Danny Boyle's Opening Ceremony starts London Games in the most perfect (and most British) way
LONDON – The Queen made her acting debut (in a James Bond scene, no less), Mary Poppins outdueled Lord Voldemort’s evil magic, the flame was lit in truly unique fashion – by seven unknowns, no less – and the 2012 Olympic Games were open.Even the rain stayed away except for the briefest of showers as London, the first city to host an Olympics on three occasions, set off 17 days of sporting celebration Friday on what can only be described as a resounding victory. It wasn't Beijing and it didn't try to be. Four yours ago we saw one of history's biggest displays of national pride, but London beat its own chest in a more pleasantly understated way. There was a peculiar sweetness about being a British person in this place and on this night. The United Kingdom can no longer fool itself that it is not one of the world's most important nations but could take comfort in still being able to welcome the world to its doorstep and put on one heck of a show in the process.
Producer Danny Boyle, he of "Slumdog Millionaire" directorial fame, pieced together a lavish, epic and masterful show that blended humor with history, music with majesty, and was met with almost universal approval. Boyle wanted to portray a graceful boast, showing off the best of Britain with pride but without a trace of stuffiness or arrogance.
The iconic moment when the cauldron burst into flame may not have been to everyone’s taste – it was lit by the hands of a group of young athletes nominated by sporting legends rather than a member of athletic royalty – but if that was the serious stuff, earlier there had been no shortage of fun. That said, of everything that happened in Stratford on this evening, the sight of Bond actor Daniel Craig and his sketch and then fake parachute jump from a helicopter with the Queen took some beating.
Boxer mourns trainer's death on Olympics eve
Australian Olympic boxer Johan Linde is mourning the death of his trainer and mentor Colin "The Rock" Betty, who died on the eve of the London Games.It is understood that the 77-year-old died in Adelaide on Friday, just weeks after he had undergone surgery.
Linde, 29, who is due to start his London 2012 super-heavyweight boxing campaign on Wednesday (London time), has released a statement praising Betty as a boxing legend.
"He's a great loss to the sport because he has trained dozens of Australian champs, both amateurs and pros, and he was top boxer himself," he said.
The Olympic debutant says he clicked with Betty when they first met in 1999.
Linde credits Betty with getting him to London.
"He was the first guy I met in boxing and he really got me into the sport. When I first walked into the ASG boxing club in Adelaide he looked after me," he said.
"He was a mentor since I was 16 years old."
Linde is due to fight China's Zhilei Zhang on Aug 1.