It’s time for the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games. London’s Olympic Stadium is the setting and the athletes are the stars of the show, parading past the Queen, a deluge of dignitaries and just plain folks. They’re there to celebrate the human spirit and they’re there to compete.
Even people who don’t watch those competitions are riveted by the opening ceremonies. This year’s show celebrates the host country, Great Britain. ‘Isles of Wonder’ is directed by Danny Boyle, the guy who won an Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire, and it promises to be spectacular. The ceremony starts with the sound of the largest harmonically tuned bell in Europe tolling. The scene morphs into the pastoral English countryside as some 120 farm animals parade about .
Like any good director, Boyle won’t give away the whole of the plot. But he does offer a hint of what to expect: “Our Isles of Wonder salutes and celebrates the exuberant creativity of the British genius in an Opening Ceremony we hope will be as unpredictable and inventive as the British people.”
Pomp and circumstance matter, especially when it comes to the Olympic Games. It’s the stuff that holds us together. This evening’s events include the Receiving of the Head of State, held at the entrance to Olympic Stadium. That’s when International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge welcomes Queen Elizabeth II.
Then comes the Parade of Athletes, aside from the show itself, the most awaited part of the of the opening ceremony. The Greek team enters the stadium first. Then teams process in alphabetical order, according to the language of the host country. Great Britain enters last.
In order, there are speeches and the proclamation of the Games opening. The Queen will do the honors. Then the Olympic Flag enters the stadium, ascending the flagpole as the Olympic anthem is played. That’s followed by and athlete, judge and coach from Great Britain standing at the rostrum, grasping the corner of the Olympic flag with their right hands and taking the Olympic oath.
Finally, it’s time for the torch lighting. As this piece gets set to go live, the final torchbearer is a secret. Many are betting it might be Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to run the four-minute mile.