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Politics on display for opening ceremony

Lopez LomongLet the games--er, the stagecraft--begin. The opening ceremony is typically a circus of symbolism celebrating the host nation’s history and culture. Maybe we'll see a procession of tanks, you're thinking. Well, probably not. We can only hope the party isn't so self-consciously scripted that it comes off as a dud.

In the meantime, the protest-minded US athletes aren't shying away from any chance to take a jab at China's human rights legacy. Lopez Lomong, a Sudanese-born middle distance runner involved with Team Darfur, a group highly critical of China, has been elected by his peers to carry the US flag. The post of flag bearer has been politicized since the 1936 Olympics, when the US flag bearer rekindled the tradition of refusing to dip the American flag when passing by the host country's head of state (in that case Adolf Hitler). The IOC insists that politics and sports don't mix -- but they're full of crap. The cameras now turn to the athletes, and I suspect many of them will get their say.