Sophia Loren is carrying the Olympic flag, with Susan Sarandon, Isabel Allende and other ''women of distinction'' explains Costas. The walk with the flag is slow, but the camera work is very impressive and the HD picture is great -- the flickers in the stadium, the lights reflecting off the stage. Stately music, too, making for a more serious moment than the light-hearted disco accompanied earlier.
The flag is up ... and the solemnity of the occasion gives way to a promo for ''Law & Order'' and Mark Nolan. (Channel 3 has concentrated its promo time on its weather reporting, as if all these winter sports make the audience more weather-conscious.)
Back to the ceremony. Mary Carillo tells us we are hearing the anthem composed especially for these games. It's a little overripe, but better than those specially-composed songs on ''American Idol.''
Acrobats. Save me!
That's an aggressive-looking dove of peace.
NO, NO, NOT YOKO!!!!
Look, I love ''Imagine.'' It can still have force. Neil Young did a lovely, wrenching version of it in the 9/11 ''Tribute to Heroes'' telecast. But unless you do something special with it, it ends up feeling obvious and cliched. Although Peter Gabriel tried to make it interesting, it came across as funereal.