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Intel’s drone light show never got off the ground for the 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony

They aired pre-recorded footage anyway.

Intel drone show at 2018 Winter Olympics Intel
Rani Molla is a senior correspondent at Vox and has been focusing her reporting on the future of work. She has covered business and technology for more than a decade — often in charts — including at Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

Last-minute “impromptu logistical changes” kept Intel from performing its drone light show live during the opening ceremonies for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. But that didn’t stop NBC from airing footage of it for those watching the tape-delayed version, nor did it stop Intel from celebrating the feat on Twitter.

U.S. viewers tuned in to a tape-delayed broadcast on Friday night that showed pre-recorded footage from December, when Intel’s light show broke the Guinness World Record for flying the most drones, 1,218, simultaneously.

The live show was intended to be a pared-down version of the feat, with 300 drones flying at the end of the opening ceremony, but that too was scrapped.

“During the Ceremony, POCOG made the decision to not go ahead with the show because there were too many spectators standing in the area where the live drone show was supposed to take place,” according to a statement from the Olympic organizing committee.

Here’s what the opening ceremonies were supposed to look like live. Images of the December rehearsal show the “Shooting Star” drones lighting up the sky with Olympic rings, a snowboarder and a dove.


And this is what an individual light drone looks like:

The Winter Olympics rehearsal surpassed Intel’s 2016 Guinness World Record of 500 drones flown simultaneously in Germany.

Here’s Intel’s behind-the-scenes video of the rehearsal:

Update: This post has been updated with a quote from the Olympic organizing committee to correct the number of drones from 1,280 to 1,218.

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