1992 - As this was the final year in which both the summer and winter games occurred, there was double the ceremonies! In Barcelona, the cauldron was lit by an archer with a flaming arrow, and in Albertville, there was an aerial ballet performed by dozens of dancers suspended by bungee cords. I told myself I wasn't going to post videos in this timeline, but I couldn't look away!
1994 - Not only were there giant Olympic rings formed entirely by people wearing the appropriate colors, the cauldron of the Lillehammer games was lit after a torch relay that included an in-ceremony ski jump. Seriously.
1996 - Clearly the ceremonies of the '90s were all about doing their cauldron lightings really big, because in Atlanta, Muhammad Ali was the one who had that honor.
1998 - Nagano's opening ceremony featured an iconic performance of Ode to Joy by the Japanese Symphony Orchestra. Some even consider it one of the first flashmobs, as the entire audience -- and choruses and crowds watching live around the world -- chimed in in unison.
2000 - Not only did Sydney's ceremony feature a giant banner screaming "G'DAY!" but there was also an underwater sequence featuring intense blue lights and gigantic sea creatures.
2002 - Okay, call me biased, but I think the fact that the 1980 gold medal men's hockey team lit the cauldron is basically the coolest thing ever. EVER.
2004 - The Athens ceremony created one of the most iconic images of the Olympic rings ever, as they burst into flame in the middle of a lake in the stadium. There was also a living timeline of Greek history; the ceremony was simple, but very classy and appropriate for the games held in the birthplace of the Olympics.
2006 - Holy mass choreography, Batman! Torino delivered like a pro. There was a beating heart and a ski jumper that simulated the movement of a jump, made entirely of people. Mind = blown. There were also speed skaters with flames coming out of their helmets and a race car that did donuts in the middle of the field of play. Viva Italia!
2008 - What can be said about Beijing that hasn't already been said a million times? It was part awe inspiring and part terrifying, changed the game, raised the bar... I'm sure you've heard them all. While all of it was fantastic, I think the drummers will always take the cake, at least in my mind!
2010 - Vancouver did some absolutely amazing things with lights! The audience sparkled the entire time, and somehow they made the floor of the stadium look like water with whales swimming through it, complete with spray from blowholes.
2012 - TBA. ;)