The Top 5 Most Memorable Olympic Opening Ceremonies

The opening ceremonies for the Olympic games are almost as important as the events itself; they set the mood for the entire games.

So, we can expect the London 2012 games to have an earthy feel when Danny Boyle's farmyard-themed opening ceremony kicks things off. There will be sheep and rain involved. Yes, sheep and rain.

Not quite as impressive as say, jetpacks and dancing Terracotta armies. 

But there have been some spectacular starts over the years and here are five of the best.

5. Athens, 2004

A hastily prepared ceremony but pretty spectacular, save for the smug little boy riding an origami boat across some water. Erm...

4. Atlanta, 1996

A typically brash American opening, culminated in arguably the greatest sportsman ever Mohammed Ali lighting the Olympic flame. Parkinson's disease had robbed the boxing great of his famous swagger, but the image of him lighting the tourch is Olympic history.

3. Barcelona, 1992

This one is memorable for paralympic archer Antonio Rebollo lighting the Olympic flame with an arrow. It looked, well, pretty darn amazing.

2. Los Angeles, 1984

A man flies in on a jetpack. Yes, a jetpack. In 1984. We literally don't need to say anything else.

1. Beijing, 2008

Thousands of strictly organised dancers and musicians perform the most rigidly beautiful choreographed performance en masse. It was what we expected, only much, much better.