I don’t know how many billions of dollars it cost to put together the 2008 Olympics Opening Ceremony. Nor do I know how that money could have been better used by the government, for say, social programs. But it was one hell of a show. Pretty easy to say it beat any European or North American Olympic opening ceremony in concept and very easy to say that it beat any other ceremony for technical prowess and choreographing.
Also a hoot to see the Bushes and the Putins just hanging out in the stands as though they were regular people. I imagine the conversation: “did you see that Vladdy?, they made a boat of out people with sticks! by the way, how about you not order any air raids on Georgia? too late? ooo, look at that big TV on the floor – gotta get me one of them for the ranch.”