The Olympics is ostensibly a sporting event, but the spectacle fully flowers at the opening ceremony.
Each year viewers wait to see how the organizers will combine music, dancing and performance art into one moving whole that reflects the host country.
The 2008 Beijing Olympics set the bar in terms of scale. Its ceremony reportedly cost $100 million compared to the $42 million estimated price tag of London’s ceremony.
But bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. That’s why we want to know what ceremony you think best captured the spirit of the games—and which ones rubbed you the wrong way.
Refresh your memory by watching the YouTube videos above. Then vote in the poll below for your favorite opening ceremony in recent years. Be sure to tell your neighbors why you liked it in the comments below.
(The Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Olympics kicks off at 6:30 p.m. CST Friday on NBC.)