Mostly Cloudy78° WeatherMostly Cloudy78° Weather

Olympic opening ceremony used the girl's voice, not face

Lin Miaoke is the 9-year-old Chinese girl who lip-synched Ode to the Motherland at Friday’s opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Xinhua News Agency via Associated Press

Lin Miaoke is the 9-year-old Chinese girl who lip-synched Ode to the Motherland at Friday’s opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Beijing.

BEIJING — China's $100-million Olympics opening ceremony Friday, the most expensive and lavish in history, set a standard for spectacle and pizzazz and impressed viewers around the world.

But organizers apparently misrepresented some elements in their quest for perfection.

When Lin Miaoke, 9, belted out Ode to the Motherland as the Chinese flag entered the national stadium, she became an instant celebrity and was quickly dubbed a "smiling angel."

But she apparently wasn't the one singing. Chen Qigang, the ceremony's music director, told state broadcaster CCTV that the voice hundreds of millions of people heard was that of Yang Peiyi, 7. Yang had the voice and was supposed to perform but was yanked at the last minute because she had crooked teeth.

"It was for the national interest," Chen told CCTV. "The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feelings and expression."

A photo of Peiyi posted Tuesday on popular Web site Sina.com shows a smiling girl with bangs and crooked teeth. A China News Service story posted with the photo says a China Central Television reporter asked Peiyi whether she felt regret over the opening ceremony.

Peiyi said just having her voice used for the opening ceremony was an honor.

Another sleight-of-hand involved the fireworks display that exploded the length of Beijing at the culmination of the ceremony. The display was real, involving 29 pyrotechnic "footprints" exploded sequentially from Tiananmen Square to the Olympic Village.

But the 55-second version that most TV viewers saw was an animated three-dimensional studio re-creation, Gao Xiaolong, visual-effects team leader at the Crystal Stone animation company, told the Beijing Times. Only the last "footprint" closest to the stadium known as the Bird's Nest was filmed in real time.

Many viewers also did not realize that most of the 15,000 "volunteer" performers were from the army or paramilitary.

The Beijing organizers weren't the first to use lip-syncing for an Olympic performance. Luciano Pavarotti did so at the Turin Winter Games in 2006, although it was his own voice and he was in great pain from pancreatic cancer. He died in September.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Olympic opening ceremony used the girl's voice, not face 08/12/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 12, 2008 10:07pm]

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Los Angeles Times.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...