Spectators spoke of an electric atmosphere inside London’s Olympic stadium as the opening ceremony for the 2012 Games unfolded.
The 34 million euro music, lights and theatrical show created by British film director Danny Boyle went off without a hitch on Friday night.
Some fans had travelled thousands of miles to support their nation’s athletes. For those from closer to home, many of the spectacular elements that made up the show brought out patriotic feelings about the UK.
“It was Chariots of Fire,” said one fan, referring to a performance of the famous British movie theme by the London Symphony Orchestra.
“We had Rowan Atkinson (as Mr Bean) and the dancers were amazing. There were so many of them and they were all completely in time and it was the most amazing atmosphere.”
One Brazilian tourist said he was really happy to make it to London. “I hope I’ll also be able to go to the opening of the Olympic Games in Brazil in 2016,” he added.
Athletes from the 204 participating countries marched round the Olympic stadium towards the end of the evening, as is customary.
“It was touching, said another woman. “And when I saw the Mexican team, it was even more moving.”
Many of the show’s 7,500 volunteer performers had committed to many months of rehearsals in the build up to the event.
“It’s been an exciting time, absolutely wonderful,” said Cinthya Dupont. “As volunteers, we have been treated really well and, for me, it’s a once-in-a lifetime experience and I’m so happy to be here.”
“It was amazing. It was so full of energy and the lights were on us. You could just feel the buzz in the surrounding area, it was fantastic,” said another woman who played a miner during the scenes depicting how the Industrial Revolution changed Britain.
The ceremony featured theatrical performances portraying the UK’s economic, cultural and musical influence over the years.