Fireworks go off at the Bird's Nest stadium during the spectacular Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympics ©Getty Images

Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) chief executive Yiannis Exarchos expects the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics to match the "iconic" showpiece event that opened the Summer Games in 2008.

The Beijing 2008 Opening Ceremony is considered as one of the greatest spectacles in the history of the Olympic Games.

Zhang Yimou directed proceedings 14 years ago and has been put in charge of delivering next month’s Opening Ceremony at the National Stadium, known as the Bird’s Nest.

Exarchos claims the event, scheduled to take place on February 4, will be unmissable having witnessed dress rehearsals.

"Obviously I will not say what is in the Opening Ceremony because I don’t want to spoil the experience for any of you," said Exarchos at a Beijing 2022 technical briefing.

"What I can tell you is it is a ceremony which is probably equally impressive as the one in 2008 which we know is one of the most iconic Opening Ceremonies in the history of the Olympic Games.

"It’s equally impressive, equally moving but completely different and it reflects our times."

Speaking earlier this month, Zhang promised that the Flame will be lit in a fashion "unprecedented in over 100 years of the Olympic Games".

Zhang Yimou will be in charge of directing the Ceremonies for both the Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing ©Getty Images
Zhang Yimou will be in charge of directing the Ceremonies for both the Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing ©Getty Images

Although no details were given, the chief director of the Opening Ceremony hinted that environmental themes and low carbon emissions had been important factors in the designs.

Zhang, who directed the handover sequence when Beijing received the Ceremonial Olympic Flag in Pyeongchang at the end of the 2018 Winter Olympics, will take overall responsibilities for the Olympic and Paralympic Ceremonies in the Chinese capital.

Exarchos said it was a privilege to work alongside Zhang, considered a major figure in Chinese cinema and the performing arts.

"Working with Zhang back in 2008 was a highlight in my personal and professional life and this is a second highlight that I never expected to have," added Exarchos.

"He is a director with such a visual vision.

"It is a joy for us broadcasters and television producers to be working with him because he understands so well what will work very well visually for international audiences.

"The only thing I can say is that the preparations are very advanced, the ceremony is practically ready and it is a ceremony that nobody should miss for any reason."

The build-up to Beijing 2022, scheduled to run from February 4 to 20, has been dominated by concerns over China's human rights record and the COVID-19 pandemic.