Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain ~ Opening Ceremony!

Opening ceremony ticket to the Olympics in Barcelona, Spain

Ticket to the opening ceremonies of the Barcelona Summer Olympics
Ticket to the opening ceremonies of the Barcelona Summer Olympics | Source

We Arrive in Barcelona

In the summer of 1992 my husband and I were fortunate to be able to attend the Opening Ceremonies for the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.

The Games of the XXV Olympiad were to be played in Barcelona and it is an experience we will not soon forget!

We were with a group of people who were staying on the Island of Mallorca and were flown by airplane to Barcelona in time to be hosted to a typical Catalan lunch at a restaurant called Con Travi Nou at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.

My husband and I like garlic so appreciated the rather heavily garlicked fish entrée (Angler) with the typical accompaniment of potatoes. The first course, judging from the plates around us, few people savored. On top of a thin pastry was a scrambled egg with shrimp and a mushroom creation.

After a leisurely lunch we were dropped off and began the long hike up to the Olympic Stadium. We were to follow guides waving yellow flags.

There were many groups of people following different colored flags that day in addition to individuals and small family groups heading up the hill to Montjuic and the Olympic Stadium, so we had to pay attention so as not to be separated from our group.


Buildings in Barcelona sporting Olympic flags...

Catalonia flags mixed with Olympic ones
Catalonia flags mixed with Olympic ones | Source
Source
Many flags on this building
Many flags on this building | Source
Catalonian restaurant called Con Travi Nou where we dined prior to opening ceremonies
Catalonian restaurant called Con Travi Nou where we dined prior to opening ceremonies | Source

Olympic Flags Everywhere!


Following are some photos of the buildings all clad in Olympic flags as we were driven through the city and to the Catalan restaurant. Many also sport Catalonian flags.

Barcelona is a seacoast city in the northeast area of Spain. As the capitol of Catalonia, Barcelona has long been a tourist area due to its Mediterranean climate and alluring cityscape's and countryside.

Many centuries of settlement have made this city an interesting mixture of medieval areas which are cramped and crowded along with other spacious and green areas.

There is a separatist movement that has been working towards separating Catalonia from the rest of Spain and making it into an independent country.

The language has its slightly different twist and their food is also distinctive.

Many artists have called this area home.

Among them are Dali, Picasso, Miro and Gaudi.

Barcelona won the distinction of hosting these Olympic Games in 1986 and worked diligently to transform their city providing Olympic venues and preparing their city to host the onslaught of not only fine athletes from around the world who would be competing, but also the crowds of people who would perhaps be seeing their city for the first time. Many of the venues were completed a full year in advance of this spectacle.

The city was shined up and was readied to put on a memorable show!


Following the crowd up to Olympic Stadium

Source

Photos showing the crowd of people walking up Montjuic and to the Olympic Stadium

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Street where we were dropped offThe Castle in the distance on top of MontjuicOlympic banners and fountainsMy hubbyWalking...Looking back at the crowdThis water fountain kept performing a water ballet to music.Following our yellow flag (tour guides)View of the Castle and water fountainsGetting higher up the hill and looking backBeautiful portion of the CastleFirst glimpse of the Olympic torch (still unlit)Mounted securityLooking back at the Castle - Closer to the Stadium at this point waiting to go through security
Street where we were dropped off
Street where we were dropped off | Source
The Castle in the distance on top of Montjuic
The Castle in the distance on top of Montjuic | Source
Olympic banners and fountains
Olympic banners and fountains | Source
My hubby
My hubby | Source
Walking...
Walking... | Source
Looking back at the crowd
Looking back at the crowd | Source
This water fountain kept performing a water ballet to music.
This water fountain kept performing a water ballet to music. | Source
Following our yellow flag (tour guides)
Following our yellow flag (tour guides) | Source
View of the Castle and water fountains
View of the Castle and water fountains | Source
Getting higher up the hill and looking back
Getting higher up the hill and looking back | Source
Beautiful portion of the Castle
Beautiful portion of the Castle | Source
First glimpse of the Olympic torch (still unlit)
First glimpse of the Olympic torch (still unlit) | Source
Mounted security
Mounted security | Source
Looking back at the Castle - Closer to the Stadium at this point waiting to go through security
Looking back at the Castle - Closer to the Stadium at this point waiting to go through security | Source

Olympic Stadium...here we come!

Our group was dropped off and began the long hike up to the Olympic Stadium.

While pausing to take in the scenery and do some Olympic pin trading, we had to keep an eye on our guides sporting the yellow flags. We certainly did not want to be separated from our group as thousands of people were milling about...most all of them making their way up to the Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremonies. The Olympic Stadium held something like 70,000 people!

It was a very hot day in Barcelona and most of the people were all wearing shorts, or at the least, very comfortable clothing with good walking shoes.

This was our first Olympics to attend in person and we had no idea how much fun it was going to be trading Olympic pins with people from around the world.

Most people had their Olympic pins attached to their clothing, hats, or bags that they might have been carrying and often people would approach us wanting to trade pins. Some people spoke our language (English) and others did not. But with a questioning look and smile while gesturing and holding out one or two of their pins while pointing to one of ours transmitted the message quite well.

Some avid Olympic fans who knew the value of certain pins were dieheart traders on a mission to increase the value of their holdings. If they spotted a desired pin that they wished to add to their collection, often they would offer two or three pins in exchange for the one they wanted.

Most, like us, were simply happy to trade ones in which we might have had duplicates for others that were different.

Olympic pins not only varied according to the country but also other Olympic Games in years past. Logos for businesses worldwide were also made into olympic pins. That turned out to be quite a sport!

Mist from fountains doing water ballets to music helped cool us off as we were mingling with the masses making their way up Montjuic on that very warm day.

Montjuic Park sits atop a rocky hill that is at a height of 173 metres in Barcelona.

The building that dominates the top of the hill as one approaches it from the street level is the Castle which was used by the military for many years. It now houses a Military Museum.

Many beautiful gardens are located at the top of Montjuic and we simply caught a glimpse of some of them as we were moving en masse towards the stadium.

There is a Spanish Village on Montjuic which is housed behind walls and shows replicas of buildings from all over Spain.

Museums of many types are also in this area of the city. We were able to spend some time in the Miro Foundation on another day when we came back for one of the Olympic events - Men's Diving.

Obviously one could spend many days on Montjuic exploring all of the many different venues, but that was not our goal of this eventful day.

The many fountains continued to provide a spectacle of aquatic beauty and much appreciated mist as we kept climbing the hill.

Once atop the hill and past the Castle, we caught our first look at the structure that would be lit later that evening and burn as the Olympic torch throughout the summer games.

All 70,000 people entering the Olympic Stadium had to go through security which included a metal detector and all handbags were search.

Many mounted police were in evidence.

Opening Ceremonies Festivities Begin!

The mayor of Barcelona, Pasqual Maragall, and the president of the International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch welcomed everyone to the Olympics in Barcelona. King Juan Carlos I declared the XXV Olympiad games open.

Borne by six Spanish Olympic athletes and two volunteers, the Olympic flag entered the stadium to much fanfare.

A memorial to cities and athletes that participated in the past Olympics was completed.

The XXV Olympic Games were inaugurated with the most beautiful of ceremonies.

80 musicians sounded the Olympic opening and over 800 performers dressed in colorful outfits representing flowers and birds welcomed one and all with the word of friendship, Hola!

The rose is the symbol of Catalonia and these first photos show the symbolic flower.

Opening ceremony images of the Olympics in Barcelona

Opening ceremonies begin with these colorfully dressed performers
Opening ceremonies begin with these colorfully dressed performers | Source
Symbol of a rose
Symbol of a rose | Source

This video shows some scenery around Barcelona and part of the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.

2 seats over from me these folks were dispaying a FREEDOM FOR CATALONIA banner which was removed by security
2 seats over from me these folks were dispaying a FREEDOM FOR CATALONIA banner which was removed by security | Source

Catalonian Pride

Several seats over from where I was seated were some folks showing not only a Catalonia flag, but a Freedom for Catalonia banner. Security from both ends of the row in which we were seated approached them and coerced them into giving the banner up to them to be removed.

They complied peacefully of which I was happy.

The Welcome

Montserrat Caballe and Jose Carreras sang the Welcome while 600 dancers who were dressed in white danced the thousand-year-old sardana, the dance of Catalonia. They ended up joining hands and forming the five Olympic rings which symbolize the Olympic Games

At one point white doves were released all at once filling the stadium with the fluttering of wings and it was a thrilling sight to watch them disappear into the evening skies overhead.

Opening Olympic ceremony images / Barcelona

Symbol of the Olympics
Symbol of the Olympics | Source
Birds released and fly off into the evening sky
Birds released and fly off into the evening sky | Source

Sun, Hercules and Mediterranean Sea

The red and yellow flame like costumes represented the sun and the sun is an attribute of Hercules.

The legend told by this part of opening ceremonies has Hercules setting off under the protection of the sun on a journey to see the world. The blue garbed people become representative of the Mediterranean sea.

A ship sets out onto the sea but they are attacked by monsters.

Victorious at last, the men found a city and legend has it that city became Barcelona.

This glorious site was accompanied by music and much theatrics.

At one point we were all invited to don our sun-like masks and the entire audience was suddenly a part of the scenery. To this day I have kept one of those souvenir masks.

Opening Ceremony images from Olympics in Barcelona

These flame like costumes represented the sun
These flame like costumes represented the sun | Source
We don our masks and the audience becomes part of the scenery
We don our masks and the audience becomes part of the scenery | Source
Blue costumes represent the Mediterranean Sea
Blue costumes represent the Mediterranean Sea | Source
Hercules sets out aboard ship to see the world
Hercules sets out aboard ship to see the world | Source
Accosted by different perils and monsters they come out victorious and establish the city of Barcelona
Accosted by different perils and monsters they come out victorious and establish the city of Barcelona | Source

"O sole mio" by Placido Domingo (a little extra thrown in here for those who enjoy his marvelous voice.)

Land of Passion

This next bit of theatrics was thunderous as 360 drummers descended from the steps of the stands and made their way on down to the field all the while pounding out a rhythmic pattern on their drums. Another 300 muscians joined them in the center of the stadium.

Placido Domingo then began to sing a love serenade to a woman wearing a red dress who was riding a black stallion. It was Cristina Hoyos who happens to be a world renowned flamenco dancer.

Flamenco then takes center stage and ends the drama with style and grace.

Opening Ceremony images of Olympics in Barcelona

Drummers in black with flamenco dancers in center
Drummers in black with flamenco dancers in center | Source
Cristina Hoyos (flamenco dancer) on the black stallion
Cristina Hoyos (flamenco dancer) on the black stallion | Source

The Parade of Athletes

172 teams of athletes from around the world started pouring into Olympic Stadium one team at a time. This was a proud moment for almost everyone involved and much cheering and flag waving took place as the stadium started to fill with the colors and members from each team.

The athletes were grouped by delegation and the Olympic field at the end is a mixture of colors holding approximately 12,000 plus individuals.

Some of the athletes who were to compete early the next morning did not take part in this ceremony so as to preserve their stamina for the games hoping to win Olympic medals for their respective countries.

Parade of Athletes, Olympic stadium, Barcelona

Preparing for the parade of athletes
Preparing for the parade of athletes | Source
Approximately 12,000 athletes and managers on the field of Olympic stadium.
Approximately 12,000 athletes and managers on the field of Olympic stadium. | Source

Olympic Torch is Lit and the Finale

Wouldn't you know...I had to run out of film!

The Human Pyramids were unable to be captured on film. This was an amazing spectacle!

2,174 men and women climbed on top of one another forming 12 living pyramids on the stadium field. It symbolized the twelve countries building a European community.

It was dark when the Olympic torch entered the stadium and laps were run by the bearers ultimately passing the flame to an archer. This was a moment of high drama as the archer shot the flame lit arrow up to ignite the cauldron atop the Gate of Olympic Stadium. We all held our breath hoping that he would hit his mark.....and he did to much applause and cheering.

This Olympic fire would continue to burn day and night until the close of Olympic competitions.

During the course of this opening ceremony we were entertained by some wonderful music including the official song, Friends for Life, composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Famous opera singers that were an integral part of this ceremony included Placido Domingo, Montserrat Caballe, Jose Carreras, Jaume Aragall, Teresa Berganza and Joan Pons.

The evening was culminated by a roar of spectacular fireworks!

We started the exodus down the hill catching final views of the illuminated buildings and fountains. Catching a 1:30 AM charter flight to Mallorca, we finally got to bed after 3:00 AM.

In subsequent days we were to see some Olympic games and more of Barcelona and the beautiful Island of Mallorca. But being able to be a part of an opening ceremony event for the Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona will always live on in our memories.

Do you like watching Olympic Games?

See results without voting
A marker -
Barcelona, Spain
[get directions]

Did you like this article? If so, please take time to give it a star rating. Thank you!

5 out of 5 stars from 2 ratings of Opening ceremonies / Summer Olympics, / Barcelona, Spain

© 2009 Peggy Woods

More by this Author


Comments 24 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hello wilrhoades,

Glad that you are glad. Were you at the summer Olympic Games in Barcelona or did you see the opening ceremony on television?


wilrhoades profile image

wilrhoades 5 years ago

Glad to see this page.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Cheryl,

Visiting Barcelona, Spain during the Olympics...especially the opening ceremony...is a trip that we will never forget. Glad you enjoyed seeing a bit of it via this hub and thanks for your comment.


Cheryl J. profile image

Cheryl J. 5 years ago from Houston, TX

Wonderful. Barcelona has to be an unforgettable and beautiful place to visit. Looks like a city full of suprises, and you get much more than you actually expect. The Montjuïc tour has to be the best. Lots of history to cherish. Great information, photos and videos of Barcelona. I am putting Barcelona Spain on my wish list as well, as many of the other exciting places you have toured. Great hub.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hello Margaflores,

Cobi was a really cute mascot for the Barcelona olympic games. We saw him in many places, obviously. Excitement was everywhere in the streets leading up to the opening ceremony which, as you say, was absolutely beautiful. Like you...we will always hold those memories dear.

Were you a teacher or a classmate in those days?

Thanks for your visit and comment.


    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working