Market Commentary and Intraday News
London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony Begins
326 days ago
(RTTNews) - The London 2012 Olympics formally kicked-off on Friday evening with an extravagant opening ceremony at the main Olympic Stadium, east of the British capital. As expected, the stadium was filled to its maximum capacity.
In addition to the 80,000 people present at the stadium, an estimated one billion television viewers across the world are also witnessing the opening ceremony of the world's biggest sporting event. The three-hour show is masterminded and organized by Oscar-winning film-maker Danny Boyle.
The show began by briefly showcasing British history, stretching from the Industrial Revolution to the present day, with a dash of humor. Nevertheless, a moment of silence was devoted to honor the war dead and the victims of the 7/7 terrorist attacks in London.
Later, a spook film showed Queen Elizabeth II and James Bond, portrayed by actor Daniel Craig, parachuting from a helicopter into the Olympic Stadium. The original Queen then took her official seat at the stadium amidst loud applause.
The show, which included a dramatic, low-level fly-past by the jets of the Royal Air Force's Red Arrows stunt team, also included a brief appearances by actor Kenneth Branagh, "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling and "Mr Bean" Rowan Atkinson, and performances by hundreds of artists.
Currently, a march-past by the participating athletes and accompanying officials is progressing at the stadium. Later, the cauldron at the stadium will be lit and the games declared open by the British Queen. It is not yet clear who will light the Olympic cauldron. A fireworks display against the London skyline and a singalong performance by Paul McCartney will wrap up the day's celebrations.
More than 80 world leaders are attending the opening ceremony, including Presidents and Prime Ministers of several nations and heads of international organizations. Incidentally, US First lady Michelle Obama is leading the American delegation to the games.
The 2012 games marks the third time that London is hosting the Olympic games. The British capital had played host to the games in 1908 and 1948. The entire event is estimated to cost about 9.3 billion pounds, including the 27 million pounds set aside for the opening ceremony.
Some 10,490 athletes representing 204 national Olympic committees are taking part in the 2012 games, which will be held in 34 venues across Britain. They will be competing in a total of 302 medal events covering 26 Olympic sports and 39 disciplines, over the next seventeen days.
The London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), headed by Sir Sebastian Coe, had seven years to prepare for the event after London was confirmed as the venue for the 2012 games in 2005. The LOCOG had billions of pounds at its disposal to organize the event despite the ongoing economic crisis threatening Britain and most other nations.
Britain has also enforced unprecedented security for the games, with more than 40,000 military and civilian personnel deployed in London and other venues. The British Army was forced to rush in hundreds of troops for securing the games after a private firm contracted to supply 10,000 security staff threw in the towel at the last minute.
Notably, the games have become much more expensive when compared to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Although the cheapest of the tickets are priced at about 700 pounds, more than 8.8 million tickets have been sold so far.
For comments and feedback: contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright(c) 2012 RTTNews.com. All Rights Reserved