The Olympic Games opens

Did you watch the Olympic Games opening ceremony? Did you see athletes from your country entering the stadium? Did you feel proud?

Nick Willis, the silver-medal winner of the 1500m race at Beijing carried the New Zealand flag into the stadium. He looked very happy to have this honour. The New Zealand athletes were wearing their black track suit with the silver fern and Southern Cross stars on the right side of the shirt.

Our team came after The Netherlands. Countries are in alphabetical order although Greece is always first – to honour the origin of the Olympic Games – and the host country is always last.

New Zealand had only 60 athletes marching into the stadium out of the team of 185. Athletes who will be performing in the next few days do not usually march at the opening ceremony. They spend the time preparing themselves physically and mentally for their performance. Also some athletes have not yet arrived in London. For example, the 2008 gold medal shot-putter, Valerie Adams, will arrive later in the week.

Already today, New Zealand rowers and road cyclists are racing. Every day, there will be some New Zealanders performing.

New Zealanders have won 90 medals since the first New Zealand medal in1908. In Beijing, New Zealand athletes won 9 medals. If they win10 this year, that would bring the total to 100.


They spend the time preparing … Note: spend time …ing e.g. spend time working / sunbathing / doing homework / sleeping


1. How do athletes prepare themselves physically and mentally a day or two before their event?
2. Do you think 100 is a special number? What about 99? What about 101?
3. Why do we feel proud of our country’s athletes?
4. The opening ceremony celebrated the history, literature, famous people and music of the host country. Did you enjoy it? If your country celebrated these things, what would it show?
5. What about the cost of the opening ceremony? It obviously cost a lot of money. Do you think it is necessary to spend so much money?


  1. Why is the headline “the Olympic Games opens” please, with the third-person-singular S at the end of open…aren’t the Olympic Games plural? So shouldn’t it be: “The Olympic Games open”?

  2. A good point. Often the Olympic Games is seen as an event and this is why it can be treated as a singular event but it is equally correct to use the plural: the Olympic Games open.

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