London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony unfolds, celebrates Britain, ‘The Queen’ in parachute (Photos)

By on Jul 28, 2012 in Europe, Events, Sports, World Comments

Updated: July 30, 2012 4:15 p.m.

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The London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony started at around 9 p.m. London time (4 p.m ET) on Friday, July 27, 2012, as shown in the photos below; which lasted for about three hours. It featured the history of England, and later “The Queen” arriving at the Olympic Stadium via parachute from a helicopter.

As featured live online and later televised in the US via NBC, the Olympics opening ceremony, which was directed by Oscar-winning film-maker Danny Boyle and reportedly cost $42 million, showcased the history of England in different segments up to the parade of around 10,000 athletes from over 200 countries around the world.

To start the ceremony, British cyclist and Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins rang the Olympic bell and the first segment titled ‘Green and Pleasant’ featured dancing peasants and various animals including sheep, horses, chicken, geese, and cows, among others, to celebrate the rural beginnings of England.

After a short video celebrating all UK countries, film director Kenneth Branagh appearing later as Isambard Kingdom Brunel, an English engineer who built bridges and dockyards including the construction of the first major British railway, delivered a short speech from Shakespeare.

Later, the village set-up was slowly transformed into an ‘Industrial Revolution’ factory as smoke stacks were seen rising out of the ground; with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club band members playing and a crowd of suffragettes, the members of the “women right to vote” movements in the late 19th and 20th century in Britain.

Interestingly, a giant ring “forged” from hot and burning metal by the iron workers was later lifted into the sky above the crowd and joined four other giant rings to create a set of Olympic rings, which was dubbed as most spectacular part of the Olympics opening ceremony.

On a short video, ‘Queen Elizabeth II‘ and ‘James Bond‘ arrived at the Olympic Stadium via a parachute from a helicopter in a short film. Both were portrayed by stunt doubles in that act, and the real Queen later seen wearing a pink dress accompanied by IOC president Jacques Rogge and the real James Bond actor Daniel Craig.

Representatives of the Royal Army, Navy, and Air Force then walked through the stadium with the Union flag and raised it on a pole; and the crowd stood up to give respect, as the British national anthem, “God Save the Queen” is being performed by the pajamas-wearing children from the Kaos Signing Choir.

The second segment of the Olympics opening ceremony celebrated UK‘s National Health Service (NHS), and featured around 600 dancers, with doctors and nurses from London‘s Great Ormond Street children’s hospital jumping up and down on beds.

English conductor Simon Rattle was later seen leading the London Symphony Orchestra in a rendition of ‘Chariots of Fire’, while British actor/comedian Rowan Atkinson as Mr Bean appeared on stage at a keyboard, making comic acts including taking photos and using his smart phone.

Meanwhile, a mixed of performers and dancers paid tribute to British music icons of the last three decades including David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, New Order, The Jam, The Who, Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Queen, and The Beatles, among others.

Among other British noted personalities seen in that event include Harry Potter creator JK Rowling, Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited for the invention of the World Wide Web, and football superstar David Beckham driving in a speedboat down the River Thames carrying the Olympic flame.

For the athletes’ parade, teams entered in alphabetical order along with their flag bearers including Usain Bolt and Maria Sharapova, which was started by Greece and Britain as last one being the nation host of the event. American swimmer Michael Phelps was not seen, which he said earlier that he prefers to rest for his competition.

Beijing Taekwondo medalist Sarah Stevenson read the Olympic oath, and the Olympic torch was carried into the stadium by Steve Redgrave. Paul McCartney performed “Hey Jude” on stage after the Olympic bell ran, to officially end the Olympics opening ceremony, and start the London 2012 Olympics.

Note: Use the pagination keys below to view other photos from the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony in other pages.

Lights on during the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony
Image Credit: Getty Images

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