London 2012 Opening & Closing Ceremonies
The Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympics will be watched by an estimated one billion people across the world and will set the tone for the whole Games. Hosted in the brand new base for the Games- the Olympic Stadium, there will also be a huge live crowd expecting to be dazzled. With that in mind, some of the biggest and best names in the world of directing and production have been chosen to create the ceremonies.
Oscar winning film director Danny Boyle is directing the Opening Ceremony, and top creative director Kim Gavin is taking charge of the Closing Ceremony. Helping them out is a team of Executive Producers, including Oscar nominated director (for Billy Elliot) Stephen Daldry, the mastermind behind some of the biggest rock concerts ever staged (including Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones and U2) Mark Fisher, and the world's best live show director Hamish Hamilton (who has directed the MTV Music Awards, the Super Bowl half time show and this year's Oscars). Although we don't know exactly how the ceremonies are going to look (the fun is in the surprise), below is a rough guide to what to expect.
The London 2012 Opening Ceremony (27th July)
The Opening Ceremony not only marks the start of the 2012 Olympic Games, but also acts as a presentation to the world of the culture of London and the UK. The Olympic Committee chose one of Britain's most successful film directors, Danny Boyle, to be the creative force behind the ceremony. Boyle won an Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire, and received huge praise for many of his other films, including Trainspotting, 28 Days Later and 127 Hours.
Thousands of young Brits are taking part in the ceremony and rehearsals are well under way. They will be dancing, singing and playing musical instruments in front of the huge global audience. Despite the exact creative details of the ceremony being top secret, there are certain aspects that every Olympic Ceremony has to incorporate:
Receiving the Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II will be met at the entrance of the Olympic Stadium by the President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, and by the head of the London 2012 Organising Committee Seb Coe.
Parade of Athletes: Every single athlete participating in the Games will parade through the Stadium country by country. They will go in alphabetical order, except for the Greek team which enters first (a tradition that dates back to the Ancient Olympics), and Team GB who come in last.
Speeches: Once every nation's athletes are in the stadium, Seb Coe and then Jacques Rogge will make speeches, with the latter ending his by introducing the Queen to officially declare the Games open.
The Olympic Flag and Anthem: After the Queen officially opens the Games, a huge Olympic flag will be carried into the Stadium and is hoisted whilst the Olympic Anthem is played. According to the Olympic Charter, the flag must "fly for the entire duration of the Olympic Games from a flagpole placed in a prominent position in the main Stadium".
Lighting of the Cauldron: The finale to the Ceremony will be the entrance of the Olympic Flame into the Stadium. It will be passed through the athletes until the final torchbearer will light the Olympic Cauldron, which will then continue to burn throughout the entirety of the Games. The Brit to light the Cauldron has yet to be named, but it is usually a top athlete, either current or past.
The London 2012 Closing Ceremony (12th August)
After two weeks of amazing sporting action, the Closing Ceremony will officially bring the Games to an end, and pass the responsibility on to the next host city. As with the Opening Ceremony, organisers have chosen one of the most talented experts to take charge of the Closing Ceremony. Kim Gavin is known for his work choreographing live events, theatre and TV, and is particularly well known for his work with Take That.
The creative and technical details are all very hush-hush, but, as with the Opening ceremony, there are several traditions that will be included:
The Athletes' March: For the final time, all the athletes who have been involved in the Games will enter the Olympic Stadium. What makes this different to the Opening Ceremony is that the athletes all march in together, with all the different countries mingled. This is a tradition that began in Melbourne in 1956 and supposedly represents the athletes of the world coming together as ‘one nation'.
Flags and Speeches: Once everyone is inside the stadium, three nationalities' flags will be hoisted whilst their corresponding anthems are played. Firstly, the Greek flag will be raised to honour the birthplace of the Olympics, followed by the British flag, and finally the flag of the country hosting the 2016 Games- Brazil. After this, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, will ceremoniously hand the Olympic flag to the President of the International Olympic Committee, and he passes it on to the Mayor of Rio- the next host city.
Olympic Flame: Finally, the last act of the entire Games is to extinguish the Olympic Flame which will have been burning in the cauldron during the entirety of London 2012.