Innsbruck, Austria (1976)
For the second time inside 12 years, this hamlet in western Austria played host to the Winter Games. '76 marked the first official appearance of a cold-weather mascot (Schneeman, German for "snowman"; the stylized skier from Grenoble in '68 wasn't sanctioned). Watch the ceremony unfold as synchronized skydivers parachute from a helicopter hovering above the Bergisel, Innsbruck's signature ski jump. At 4:42, in a rather modest show of elation, hundreds of helium-filled baloons ascend over the overcast Tyrolean skies to signal the start of the Games. (Here's hoping there were no low-flying planes.) And in homage to Walt Disney's display in '60, a flock of doves was released (see them circumnavigate the stadium at 6:04). Clusters of traditional dancers dressed in dirndls, a preview of the outlandish ceremonies to come, conclude the ceremonial showcase.