London 2012 Opening Ceremony…classy, genteel, elegant, cheeky…in other words, it was very English. The genius behind it, Oscar winning director, Danny Boyle found it “liberating” knowing that he wouldn’t be able to match the juggernaut that was Beijing 2008′s opening ceremony. Instead, he was freed to do exactly what he achieved last night – a celebration of England’s history, culture, her people and her place in the world.
Photo source: Naples News
Photo source: Wahm Bahm
Photo source: Time Olympics
The ceremony took the 60,000 spectators in the stadium as well as the over 1 billion worldwide TV audience on a journey from England’s agrarian roots to the Industrial Revolution to the modern age. Along the way, we were treated to dashes of cheeky English humour. There was Rowan Atkinson performing (sort of) ‘Chariots of Fire’ with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Simon Rattle and of course, the now infamous sequence of Queen Elizabeth II and Daniel Craig as James Bond. Danny Boyle admits that he had only “2 hours” to complete the sequence of the Queen with Craig in Buckingham Palace. She was “very helpful and very smart”, he said, with a very dry sense of humour. “She was very gracious in giving us access…her and Daniel got on very well…”
Photo source: Mirror
Real-life doctors and nurses participated in a dream sequence that highlighted both England’s famous National Health Service as well as the country’s contribution to children’s literature. J.K. Rowling opened it up by reading a short segment from J.M. Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan’ and suddenly the stadium was filled with giant puppets of some famous villains such as Voldemort, Captain Hook and Cruella Deville. Then the sky was filled with dozens of Mary Poppinses flying in to save the day.
Photo source: Olympic.org
Photo source: US Magazine
Photo source: The Blaze
From then on, it became a party with music from a diverse range of artists, both classic and modern, filling the stadium and escorting the athletes as they were finally welcomed into the stadium. They filed in, sportsmen and women from 204 countries, joyous and enthusiastic to be finally here for the Games of the 30th Olympiad.
Photo source: Australian Olympic Team Official Website
Photo source: NY Daily News
Photo source: Digital Spy
In the end it wasn’t one legendary athlete that lit the cauldron but 7 young athletes of the future who were nominated for the honour by Britain’s past and present athletes. The Flame was borne into the stadium by five-time gold medal winning rower, Steve Redgrave, among an honour guard of 500 construction workers who built the stadium. The 7 young sportspeople took the Flame from Redgrave to light over 204 copper ‘petals’, one for each participating country, which then all rose to form a flower of flame.
Photo source: The Telegraph
Photo source: Summer Olympics
Photo source: News.com.au
It was magical, quirky, teeming with symbolism and a wonderful representation of the country hosting the Games. London, and Great Britain, should be proud.