117th Session: One Voice, One Rhythm, One World
With the Olympic anthem, performed by Khor Ai Ming, Satsuki Nagatore and William Lim, followed by the Singaporean national anthem, the 117th Session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) opened on 5 July at a ceremony organised at the Esplanade Theatre in Singapore.
A great moment for Singapore
Hosting the IOC Session for the first time, the Singapore NOC made every effort to make the opening evening unforgettable for IOC members, delegations from the five candidate cities and guests gathered on this occasion. The ceremony was hosted by the former fencer who is now a journalist, Nicholas Fang, and TV presenter Vivien Tan, and its Artistic Director was Glen Goei, who has, during his career, organised the last two parades for National Day celebrations as well as many shows musicals, reviews, etc.
Mr Ng Ser Miang who is President of the Session Organising Committee and IOC member, underlined in his speech, “this Session is a great moment for Singaporeans to be able to join the world in spirit and embrace the values of Olympism – of hope, equality, respect for others, friendship and fair play, dreams and inspiration, joy in effort. To Singapore, hosting the Session is the next best thing to hosting the Olympic Games. It is also a unique opportunity for us to contribute to the Olympic Movement”.
A Session at an Excellent Time for the IOC
After thanking his Singaporean hosts for their marvellous hospitality, IOC President Jacques Rogge declared at the outset that “this 117th IOC Session will be very important and comes at a time in which the IOC is in an excellent state. The Olympic Movement has just enjoyed a series of Olympic Winter and Summer Games of extremely high quality … The IOC has been able to affirm its values by making important progress in our first priority, the fight against doping, in both Salt Lake City and Athens. This reinforces the trust of the athletes in clean competition, and that of the general public in the image of the Games”.
Concerning the important choices that the IOC members would be called upon to make during this Session, Rogge observed that “the election of the host city for the 2012 Games will not be easy in view of the very high quality of the candidates. … Four cities will, of course, be deeply disappointed, but they should know that a candidature, even if it is not selected, leaves a tangible legacy.” Regarding the Olympic programme for 2012, “the decision of the IOC members will have a great impact on the athletes, including those whose sports are currently on the programme and those whose sports aspire to one day be part of it.” The IOC President concluded on an optimistic note: “The future of the Olympic Movement and the IOC is promising. This Session will allow us to prepare well for tomorrow.”
A vibrant Singapore on the stage
With “One Voice, One Rhythm, One World”, the audience was offered an avant-garde performance, inspired by the rhythm of Singapore’s soul, taking them on an exceptional journey of sights and sounds through the eyes of its lead character. After a traditional Malay dance combined with graceful silat moves, the young performers offered an even more upbeat and energetic performance with drums beating as young martial arts disciples displayed their pugilistic skills. And for the final number, the 300 performers took the stage again, combined with a chorus of voices, showcasing the vibrant fabric of Singapore’s multicultural diversity, vitality and unity.
An orchid for the IOC
Shortly before the Prime Minister of Singapore, Hsien Loong Lee, declared the 117th IOC Session open, the audience witnessed an unusual event for a Session: the naming of an orchid which will in future be known as Vanda “IOC”. The orchid, the national flower and symbol of Singapore, today embodies the energy and vitality of the Olympic Movement.