OBS Olympics countdown channels motion, action of Winter Games

The Olympic Broadcasting Services‘ open for the Beijing Winter Games combines a flurry of movement with depictions of various sports and the geography and architecture of China.

The open starts with a sweeping winter view of the Great Wall of China, before cutting to a series of fast paced animations of various events created using a color palette dominated by blues, teals, violets and greens. 

A similar, though slightly warmer look was used for the delayed 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. 

Often these animations are accompanied by streaks of color meant to represent motion, while Chinese cityscapes and traditional building designs also make frequent appearances.

One motion blur, shown behind a racing ice skater, twirls into a circular, undulating blue and violet that appears to be a nod to the famous “birds nest” stadium that Beijing built for when it hosted the Summer Olympics in 2008 and is reusing for these Games.

The final scene of the open brings together multiple athletes standing on a snow ridge overlooking Beijing, with the Forbidden City, CCTV, CITIC Tower China Zun tower and other landmarks visible. 


The OBS open appears heavily in the U.S. on The Olympic Channel, a joint venture between the International Olympic Committee and NBCUniversal as well as rights holding broadcasters around the globe who opt to air it. Some of these RHBs modify the clip to insert their own branding.

U.S. rights holder NBC typically doesn’t air the open during its coverage, instead opting to use its own animated sequences.

The Olympics Channel also features multiple variations of a countdown sequence that often airs before new programming begins that use a blend of video shots from past Games.

The example here uses an Asian inspired musical bed titled “Future Oriental” from Universal Production Music. The track is part of the collection’s “Modern Advertising” album that all have Asian influences.