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London 2012 Opening Ceremony Report and PHOTOS

by Laura Robinson

August 03, 2012 (London, UK) – Here’s our Opening Ceremonies report and a selection of great photos to enjoy over the long weekend. Apologies for the delay as we fell behind in the rush to the start of London 2012, arriving at the Opening Ceremonies just before the doors closed. The Games began the next day with the road cycling events and we’re finally getting caught up.

In the first twenty minutes of the opening ceremonies, producer Danny Boyle took us from a romanticized early rural history to the current day, marching us through the Industrial Revolution, the Suffragette Movement, both World Wars and the “ever growing signs of wealth and industry.” This was an evening Britain romantized their past and played with parodies. From the reaction of the audience they loved it.

Even agent 007 made an appearance, assumingly to clear security for Queen Elizabeth who did not look very happy about having to be there. Doyle made fun of the Queen’s arrival by putting together a spoof film on the picking up of the Queen by helicopter by 007. A funny comment on the British obsession with royalty and secret agents. But then we switch to Peter Pan, The Wind in the Willows, Mary Poppins and Harry Potter, taking us into the world of British children’s literature, one of their largest imports to the rest of the world. They wrote children’s literature in the 20th century to create a safe and fantasic world for children to escape to during the two world wars—both of which received heavy tributes in the first part of the show.

This was followed by a tribute to British music and film—the Oscar winning Chariots of Fire about the 1918 British team to the Olympics, Charlie Chaplin, favorite British shows from the tellie, Mr. Bean, the Rolling Stones, the Sex Pistols, the Beatles, the Pretenders, Ska to the climax message of “I Love You” as two young people kissed and shots of famous film kisses were screened. This montage was followed by local rap star Dizzy Rascal. The decades were all mixed up together in a celebration of humanity, culminating in a tribute to Sir Tim Berners Lee—the scientist inventor of the World Wide Web who literally donated the web to the rest of us, eschewing profit as he believed it would be one of the most powerful

After this we went back in history to the Austerity Games of 1948 when England and Europe rose out of the ashes of WWII and their torch relay juxtaposed with shots from the 2012 relay until the torch arrived in the hands of an up and coming tennis player in a boat driven by David Beckham. Boyle decided to pause after this and honour the dead with a quiet and sad choreography representing the other worldliness of the afterlife to a beautifully sung “Abide By Me.”

Then finally the athletes arrived – with, as is the tradition, Greece first. Canada, led by the amazing triathlete and gold medalist Simon Whitfield, marched in casual CANADA jackets, somewhat lacklustre compared to many other teams who wore gorgeous suits or stunning traditional garb for the opening ceremony.

The stadium started to go rather crazy as Team GB could be seen entering the stadium, led by Sir Chris Hoy and wearing white shorts and jackets with gold collars and piping. In total 204 nations were represented. This was followed with a tribute to the bicycle and the Beatles as hundreds of cyclists arrived with wings while the Arctic Monkeys sang the Beatles’ Come Together.

And come together the world did as eight international humanitarians, including Denise Lawrence, the East London mother of Steven Lawrence, a seventeen-year-old boy who was brutally murdered by a gang of white males in the neighbourhoods where the Olympic Park now stands. This was followed by bringing the flag by Mohammed Ali—symbolic of “spirit and strength” for all of humanity.

At this point the torch was delivered to Steve Redgrave—one of the most decorated Olympic rowers in the history of the sport. The Olympic oaths were taken and 500 people who helped build the Olympic Park acted as the honour guard for the flame as Redgrave gave the flame to seven young promising athletes who ran as a group around the track to great tunes by British singers situated around the track edge.

Two hundred and sixty British former Olympic medalists then saluted the new generation of athletes as the young people ran with the seven torches to the caldron—literally passing the torch from one generation to another. They lit over 200 copper kettles—all of which had been brought in by young people who accompanied each country in. The kettles were attached to long copper arms which raised in unison to form one large Olympic caldron flame—symbolizing the coming together of nations in peace.

“And in the end the love you get is equal to the love you give”—and so sang Sir Paul McCartney, which was his intro to Hey Jude.. All—young and old—sang with Sir Paul, a great way to kick off eighteen days of celebrating what being human is all about.

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