympics past.
Getty ImagesClive Rose
Barcelona's Archer (1992)
The greatest torch-lighting belongs to Barcelona, which had Paralympic archer Antonio Rebollo shoot a fire-tipped arrow (which had been dipped in the Olympic flame) over the cauldron to light it and get the Games started. That it was merely for show and Rebollo's arrow didn't actually go over the cauldron (on purpose), which was ignited instead by pushing a button, like on a gas grill, is beside the point.
Muhammad Ali (1996)
The most famous final torchbearer of all has provided such an indelible memory that we forget no one - not even the penultimate torchbearer, Janet Evans - knew it would be Muhammad Ali until he was revealed, hunched over and shaking from the effects of Parkinson's, standing next to the cauldron. It's one of the great moments in Olympic history and makes you happy Atlanta didn't go with its original choice: Evander Holyfield
Bongarts/Getty ImagesLutz Bongarts
The Hiroshima Baby (1964)
Tokyo became the first Asian city to host a Games in 1964 and the Japanese weren't shy about remembering the war they'd fought, and lost, two decades earlier. The final torchbearer was a 19-year-old named Yohinori Sakai, who was born Aug. 6, 1945 - the day the Americans dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima. The symbolism of a new beginning wasn't lost on anyone. (Also, props to Yohinori. Dude ran up about 150 steps to the cauldron without breaking a sweat.)
Li Ning Walks on Air (2008)
Honestly, take your pick. There were at least a half-dozen parts of the Beijing Opening Ceremony that could be close to No. 1. But all through the spectacle there was one question pressing in the back of everybody's mind: What the hell were they going to do as an encore? After the boxes and the drummers and the moving scroll and the thousands of performers, what was next? Organizers didn't disappoint. Famous Chinese gymnast Li Ning was attached to a cable and "ran" around the top of the stadium - while seemingly floating on air - before reaching the torch. It was a perfect end to a perfect Ceremony.
Getty ImagesJulian Finney
Moscow's Cards (1980)
That stupid card stunt ubiquitous at all sporting events from Super Bowls to Harvard-Yale football to high-school lacrosse games was actually popularized at the boycotted Moscow Games. And unlike at Lambeau Field, where some guy who's holding two Natty Lites and three bratwurst can't be bothered to raise his sign, this was Communist Russia, y'all. You better believe those signs were held aloft.
The First Torchbearer (1936)
One of the most indelible Olympic traditions - the carrying of the Olympic torch into a stadium to light the cauldron - was started in Nazi Germany.
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The Queen (2012)
Would director Danny Boyle be able to get Queen Elizabeth involved in the Opening Ceremony in London? Yup, and not only that, he got her Corgis too. The highlight of the last Opening Ceremony was the skit featuring James Bond (Daniel Craig) and the actual Queen Elizabeth, which culminated in the "Queen" jumping out of an airplane and then, minutes later, arriving at her seat in the royal box.
AFP/Getty ImagesOLIVIER MORIN
Seoul's Crispy Doves (1988)
Releasing Olympic doves is a wonderful way to symbolize peace and unity. Releasing Olympic doves directly over a lit cauldron is a wonderful way to kill doves.
Putin's Ring (2014)
(Even though this is a list of Summer Olympic Ceremonies, this one is too good to ignore, especially because that picture is everything.) The most famous gaffe in recent memory was in Sochi, as an Olympic ring that was supposed to emerge from a snowflake never did, leaving four rings and the flake. Russian viewers never saw anything different as tape delay allowed directors to put in footage from a rehearsal. Vladimir Putin's face just about says it all. To Russia's credit, they poked fun at the mishap in the Closing Ceremony.
The Drummers (2008)
How good was Beijing's Opening Ceremony? Right around the time the drummers came out, you realized you were seeing something you'd never seen before and would never see again. (And same that those boxes that looked like the 3D renderings you see on the court before NBA games.
Getty ImagesAdam Pretty
Cathy Freeman (2000)
Representing both the 100th anniversary of women in the Olympics and Australia's Aboriginal population, Freeman stood in a pool of water and lit the circular cauldron surrounding her, which then rose to take its place in Stadium Australia. Freeman was the first ever competing athlete to light the cauldron (she would go on to win a gold medal in the 400m).
Gamma-Rapho via Getty ImagesPool JO SYDNEY 2000
Bjork's Dress (2004)
After performing a song written especially for the Olympics, Bjork, the Icelandic singer who for some reason was tabbed to be Greece's showstopper, had her 10,000 square-foot dress unfurled, at which point a map of the world was projected upon it. No, the dress was not made of swans.
Getty ImagesDonald Miralle
Paul McCartney Sings (2012)
Poor Ringo. There was only one man who could close Danny Boyle's tremendously fun London Opening Ceremony and that was Paul McCartney, who led a sing-along of "Hey Jude." For that, the world's biggest musical superstar took home a whopping payday of 1 pound (about $1.57).
(Sighs) The Jetpack (1984)
Last on our list and in your hearts. L.A.'s last Ceremony had an embarrassingly futuristic theme, complete with a dude flying around in a jetpack. (It was hardly new or novel - they did the same thing at Super Bowl I about two decades before.) 1984, man.