The London 2012 Olympic Games Open in Grand Style
The XXXTH Olympic Summer Games began in London last night with a colourful ceremony. The ceremony began with Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins – complete in a yellow jersey – ringing the largest harmonically tuned bell in the world. As the sound of the bell died away, a young soloist began singing Sir Hubert Parry’s setting of William Blake’s poem Jerusalem. And more than 60,000 fans gathered at the event venue to hear the strains of Danny Boy being sung by a young choir. The choir in the stadium, all wearing yellow hooped tops, carried on the song on Jerusalem. A horse drawn carriage on the track and a man in an old top hat carrying a book under his arm were seen stepping out to meet several other men dressed in similar garb. All four countries of the United Kingdom, namely, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were represented in the song – Jerusalem, Danny Boy, Flower of Scotland and Bread of Heaven sung by youngsters. Kenneth Branagh play later took the centre stage from Williams Shakespeare’s play, ‘The Tempest’. It was a celebration of creativity, exuberance and generosity of the British. In the course of the ceremony, five Olympic rings seemingly made from molten steel, rose from the ground and came together in a shower of sparks.
This was followed by a film of Buckingham Palace – with overhead shots and film of tourists taking a look round.
A black cab drew up and Daniel Craig (aka James Bond) raced up the stairs and into the building. The Queen and Daniel Craig slowly walked down Buckingham Palace corridor before Her Majesty and James Bond left the palace and stepped onto a chopper.
The statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square was seen waving as the helicopter flew over London and through Tower Bridge.
It was indeed a breathtaking spectacle. The film featuring the encounter between Bond and the monarch at Buckingham Palace prompted much laughter and cheers. “Good evening Mr Bond,” the Queen said in the clip, before they left together, apparently heading towards the Olympic Stadium in a helicopter.
A helicopter then flew over the stadium to the sound of the Bond theme tune, as two figures parachuted down, one dressed as the monarch.
As if by magic, the Queen appeared in the stands at the stadium – part of a crowd of about 80,000 – amid cheers. The chairman of London 2012, Lord Coe, earlier told the BBC he was “as excited as hell”. Crowds of people, many of them dressed up in their nation’s colours, were seen at the Olympic Park for the show.
The aforementioned film depicted a picture of how James Bond whisked the Queen to the Olympics.
Then the national anthem of the United Kingdom was quickly performed by the Kaos Signing Choir for Deaf and Hearing Children. Then came Mr Bean’s show which added more glamour to the event. Fireworks on Tower Bridge was also shown on the night as, a powerboat, driven apparently by David Beckham, coming down the Thames was seen.
Jane Bailey, a young footballer, was also seen carrying the Olympic flame. Fifty dancers, including choreographer Akram Khan, used images of mortality such as dust and the setting sun to dramatise the struggle between life and death as the favourite hymn of Mahatma Gandhi, was played by the band on board Titanic as it sank.
Later the march past event began with Greece the first of the 204 which teams entered the arena. Greece, as the spiritual home of the Olympic movement, always has the honour of being the first team to enter the Olympic Stadium for the athletes’ parade. Team GB as host nation was the last.
The Greek flagbearer was Alexandros Nikolaidis, a taekwondo silver medallist in both Athens and Beijing, while weightlifter Romela Begaj, a European silver medallist who is aiming to become the first Albanian ever to stand on an Olympic podium, carried her country’s flag.
Australia’s flagbearer is 6ft 5in basketball player Lauren Jackson, who plys her trade in America’s WNBA led the 410 members of the Aussie team to the arena. Opening ceremony director Danny Boyle was so moved that he tweeted during the event saying: “Thank you, everyone, for your kind words! Means the world to me.”
– National Mirror