All the colour and the extravagance of the London
Olympics opening ceremony.
0100 (12pm NZT): Sir Paul McCartney ends the extravaganza by singing the Beatles hit 'Hey Jude.' Whether it was worth $NZ50 million is up to you but one thing is for sure...... all that cash is up in smoke. That ends our live text coverage, but stay tuned for reaction, opinion and more photos and video.
0046 (11:46am NZT): The Olympic torch made quite an entrance after travelling 12,000 miles to and through London. David Beckham roared up the river Thames in a speed boat with the torch, handed it on to five time gold-medallist rower Steve Redgrave who ran into the Stadium to a huge roar. A bunch of young British athletes then take turns running with it around the 400 metre track before 260 UK medallists from 1948 onwards have their moment in the sun.
The suspense is killing me! The grandfather clock is dinging and
the symbols are ringing! And finally the best kept secret ever is
revealed..... the seven young athletes of the future all light
several torches before the flames all rise in unison and then form
into one giant cauldron. Visually magnificent but you would have to
say a little bit of an anti-climax because there was no Muhammad
Ali figure who lit the thing...... Nevertheless Pink Flyod
rips around the Stadium and fireworks burst into the sky to mark
the start of the Olympics. Bring it on.
0030 (11:20am NZT): 1960 boxing gold medallist Muhammad Ali, formerly known as Cassius Clay, makes another cameo performance of note after lighting the flame at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Nice touch!
0020 (11:20am NZT): The Queen declares the Games open and a specular firework display bursts into the sky! Now who is going to light the flame..... the anticipation builds.
0005 (11:04am NZT): And the parade of nations
has ended. Team UK got the biggest cheer of course and now the
Artic Monkeys are rocking the shop. It is now past midnight UK time
and frankly we are concerned for the children.
23:52 (10:52am NZT): Just an observation but it is intriguing to see almost every athlete walk out with a smart phone or camera shooting proceedings. Sure a first person perspective and all the excitement with your team mates is something to remember but it's not as if footage of this extravaganza is going to be in short supply. Moving right along.... and here is team USA looking very military! LeBron, Kobe and all the superstars of the NBA are on show and the first lady, Mrs Obama, is certainly approving in the stands.
2325 (10:25am NZT): Beijing silver medallist Nick Willis with a huge, proud grin leads New Zealand out into the stadium. Only 60 of the 185 athletes representing New Zealand are actually on show. Valerie Adams for instances, isn't even in London at the moment while many of the other athletes preferred an early night as they have to compete over the next few days. And it's hard to argue with that train of thought - sporting performance should take precedence at the Olympics.
2308 (10:08am NZT): And here is the MAN, Usain Bolt, leading the Reggae nation out! Meanwhile in Hyde Park thousands are there enjoying the festivities with a show featuring Duran Duran, Snow Patrol, Stereophonics and Paolo Nutini.
2250 (9:50am NZT): The Czech Republic's
athletes (yes we are only up to C) enter the Stadium with gumboots
on! A nice dig at the English weather..... I like it!
2230 (9:30am NZT): And the parade of nations begins. All the As are coming out first of course... and Argentina is the first of big nation of note and wait..... here comes Australia! Women's basketball captain Lauren Jackson is the first female to lead the Aussies out in 20 years, what a shame Times magazine rated their uniform among the worst .
2222 (9:22am NZT): Some ONE News tweets of
CraigStanaway - Rowan Atkinson???
It gets better and better and better!!! #olympicceremony.
GarthBray - Through the gauze on the live
site with Si, Blair, Claire and Fernie.
Follow ONE News' tweets here.
2210 (9:10am NZT): This is a celebration of UK culture and who is more British than Rowan Atkinson as the ceremony launches into a celebration of the 20th century. We now get to listen to some of the best bands and performers of the last 50 years who all called England home. 'The Who' is followed by the Rolling Stones, then Bowie, then Queen, then the Sex Pistols.... and the list goes on! Prodigy 'firestarter' then blasts out as red streams burst into the sky! Now just to make it clear.... not all those artists were there but Dizzee Rascal is and his smash-hit, Bonkers, gets the crowd bouncing. And a nice tribute to Amy Winehouse is heard as well. The only question now is - where are the Spice Girls?
2145 (8:45am NZT): Peter Pan is followed by his worthy protégé Harry Potter as nightmares ring around the Stadium. This is really scary stuff before.....wait... Mary Poppins rescues the situation. Well thank goodness for that!
2130 (8:30am NZT): 007, aka James Bond, aka Daniel Craig visits her majesty at Buckingham Palace. A cup of tea is had by the two superstars of the Commonwealth and they jump into a helicopter and fly over the great landmarks of London. Naturally Bond jumps out of the flying machine into the Stadium with a parachute... but wait the queen (yes it was REALLY her) follows suit. Now if you think Harry is the coolest in the Royal family, banish those thoughts immediately, because his grandmother has just taken that title. God save the Queen!
2125 (8:25am NZT): And the lighting of the five Olympic rings - which represent every continent in the world - is quite a sight to behold if you like bright, sparkly round things.
2115 (8:15am NZT): The Olympic Stadium is currently undergoing a transformation. The grassy hills' of Britain's innocent pass is being replaced by the power of the industrial revolution. I have been reliably told that the Stadium actually smells of coal, although one suspects that might just be the security smoking their fags.
2105 (8:05am NZT): The wait is finally over! This whole doozy is underway. A massive montage of British culture - with the Sex Pistols blasting - has lit up the screens and a countdown introduces Tour de France winner, Bradley Wiggins to the Stadium. His job, other than winning the road race tomorrow, is to ring a giant 2000 year-old bell to signal the end of the wait. God save the Queen!
Where is it?
Olympic Stadium is the centerpiece of London's Olympic Park, which is hosting all of the track and field events.
The Stadium seats up to 80,000 people, and 55,000 of the seats are removable. About 10,000 tons of steel were used to build the venue, compared to the 42,000 used by Beijing for their 'Bird's Nest'.
This year's show is called the 'Isle of Wonder.' A celebration of British culture, with a touch of Shakespeare, pop music, James Bond - and even some farm animals. Up to a billion people are expected to tune in to the NZ$50 million, three-hour extravaganza.
It has been suggested a pre-recorded segment filmed inside Buckingham Palace featuring actor Daniel Craig as Bond, and a stuntman dressed as 007 who will parachute into the stadium to start the show.
The identity of the person who will light the Olympic cauldron is still a mystery but many believe it will be an Olympic champion. Roger Bannister and Steve Redgrave are the favorite. Bannister broke the 4-minute barrier in the mile in 1954 and Redgrave won five rowing gold medals. Personally I hope Pippa gets the job.
The Olympic cauldron will be lit with a flame that was kindled May 10, at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics in Greece.
Since then, 8,000 torchbearers have carried the flame on a 70-day, 8,000-mile journey throughout the British Isles.
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