A Classic Spectacle

With a theatrical nod to its mythology and rich history-- and without a hitch--Athens brought the Olympic Games home in a dazzling fashion

The Olympic opening ceremonies are usually where good intentions and bad taste merge into something profoundly silly--and there was no reason to expect anything different from Athens 2004. With the weight of ancient mythology, Olympic history and western civilization piled on its nervous shoulders, surely the Greeks would give us papier-mache Argonauts fleeing from an angry Zeus robot. Or a children's chorus performing a Zorba medley at the Acropolis. Or at least Yanni. But last Friday, Athens introduced a surprising new element to the show: class, or at least its cousin, restraint. History was referenced by way of crisp video from...