Boyle’s sweeping, $41 million performance told the history of Britain’s rise through the industrial women air max revolution to the technological age, and incorporated elements of literature, music and, almost as an afterthought, nike free running sports.
Former Beatle Paul McCartney sang, reclusive “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling read from “Peter Pan” and, well, did we mention Air max 2011 the Nike air max 2011 Queen? She was cheap air max shoes introduced first in a video that showed her being escorted from Buckingham Palace by James Bond - Craig, Daniel Craig - and parachuting to the stadium, which of course, was a bit of camera trickery.
With an emphasis on youth this time around, London officially became the first city to host the Olympics three times. The first, in 1908 was after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius forced them out of Rome, and in 1948, on the heels of World War II.
“Each time we have done it,” said Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London organizing committee, “the world has faced turbulence and trouble. And each time the games have been a triumph.”
In the weeks leading up to the opening, British tabloids were at full-force projecting various aspects of Boyle’s creation, which met a social media resistance, the movement to “#savethesurprise.”
The greatest mystery was of who would light the Olympic cauldron. Sir Steven Redgrave was a leading candidate, as was Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile under four minutes. In a twist, Redgrave, a five-time rowing gold medalist, carried the torch into the stadium, but passed it off to seven young athletes, who represented the future of Britain. They each lit a copper rose petal at the center of the stadium, which grew to a circle made up of petals representing each country. Those, then, lifted up to form one giant flame.
Muhammad Ali, who lit the cauldron at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, was one of nine bearers of the Olympic flag, before speeches from Coe and International Olympic Committee President Jacque Rogge.
It was certainly a go-big-or-go-home production, which it almost needed to be after the dazzling ceremony in Beijing at the 2008 Olympics. The Olympic bell, which was rung by recent Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins, was made by the same foundry responsible for the Liberty Bell and Big Ben and will reside in the park for 200 years before it is returned to the foundry for a tune-up.