8 Oddest Olympic Opening Ceremony Events – Rolling Stone
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From Nazis to Burning Doves: 8 Oddest Olympic Opening Ceremony Events

Moments of weirdness that nobody could have predicted

Whenever the Olympic games come 'round, people across the world watch in awe of the brilliant feats of athleticism, the incredibly moving pomp and circumstance, and, of course, those times when things get weird as hell. Because for every inspiring, goose-bump raising moment, the Olympic ceremonies dish out their fair share of head-scratching oddities that sometimes make the world collectively say, "What the heck?" and with reports that this year’s ceremony is slated to feature everyone from Giselle Bundchen to Dame Judi Dench, this year should be no different. Using the modern history of the games as our guide, here are some moments that would no doubt win gold if there was a competition for weirdness. (No doves were harmed during the making of this list.) 

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Sochi 2014: The Fifth Ring

It's a moment that will live in viral, worldwide Olympic infamy. Leading up to the much-hyped (and much-maligned) winter Olympics from the land of Putin, the media had a field day harping on how the small Russian community was barely getting its act together in advance of the games. (Don't feel so bad, Rio!). Nothing exemplified this more than a moment during its Opening Ceremonies when a mechanical malfunction botched the unveiling of the famed Olympic rings, leaving the fifth and final one stuck shut. It turned out to be one of the most-talked-about moments from an event which was years in the making. Oops! 

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London 2012: The Skydiving Queen

Queen Elizabeth, one of the most formal humans on planet earth, is known for her undisputed poise and class. Perhaps that's why it was so jarring and downright hilarious that, with the help of Daniel Craig as James Bond during the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics from London, her Majesty was seen parachuting out of a plane and into the famed Olympic Stadium to kick things off. Despite the fact it was definitely just a stunt double, the idea that the long-reigning Queen chose to personally usher in the games in this precise way is weirdness to the max.

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Seoul 1988: The Great Japanese Dove Calamity

Doves are a universal sign of peace and prosperity, which is probably why it was so unsettling for the world to see a bunch of them literally get burned alive before everyone's very eyes at the Opening Ceremony for the summer games in Seoul. (And by the Olympic torch, no less!) Thanks to the ironic and terrifying accident, it marked the final time doves were seen at any Olympic ceremony. 

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Jae C. Hong/AP

London 2012: The Giant Baby

Everyone agrees that babies are cute and cuddly. However, when a giant baby overtook the arena during the opening of the London games, the world at large was pretty freaked out at how weird the damn thing looked. After all, babies are meant to be held… not tower over you like a monster.

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Berlin 1936: The Nazi Games

The 1936 Summer Olympics were known for being Hitler’s games and as you could probably guess its kickoff was full of plenty of bizarre and head-scratching moments. From the German National Anthem playing hundreds of times, to the spellbound German spectators who worshiped Hitler as if he was Justin Bieber. As if that weren’t enough, after thousands of pigeons were released into the air, a cannon went off and scared the birds so much they did their ‘business’ all over everyone below. Thanks for nothing, Hitler.

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Sochi 2014: The Russian Army Choir

If there's a video to go along with the definition of the word "weird" in the dictionary, it's this. During the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, a choir made up of Russian army dudes sang a rousing rendition of not the country’s national anthem, but Daft Punk’s "Get Lucky." Regardless of the fact that the song was over a year old by the time the opening ceremony rolled around, there was something super creepy about seeing some hardboiled Russian army men sing out the phrase, "We're up all night to get lucky." Take it down a notch, guys.

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Beijing 2008: The Lip-Sync Kid

The hype leading up to the Beijing summer Olympics was all about how tightly controlled it would be, including reports the Chinese government was attempting to manipulate everything from the weather to the Web. As a result, the controversy during the game's opening ceremony that a "cuter kid" was lip syncing to a track by another kid who was not quite as photogenic was pretty on brand for the communist country and made headlines once the secret was uncovered.

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London 2012: The Bizarre Goodbye

The closing ceremonies of the London Olympics were a downright trippy affair from begining to end. From Batman running out of a burning car for some reason, to Russell Brand in a top hat frolicking around singing the Beatles, it was as if organizers completely ran out of steam when it came to ideas. Seeing Spice Girls reunite was cool, at least… Right?