The London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony has welcomed the finest athletes from more than 200 nations for the start of the Olympic Games, marking an historic third time the capital has hosted the world's biggest and most important sporting event.
An estimate of over a billion viewers worldwide watched the Opening Ceremony, which reflected the key themes and priorities of the London 2012 Games, based on sport, inspiration, youth and urban transformation. The main theme of the ceremony was 'this is for everyone'. It celebrated contributions the UK has made to the world through innovation and revolution, as well as the creativity and exuberance of British people.
From the industrial to the digital revolution, the Ceremony celebrated how Britain has contributed to the world. The Ceremony also celebrated Britain's free health service, the National Health Service (NHS) and paid tribute to Britain's contribution to a modern revolution - the internet revolution.
Following the opening of the Games by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the spectacular finale saw the Olympic Cauldron unveiled in the centre of the Stadium, formed of 205 copper petals representing the competing nations coming together for the Games. The Cauldron was lit by seven young Torchbearers nominated by Britain's greatest Olympians. Before the start of the Athletics competition, the Cauldron will be moved to a location next to the Opening Ceremony bell and will remain there until the end of the Olympic Games.
Olympic Ambassador David Beckham played an important role in bringing the Games to London and has been a big supporter ever since featured alongside Jade Bailey a young footballer tipped to become one of the sporting stars of the future who both earlier in the show also bought the Flame to the Stadium by speedboat from Tower Bridge.
As well as David and Jade, the cauldron lighting featured Olympic Torchbearers Lynn Davis, Duncan Goodhew MBE, Dame Kelly Homes DBE MBE, Mary Peters DBE, Sir Steve Redgrave CBE, Shirley Robertson and Daley Thompson.
LOCOG Chair Seb Coe said, "The athletes competing at the Olympic Games have arrived in London to give the performances of their lives. We wanted to provide a very British welcome for them and the rest of the world. Danny Boyle has created a show of memories and moments that will last a lifetime for people across the UK and the world."
Tribute to volunteers
The Ceremony featured a volunteer cast of more than 7,500 volunteer performers who gave up their weekends and evenings to take part in a total of 248 rehearsals at two east London rehearsal sites and at the Stadium.
Artistic Director of the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, Danny Boyle said, "Our show was really the volunteer's show. If you want to judge us as an island, these people are the best of us, and we hope the feeling of the show was a celebration of their generosity."
ISAF Olympic Website