London: The night for which over 10,000 athletes and billions of fans around the world are waiting for is here. The Olympic Games, world’s biggest sporting extravaganza, gets underway in the historic city of London.
The Opening Ceremony is the mastermind of Danny Boyle, the Oscar-winning director best known for hit movies 'Trainspotting' and 'Slumdog Millionaire'. The event depicts Great Britain’s past, present and future. A billion people across the globe are expected to watch the $42.4m show, featuring 10,000 adult volunteers and 900 children.
The opening ceremony begins with the newly-crowned Tour de France winner 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 has echoed around the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium.
The Olympic Games, world\'s biggest sporting extravaganza, gets underway in the historic city of London.
The show then shifts 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" - then takes a darker, grittier turn.
Boyle has focused heavily on the industries that revolutionised 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 has built a moment of hush into his show to honor those killed in war.
Boyle has also laced the show with snippets from British cinema, including the actor Daniel Craig as James Bond, and the spine-tingling soundtrack to "Chariots of Fire," which tells the story of a Scotsman and an Englishman at the 1924 Paris Games.
A helicopter hovers over the stadium to the James Bond theme. The Queen is received at the entrance of the stadium by the IOC president Jacques Rogge and, the Union Flag is raised.
The national anthem of the United Kingdom is performed. An 'SOS segment' is next, featuring NHS nurses, Mary Poppins. The 600 dancers are all NHS staff, with 320 beds, 32 carpet bags and 32 umbrellas are also in action.
And then the interlude is performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Simon Rattle with Mr Bean also playing a part.
The next section celebrates the soap opera, which Britain exported all around the world. The piece includes clips from great British TV classics - Coronation Street and Fawlty Towers. And music includes Food Glorious Food from Oliver.
The song I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles plays a part. And then a mixture of kisses to celebrate the love story. The sequence is called "Thanks Tim", the British computer scientist and inventor of the World Wide Web Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Emeli Sande then sings the hymn Abide With Me, which was written by Henry Fancis Lyte in 1847.
It's time for the athletes to enter the stadium. Greece first, followed by the other 203 nations in alphabetical order. The Greek flagbearer is Alexandros Nikolaidis, a taekwondo silver medallist in both Athens and Beijing.
The Indian contingent is led by Sushil Kumar, the bronze medallist at the Beijing Olympics, who hold the tri-colour aloft. The other 80 athletes, who are part of different disciplines, make their presence felt by clapping and waving to the crowd as they make their way into the stadium.
The biggest cheer of the night goes to Britain's contingent as it enters the stadium. Four-time Olympic track cycling champion Chris Hoy leads the host nation into the arena.
And after a long suspense, there were seven young athletes who lit the Olympic cauldron. Sebastian Coe and Jacques Rogge delivered speeches and Britain's 86-year-old monarch Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Games.
(With agency inputs)