Opening Ceremony highlights spirit of unity at the Games

London 2012 Highlights

From the bucolic green fields until the creation of the world wide web, the history of Great Britain is rich in great events and discoveries that changed the world. The most notable one being the Industrial Revolution, this was the first theme of the spectacular Opening Ceremony of the Games of the 30th Olympiad held on July 27, 2012 in London. Under the title "Isles of Wonder", the action started on the countryside, with a fabulous stage simulating the old and calm lifestyle in the British landscapes. 

It quickly evolved to the challenging but thrilling times of the Industrial Revolution, a landmark in the history of mankind and the genesis of the development model followed by the entire planet. In a show proposed by famous artistic director Danny Boyle, the programme of the Ceremony was quite attractive: "You'll hear the words of our great poets – Shakespeare, Blake and Milton. You'll hear the glorious noise of our unrivalled pop culture. You'll see characters from our great children's literature – Peter Pan and Captain Cook, Mary Poppins, Voldemort, Cruella de Vil. You'll see ordinary families and extraordinary athletes. Dancing nurses, singing children and amazing special effects," said the informative brochure distributed to the 80,000 spectators that filled the stadium.

All this and much more was part of a very complete spectacle, highlighted by the parade of the 205 National Olympic Committees participating in these Games, headed by Greece (the country at the origin of the Olympic Games) and concluded by the enthusiastically-applauded British competitors. Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Games, while the IOC President Jacques Rogge left once more an educational message to all athletes present in the stadium: "I congratulate all of the athletes who have earned a place at these Games. And to the athletes, I offer this thought: your talent, your dedication and commitment brought you here. Now you have a chance to become true Olympians. That honour is determined not by whether you win, but by how you compete. Character counts far more than medals. Reject doping. Respect your opponents. Remember that you are all role models. If you do that, you will inspire a generation."

The pinnacle of the show was naturally the lit of the Olympic cauldron. Upon their arrival in London, each of the participating delegations had received a cupper petal, which was brought into the Opening Ceremony. At the centre of the stage, at the end of the Ceremony, all the petals were assembled and by igniting one of them, the stems of the cauldron elegantly rise to form one big flame in the centre of the Stadium, symbolising the unity of all competitors in the Games.

Opening Ceremony - credit: Pedro Adrega

While Paul McCartney concluded the show by singing the eternal "Hey Jude", athletes, officials and spectators left the stadium with one certainty: the next two weeks will offer to the world the finest sportive performances in a city that is the only one having hosted the Games three times (1908, 1948 and 2012). 

List of flag bearers coming from Aquatic sports:

ASA – Ching Wei (Swimming)

ARU – Jemal Le Grand (Swimming)

AUT – Markus Rogan (Swimming)

BAN – Rahman Mahfizur (Swimming)

BOL – Karen Torrez (Swimming)

ETH – Yanet Seyoum (Swimming)

FIN – Hanna-Maria Seppala (Swimming)

MKD – Marko Blazhevski (Swimming)

HUN – Peter Biros (Water Polo)

INA – Gede Sudartawa (Swimming)

KEN – Jason Dunford (Swimming)

LBA – El-Gadi Sofyan (Swimming)

MAS – Pandelela Pamg (Diving

MON – Angélique Trinquier (Swimming)

NEP – Prasiddha Shah (Swimming)

PAR – Benjamin Hockin (Swimming)

SUR – Chinyere Pigot (Swimming)

SWZ – Luke Hall (Swimming)

TGA – Amini Fonua (Swimming)

UGA – Ganzi Mugula (Swimming)

ZIM – Kirsty Coventry (Swimming) 

Opening Ceremony - credit: Giorgio Scala