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Olympic opening uses girl's voice, not face

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BEIJING - One little girl had the looks. The other had the voice. So in a last-minute move demanded by one of China's highest officials, the two were put together for the Olympic opening ceremony, with one lip-synching "Ode to the Motherland" over the other's singing.

The real singer, 7-year-old Yang Peiyi, with her chubby face and crooked baby teeth, wasn't good looking enough for the ceremony, its chief music director told state-owned Beijing Radio.

So the pigtailed Lin Miaoke, a veteran of television ads, mouthed the words with a pixie smile for a stadium of 91,000 and a worldwide TV audience. "I felt so beautiful in my red dress," the tiny 9-year-old told the China Daily newspaper.

Peiyi later told China Central Television that just having her voice used was an honor.

It was the latest example of the lengths the image-obsessed China is taking to create a perfect Summer Games.

In a brief phone interview with AP Television News on Tuesday night, the music director, Chen Qigang, said he spoke about the switch with Beijing Radio "to come out with the truth."

"The little girl is a magnificent singer," Chen said. "She doesn't deserve to be hidden." He said the ceremony's director, film director Zhang Yimou, knew of the change. He declined to speak further about it.

China has been eager to present a flawless Olympics face to the world, shooing thousands of migrant workers from the city and shutting down any sign of protest.

The country's quest for perfection apparently includes its children.

A member of China's Politburo asked for the last-minute change during a live rehearsal shortly before the ceremony, Chen said in the Beijing Radio interview, posted online Sunday night. He didn't name the official.

During the live rehearsal, the Politburo member said Miaoke's voice "must change," Chen said.

"We had to make that choice. It was fair both for Lin Miaoke and Yang Peiyi," Chen told Beijing Radio. "We combined the perfect voice and the perfect performance."

"The audience will understand that it's in the national interest," Chen added.

He said he felt a responsibility to explain to the country what happened but on Tuesday the link to the video on the Beijing Radio Web site no longer worked.

Miaoke's performance Friday night, like the ceremony itself, was an immediate hit. "Nine-year-old Lin Miaoke becomes instant star with patriotic song," the China Daily newspaper headline said.

Zhang, China's most famous film director, was asked at a post-ceremony news conference about the little girl who swung on wires high above the Bird's Nest National Stadium during the performance.

"She is a lovely girl and she sings well," Zhang said, according to a transcript posted on the Beijing organizing committee's web site.

The switch became a hot topic among Chinese and raced across the country's blogosphere.

"The organizers really messed up on this one," Luo Shaoyang, 34, a retail worker in Beijing, said Tuesday. "This is like a voiceover for a cartoon character. Why couldn't they pick a kid who is both cute and a good singer? This damages the reputation of both kids for their future, especially the one lip-synching. Now everyone knows she's a fraud, who cares if she's cute?"

Others disagreed.

"They want the best-looking people to represent the face of China. I don't blame the organizers for picking a prettier-looking kid over the not-so-pretty one," said Xia Xiaotao, 30, an engineer.

"It's the unfortunate reality that these sort of things turn political," said marketing worker Zhang Xinyi, 22.

It was not the first time an Olympics opening ceremony involved lip-synching.

At the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Luciano Pavarotti's performance was prerecorded. The maestro who conducted the aria, Leone Magiera, said this year that the bitter cold made a live performance impossible for Pavarotti, who was in severe pain months before his cancer diagnosis. Pavarotti died in 2007 at age 71.

Also Tuesday, Beijing organizers confirmed that some of the opening ceremony's fireworks display — 29 gigantic footprints shown "walking" toward the National Stadium — featured prerecorded footage. The footage was provided to broadcasters "for convenience and theatrical effects," said Wang Wei, vice president of the Beijing Olympic organizing committee.

(NBC also has augmented its Olympic coverage in the past to set the right mood. That fire in the studio fireplace during the 2002 Salt Lake Games? It was just a video.)

Neither of the two little girls involved could be reached by The Associated Press on Tuesday, and it was not clear how the ceremony — or the controversy — might change their lives.

Peiyi is a first-grader at the Primary School affiliated to Peking University. Her tutor, Wang Liping, wrote in her blog that Peiyi is both cute and well-behaved, with a love for Peking opera.

"She doesn't like to show off. She's easygoing," Wang wrote. She and other school officials couldn't be reached Tuesday.

Miaoke, however, was a minor celebrity even before the opening ceremony. The third-grader appeared in a TV ad last year with China's biggest gold medal hope, hurdling champion Liu Xiang, and she was in an Olympics ad earlier this year, China Daily reported.

Her father, Lin Hui, told China Daily he learned Miaoke would be "singing" only 15 minutes before the opening ceremony began.

Lin "still cannot believe his daughter has become an international singing sensation," the report said.

Meh, Its terrible because its children we're talking about here... but the rest of the world is no different. We only accept performers on their sexual appeal and when it comes to the music field looks are more important than talent in the popular music genre. Instead of replacing the person, we just replace the voice with digital enhancement.


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That's pretty sad. Have you heard of the story where just 2-3 days before the Olympics, one of the main dancers (famous and in her early/ mid 20s) was practicing as usual and the ramp (which wasn't protected well) gave way, leaving permanently immobile shoulder down >_>.


I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

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That truly sucks. But the girl still seems to be happy about just being able to sing, so I guess it's still a win win. I'm sure she would be even more happier to sing in front of people but what can ya do :(?


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I heard Americans are loyal to their college football teams than care for the Olympics. It's typical for them to nitpick on something minor as this. This isn't even news imo. E.Asians are doing fine in the Olympics and that's all that matters right now.


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She had the voice but not the face... I wonder if Simon Cowell was involved somehow :P


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Wow. China is trying too hard to hard with the perfect image thing. I wouldn't expose my kids to this kind of attention because of how they are judged based on physical appearence. Could damage their self image early on.


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The thing is, China hasn't been much in the spotlight on the global front, and this is their chance, like every other country that's been given the opportunity to host something this big on a global scale. I don't blame them ... taking it too far? Maybe.


I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

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I heard Americans are loyal to their college football teams than care for the Olympics. It's typical for them to nitpick on something minor as this. This isn't even news imo. E.Asians are doing fine in the Olympics and that's all that matters right now.

College football depends on the region, and is a pretty small market nationally compared to the NFL. Where ever you heard that was a very misinformed source. In college football, BCS national championship gets a respectable viewer rating, and so far the Olympics are averaging equal to better on a daily basis. I'm pretty sure Michael Phelps is the biggest thing going on in the national spotlight as of right now.

The BBC reported on this pretty much before anyone else. Of course they used headlines like ugly, and crooked teeth, so I used the Yahoo source instead.


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Considering I used the word loyal, I haven't heard Michael Phelps in 4 years since the Athens, until now.

College football? State football? Yea, it is daily basis that Americans are talking about throughout years, meanwhile the whole world are obsessed with "soccer" which is their national sports and it is in the Olympics. Americans are loyal to their football teams and doesn't give a rats ass about the Olympics other than entertainment means.

Did you watch the Olympic primaries? They try to make stars out of every damn American athletes, appearing on Good morning America and whatnot, and yet they don't even make a cut on the Olympic tryout. What if Michael Phelps is the next Marion Jones, who forfeited her medals and sent to jail for steroid charges? Will Americans care? Will Americans think badly of their national image as a result? I doubt it. It is their yearning for reality TV shows and it's nothing more to them than that.

Someone asked my tennis coach today about Olympics. He said he didn't give a *blank*. Lmao. Of course, he doesn't represent the entire Americans, but that's the attitude of most Americans concerning the Olympics. Many tennis players value the US Open than the Olympics.


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@Slippers, you cant group every American up and label them as the type of people that don't give a shit about the Olympics or it's meaning. America is large and full of different people. We're not all like your tennis coach, most of us do care greatly for the Olympics.

College football? State football? Yea, it is daily basis that Americans are talking about throughout years, meanwhile the whole world are obsessed with "soccer" which is their national sports and it is in the Olympics. Americans are loyal to their football teams and doesn't give a rats ass about the Olympics other than entertainment means.

Just out of curiosity what is the Olympics to you? If its not entertainment and it's not about peace, then what is it? Personally I found your comment a bit redundant. The world loves soccer and America loves football but for some reason you label America as hating the Olympics? I'm confused...

Anyway, not trying to start a fight or anything I just don't like people generalizing all the American people as having one opinion about something.


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Apolo Ohno was voted the most annoying guy of the year in 2006 in the US. No nations would disrespect their Olympic athletes as such. It wasn't his fault. Media over exposed him too much, winning gold for the US in winter Olympics. He disappeared fast. I thought that was funny too.

I'm an American myself but I get sick of watching NBC praising American Olympians yet talk shit about Asian athletes. Have you watched how they kept on and on about how short Japanese Beach volleyball women were? How they keep brining up craps after another like gold medalists Chinese women are underaged? Fake fireworks? Fake girl singing? I'm just fed up at how these Western media portrays Asian countries and Asians, as if it isn't enough how they portray Asian Americans. Isn't Americans lipsynch in their superbowl (heh, another reference to football) as well?

Russia and Georgia is at war, yet CNN shows white people getting arrested for human rights in China. Where are they in Iraq or Georgia where they are mostly needed? Why only in China? What was the biggest "entertainment" when the war broke out? John Edwards' affair first. It's a freaking circus.

There's nothing bad about what Americans like. It's their attitude of ignorance about different culture and their arrogance that pisses me off. Why care about what Chinese do, which they worked hard for years to accomplish? Just enjoy the damn show and get over the fears of evil commie.

Anyway, not trying to start a fight or anything I just don't like people generalizing all the American people as having one opinion about something.

Me neither. I'm not directing my views at any of people in AC here. But I honestly think Americans value the football over the Olympics.

Edited by slippers

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I kinda disagree with some things, Slippers. The other local stuff I have no clue about X'D. But let's see ... in India, the most expensive sport + the sport where players are paid more + the sport with more fans = Cricket. Obviously, this ticks off all other athletes, be it in any other sport which needs funds/ money. But, that's common to most nations. I can imagine Ice Hockey to be the favorite sport of Canada, or Soccer in Spain, or Rugby in New Zealand. For obvious reasons, Baseball would be regarded more viewable/ likable/ accessible a sport in the US, than in ... say the UAE. And, that's common. I love Formula 1 racing, but Nascar is more popular here, and a part of US culture. Soccer might not be, so it's a given that it may not be as popular as it is in Europe.

Honestly, most of my US buds are watching the Olympics or keeping tabs on their athletes, and the country's progress. Some music forums have lengthy discussions on their Olympics topics, etc. My pals in India are doing that too with Indian athletes. I don't see a reason why they shouldn't appear on the Daily News or other talk shows - it motivates them that someone cares/ knows who's representing the nation (maybe), but that's just my opinion hehehe. I respect your opinion Slippers, pretty interesting and you should be sleeping at 3 am!!

Off Topic:

I was up till 5 reading, didn't realize the entire night went by ... Hajime No Ippo was that awesome!


I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

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They made a big deal about scouting David Beckham to the US a few years ago and the only thing I heard about him so far was about his fashion than soccer. O_O

I don't see news like this making a headline though, since the US care so much about integrity of others..cough.

IAAF scrap United States 4x400m relay time for doping

Will Michael Phelps be treated differently if he was Chinese? Yea, they'd probably be demanding for his drug test results, since he is breaking world records all the time, it is kinda suspicious, even though they say he is being tested at each race. How do we know if there's a drug that evade such tests?

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I respect your opinion Slippers, pretty interesting and you should be sleeping at 3 am!!

I respect yours too. There was an Indian guy in my class last semester and it was power point project talking about our interests, maximum of 15 mins. He talked about Cricket for 45 mins until he was stopped because others wanted to do their presentation too LOL. And Puerto Rican guy talked about his love for soccer. An American talked about love for her dog..

Speaking of a dog, there's no point of me sleeping. :\ Across from my house, there's a dog that barks all day and night. It is so random so I even hear dog's barking when it isn't. I'm really ticked about it. I even sent a complaint letter to him. Sometimes he complies, other time he lets his dog bark for hours. Surprisingly though, since I thought it was only me that bothered, one of other neighbors sent a note to an old lady who lives right next door, also with barking dogs. I was happy to hear that since I'm not the only one who was bothered by it. I'm thinking of calling an animal control. I hate selfish people like that who only regard for themselves. It's a noise pollution. I can't even study or read, and much less sleep comfortably in my room since last December.

Edited by slippers

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I respect yours too. There was an Indian guy in my class last semester and it was power point project talking about our interests, maximum of 15 mins. He talked about Cricket for 45 mins until he was stopped because others wanted to do their presentation too LOL.
Off Topic:

^_^; HAHAHAHA!! Everyone in India's a cricket fanatic, I am too, but I support the Australian Cricket team. Been a fan of them since late 94, and before the World Cup was hosted primarily by India in 96 (which boosted the sport's popularity). Whenever there was an India vs Aussie match, and India would lose, believe me there'd be dead silence in the neighborhood (otherwise people burst crackers!!), and there'd be one loud flat in the apartment building, me and my bro jumping/ calling up our friends to tell them their team lost/ etc. etc. X'D.


I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

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As GG pointed out, everyone has their national sport. In England it is Cricket, in most of the rest of western Europe it's Soccer, In eastern Europe Basketball is about to surpass soccer. Canada is all about hockey, and in Central America its baseball fever. In America is the National Football League. In the US its Daytona 500 and in France its Le Mans.

Of course the American media is going to pump up its athletes over everyone else. I'm sure you could go and watch it in any other country and you would see the exact same thing. Its national bias. I didn't see the telecast of china's volleyball team, but its a fact that being short in volleyball puts you at a sever disadvantage, especially when you face off against the US team which features women that are above average in height. Genes and Culture have a lot to do with a nations success in the Olympics.

For instants: China was absolutely amazing in Gymnastics and in Sync diving. Asians typically have smaller and lighter frames, their athletes are very agile. This gives them the advantage in causing less splash when diving, as opposed to the much larger and thicker Canadians I observed. They could have the same exact talent and technique, but the Canadians would have a slight disadvantage... of course the Canada was no where near as good as China in the women's sync diving, but just as an example.

The Germans have a pretty low medal count right now, with a few exceptions they aren't known too well for their indoor sports, they're outdoorsmen. When track and field events start rolling, their medal count will probably skyrocket into the top 5. They generally have more stock to their frame giving them a strength edge.

The Aussie women are phenomenal at swimming, they blew everyone away on the relay yesterday. Water is their culture.

Again I didn't see the telecast of the volleyball, so I really couldn't say if they were being dissrepectful or not. If China was losing they coud have been trying to explain to viewers that don't understand volleyball the dissadvantage china had. Generally American sports annoucers tend to repeat stuff frequently because of TV watching habits. People flip in and out between channels whether it be commericals or they're trying to watch two things at once. In case someone just tuned it, they won't miss whatever was said. It is annoying at times... espeically when your team is not doing well, I personally know that feeling.

One of my friends has digital cable with 3 olympic channels. the annoucing tactic is for people like them. >_<


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Another thing to point out is whoever hosts the Olympics is typically always being compared to past years. The whole world is watching after all.

Thats why things like smog and Chinese citizens getting kicked out of their homes are popping up. The world is watching and they all want to report on it to as many people as they can.

Off Topic:

a bit off topic but did anyone read the thing about one or two of the china gymnasts being under the legal age to compete? I guess you have to be 16 or older and one or two of them where like 15 XD. I'm not really sure if thats cheating or not but if a 15 year old can beat 16-18 year olds in the unparalleled bars then thats pretty amazing. They should just remove the age limit.

Theres also another rumor that Russia may lose it's right to host the Olympics in the upcoming future Olympics because they broke the "time of peace" rule on opening day by going to war with Georgia. I wonder if the Olympic comity will let it slide. Didn't Georgia start the fight anyway? O well :S.


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Pulled this from Yahoo Anwers:

There is no age limit for athletes at the Olympics. Under International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules, international federations governing each sport may set age requirements.

I believe you're taking the age issue in gymnastics (most specifically the Chineses) and confusing it with the requirements in diving.

The gymnastics governing body set the age limit to be no younger than 16 during the Olympic year. This was a safety issue that the international community came up with. They deemed it was not adviseable for athletes that were still developing muscularly and skeletally to compete in the Olympics. (I don't know why. They have World Junior Championships. What's the difference?)

Swimming and diving have no age limit. There's no safety issue that FINA (the international governing body) feels should limit the age. The best athlete independent of their age should compete.


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Pulled this from Yahoo Anwers:

Thats good to hear that theres no age limit. Would have sucked if China lost one of their gold medalists because of it.


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Off Topic:

a bit off topic but did anyone read the thing about one or two of the china gymnasts being under the legal age to compete? I guess you have to be 16 or older and one or two of them where like 15 XD. I'm not really sure if thats cheating or not but if a 15 year old can beat 16-18 year olds in the unparalleled bars then thats pretty amazing. They should just remove the age limit.

You've also got to understand that at some sports, as you grow older, it works to your disadvantage. So, it's not a surprise for a 15 year old to beat 16-18 year olds. Edited by Godgrave

I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

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When it comes to the summer olympics I usually watch swimming and gymnastics, flippin people entertain me and neither sport is massivly publicized on US tv

and now great tragedy in lipsinking X'D

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Pulled this from Yahoo Anwers:

hmm I'm not sure what to think now. I just read this new article about yet another Chinese kid they thought was under 16. http://www.nbcolympics.com/gymnastics/news/newsid=213588.html?_source=rss&cid=

Apparently there is some kind of age limit for Olympic Gymnastics.

Gymnasts have to be 16 during the Olympic year to be eligible for the games.

But as it turns out he was 16 and so was the girl that everyone thought was 14 or 15.


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