The 5 best parts of the London 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony

It all started in Mrs. Dixon’s third grade class at Freedom Elementary School. For the duration of the Calgary 1998 Olympics, our lessons revolved around the winter games. We broke up into teams and countries, learning about the different cultures, creating flags, and keeping track of medal counts as the days went by. And I’ve been hooked every since!

So here we are, at the 2012 summer games. I actually rescheduled plans Friday night just so I could stay home and watch the entire opening ceremony!  What can I say; I just find the ideals behind the Olympics so moving.  For two weeks, nations all around the world put aside their differences to convene in one place to take part in these events. I love hearing the backstories of all these incredible athletes, and learning about the places they come from. All of this feeds the travel bug inside of me! While I wasn’t able to attend the games in person (put that on the bucket list), I love watching at home.

The opening ceremony is probably the most anticipated event, and this year’s spectacle was directed by Oscar-winner Danny Boyle. In true British fashion, the show involved a lot of quirky humor, as well as a a nod to the nation’s history. Below, the 5 best parts of the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony.

5. Forging of the Olympic Rings. During a vignette showcasing the Industrial Revolution vignette, molten steel flowed through a factory, following the flow of the River Thames. The steel then transformed into the Olympic rings, which dramatically rose above the crowd, culminating in a dazzling fireworks display.

4. Dizzee Rascal. Rap? Love. Rap plus a British accent? Double love! The hit song Bonkers got everyone jumping in the stadium. Wish I could have been there to be a part of it!

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3. Rowan Atkinson. Growing up without cable, my sister and I watched a lot of PBS,  which introduced us to the phenomena of Brit-coms.  Our favorite was Mr. Bean,  a man of few words, who finds himself in one zany situation after another.  Such as playing “Chariots of Fire” on the keyboard during the opening ceremony!  The lovable character’s antics and Atkinson’s facial expressions transcend language, and was the perfect choice of the Olympics.

“Look at that… a new post on Lab to Fab!”
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2. The Queen’s grand entrance to the games. The key parts of this clip weren’t even shown by NBC (at least by our local broadcaster), but was shown in entirety during a later recap. Despite her reserved demeanor and steely expression, rumor is that HRM Queen Elizabeth II has a quick wit and a cheeky sense of humor.  Jumping out of a plane with 007 certainly proves that she goes all in for a good laugh!

“Come along, Bond. And don’t muss my dress.”
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1. The lighting of the Olympic cauldron. Loved the symbolism of the older athletes passing on their torches to the new generation of athletes. As for the torch itself, I liked how the copper petals brought in by each country during the parade of nations were used to create the base of the structure. Watching the flames spiral slowly through the petals, as they were raised to form the raised cauldron was simply breathtaking.

In contrast to the Beijing ceremony, which emphasized choreography and precision, I felt that the London ceremony featured performances with heart and soul, and truly reflected the host country. What did you think of the London opening ceremony? What were your hits and misses?

6 Comments on “The 5 best parts of the London 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony”

  1. I agree, Kiki! It definitely reflected British humor and entertainment and I was just so impressed. I think a lot of people were disappointed with it, but like you said, it was more about telling a story than about precision, and I like that. I think if you “get” the British, you kind of understood the opening ceremonies more. But even if you don’t “get” them, it was still impressive, especially the cauldron. That brought tears to my eyes!

  2. I have the pleasure of being both non-British and British, and I am proud to say I loved it as much as my British family, friends and community did. One person can’t be everyone, and one ceremony can’t be everything. But the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony was most certainly British, and it set a beautiful tone for the competition this year.

    • Hi Katherine, thanks for stopping by. It’s nice to hear your perspective, as someone who is “both non-British and British.” I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on the development of the East End for the games.

  3. I agree with your list although the grime (rap) would definitely be my #1! After living in east London the past 3 years grime has definitely become a favourite of mine. : )

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