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Olympic Sights Before any athletic records got broken, rumours of the Beijing Olympics making history were already rife. Soon the numbers poured in, and with them, ever escalating claims about the event's magnitude. First, reports of nearly 70 million Americans tuning in established the opening ceremony as the "biggest television event since the Super Bowl" and the "most viewed ever" opening for a non-U.S. Olympics (Bauder). Next, news from elsewhere appeared, with estimates of the opening's global audience quickly jumping from a billion (Goldsmith; Swaine) to over two billion ("Beijing Olympics") to four billion (Yardley; "Most spectacular"). Whatever the actual numbers, August 8, 2008 turned out to be auspicious for records enthusiasts as much as Chinese folk believers. In the weeks that followed, media sources everywhere competed in scaling the heights on behalf of the Beijing Games, pronouncing it the "most-viewed event in United States television history" (Stelter), the "most viewed Olympics ever" ("Most Viewed"), and even the "most watched live event in human history"--given the key participation of hundreds of millions of viewers within mainland China itself. The opening ceremony was proclaimed as the world's first "genuine one billion" television program, besting ratings for the moon landings, Princess Diana's funeral, and President Obama's inauguration (Harris). In all these accounts, the prevailing tenor was that of jubilation, with a strong undercurrent of nostalgia for as much as anticipation of species unity, a planet united in a common experience.