“Isles of Wonder”: the headline of the long- awaited London 2012 Opening Ceremony to the Olympic Games. After a more than two month long trip around the UK, the Olympic Torch finally reached its destination on Friday, entering the Olympic stadium after a journey up the Thames to meet five- time Olympic Gold medallist Sir Steven Redgrave.
A spectacular display of music, dance and fireworks led the audience from the age of Britain’s industrial revolution to the modern day, paying homage to some of the country’s greatest exploits. The success of the British NHS, Great Ormond Street children’s hospital and world- renowned children’s literature were playfully combined in a night-time hospital scene where villains emerged from the darkness; the infamous child-catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang dancing menacingly round the glowing hospital beds, while a giant puppet of Lord Voldemort ballooned above the frightened children. But who else came to save the day other than Mary Poppins and her identikit army?! Hushing the child actors back to sleep, they represented the nostalgic charm of Britain’s most sought- after nanny.
British comedy also added a further side- splitting dimension to the celebrations as once again, Mr Bean found himself in an awkward high-profile public situation, trying to play the keyboard base note to ‘Chariots of Fire’ while stifling a sneeze and reaching for a tissue in bag that was just that bit too far away. Even the short film “Happy and Glorious” saw no-one else but the Queen herself star alongside Daniel Craig as James Bond, who accompanied her on a staged parachute dive into the Olympic Stadium.
The grand finale of the ceremony culminated in the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron. This impressive flower-like structure was made up of 205 copper petals, carried by a representative of each participating country as the athletes entered the stadium. The Olympic flame, passed to seven young athletes by Sir Steven Redgrave, ignited the outer ring of the petals, which then moved upwards to join with the others in a symbol of unity, capturing the community spirit of the largest international sporting event in the world.
Now well underway, the Games will continue until the 12th August, each athlete trying to make this year the year they truly do go for gold.
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