|Athletes in awe at opening ceremony|
Guardian Sports Editor
Published: Jul 30, 2012
LONDON, England – The British had a tall order to follow – the biggest and costliest opening ceremony in the history of the Olympic Games. But in the end, though it was not as big as Beijing four years ago, the London Olympic opening was memorable.
About 60,000 spectators packed London’s Olympic Stadium on Friday night, compared to more than 90,000 in Beijing four years ago.
From a mini-acting appearance by Queen Elizabeth II and Britain’s most famous action character, James Bond,
including them parachuting into the stadium, to a
historic journey through London, the night turned out to be one that will linger in the minds of the athletes and spectators in attendance for years to come.
All but two Bahamian athletes took part in the march-past of athletes due to them not receiving their uniform jackets in time. The Bahamas was the 14th of 204 countries to enter the Olympic Stadium and the delegation was led by four-time Olympian Chris Brown carrying the flag. Greece entered the stadium first, as the country of origin of the Olympics, and Great Britain brought up the rear as host. The others entered in alphabetical order.
When asked about their memories of the event, the common answer by Bahamian athletes was the enjoyment of mixing with peers from all over the world, and seeing some of the stars they only get to see on TV.
The young Bahamian athletes seemed to be in awe the most. First-time Olympians Shaunae Miller and Amara Jones were shown on Facebook taking pictures with the American basketball stars, including LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. It was a long night for them, but Saturday was an off day, so they embraced the moment and, according to reports, “all enjoyed themselves”.
As for the ceremony, about 15,000 performers took part in the show. The athletes didn’t get to see much of it, however, as they were busy enduring the mile-long walk to the stadium.
“We just wanted the athletes to enjoy themselves, especially those who are taking part in the Olympics for the first time,” said Head Coach Dianne Woodside.
“They were a bit tired from walking and stopping, and then walking and stopping again, but they truly enjoyed the show. It was spectacular. Everyone made the most of it.”
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge urged the athletes to engage in “fair play”, and Queen Elizabeth II declared the Games of the 30th Olympiad officially open.
Other performers on Friday night included Paul McCartney, actor Rowan Atkinson, otherwise known as “Mr. Bean”, and new Tour de France Champion Briton Bradley Wiggins. It is estimated that about 10,000 athletes marched into the stadium during the march-past of athletes.
After the opening ceremony, the Bahamian athletes enjoyed an off day on Saturday before getting back to work, yesterday. Another workout was scheduled for this morning.
Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace will be the first Bahamian to see action in London when she swims in the heats of the women’s 100m Free on Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. in London (5 a.m. in The Bahamas).