A video of the colorful opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou is going viral on social media. The event had several spectacular elements, but the highlight was a giant computer-generated torchbearer running across the Qiantang River and lighting a ceremonial flame at the Olympic Sport Center Stadium. The shiny, golden figure carries the flame to the stadium where the games begin with the theme ‘Tides Surging in Asia’ – the mixing of China, Asia and the world in the new era, as well as the unity, love and friendship of the Asian people.
The opening ceremony of the Asian Games took place in Hangzhou, China. pic.twitter.com/H1U180qD3Z
— Tansu YEĞEN (@TansuYegen) September 24, 2023
Now, South China Morning Mail (SCMP) has said in a report that the CGI figure has been given a name: Xiao Huomiao, which means “little flame” in Mandarin.
It was made by filming the movements of Gao Yu, a student at Guangzhou Yuyan Middle School in the city’s Huangpu district.
S.C.M.P claimed that the teenager was chosen from 100 million applicants because he met the criteria of “being tall with a good posture, a sports background and strong arms”.
For the filming, Gao was dressed in a black CGI suit with green and yellow pads and had to perform various movements and actions while holding one of the ceremonial torches.
“Although I didn’t actually appear, it was a very valuable experience to be able to participate in the opening ceremony and even light the cauldron,” Gao said.
The CGI figure ran through the city towards the stadium as several former Olympic champions from China passed flaming torches to the next person on their way to the stadium.
Xiao Huomiao wasn’t the only piece of computer-generated wizardry at the event; those watching at home were treated to an AI-generated fireworks display as the ceremony came to a close.
After a year’s postponement due to China’s now abandoned zero-Covid policy, the Asian Games kicked off with more than 12,000 competitors from 45 countries and territories competing in 40 sports.
The almost full 80,000 capacity ‘Big Lotus’ Stadium was elegantly decorated for the occasion and welcomed the athletes from the participating countries, including India, with loud cheers.