Sabtu, Julai 28, 2012

Thousands gather for London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony

Animals and actors enter the stadium for the British meadow scene

Those lucky enough to have tickets for the ceremony are gathering in the stadium

The Olympic flame was at Tower Bridge this afternoon

The ceremony is set to conclude with a spectacular fireworks display

Britain greeted the world Friday with an extravagant celebration that included Bond, the Bard and a Beatleand a formal welcome from no less a figure than its jubilee queen. London's seven-year countdown to the 2012 Olympic Games came to a crescendo with a stunning, imaginative, whimsical and dramatic celebration of the host country.

Fighter jets streaming red, white and blue smoke roared over the Olympic Stadium, packed with a buzzing crowd of 60,000 people, at 8:12 p.m. or 20:12 in the 24-hour time observed by Britons.

An explosion of fireworks against the London skyline and Paul McCartney leading a singalong were to wrap up the three-hour show masterminded by one of Britain's most successful filmmakers, Oscar winner Danny Boyle.

He led off his spectacular in his favored medium, with a high-speed flyover of the Thames, the river that slices like a vein through London and was the gateway for the city's rise over the centuries as a great global hub of trade and industry. Other footage showed the roaring abundant seas that buffet and protect this island nation.

Children popping ballons with each number from 10 to 1 then led a countdown that climaxed with newly crowned Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins ringing of a 23-ton Olympic Bell, from the same London foundry that made Big Ben and Philadelphia's Liberty Bell.

Its thunderous chime echoed around the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium. Bells in Britain have traditionally pealed to celebrate the end of war and the crowning of kings and queens, and now for the opening of a 17-day festival of sports.

The show then shifted to a portrayal of Britain that Britons cling to a place of meadows, farms, sport on village greens, picnics and Winnie-the-Pooh, AA Milne's fictional bear who has delighted generations of British children tucked warmly in bed.

But the British ideal to quote poet William Blake, of "England's green and pleasant land" was then to take a darker, grittier turn.

Boyle focused heavily on the industries that revolutionized Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries, turning it into the workshop of the world and giving Britons the might upon which they built an empire that reshaped world history.

The Industrial Revolution also produced terrifying weapons, and Boyle built a moment of hush into his show to honor those killed in war.

"This is not specific to a country; this is across all countries, and the fallen from all countries are celebrated and remembered," he explained to reporters ahead of the ceremony.

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