The London Olympics are being officially opened at the stadium in east London this evening to start the seventeen day event. At 20.12 local time (8.12pm) the Red Arrows display team flew over London.
A three-hour “Isles of Wonder” show is being performed by 15,000 volunteers in the stadium. It has been choreographed by film director Danny Boyle to present British history, tradition and culture from green and pleasant countryside, complete with 70 sheep, through the coal mines of industrial Britain to the glamour of James Bond.
While the details of the program have been kept as a surprise by those involved, a firework finale is assured.
Oscar winning Boyle is known for earthy films such as Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire but has programmed a wide ranging show to include maypoles, cricket and dancers to represent the national health service.
Boyle has dedicated the show to the volunteers taking part.
"What you think about really is you think about the volunteers. The thing about directors is that they just sit at the back in the end," he said.
"So any kind of nervousness I feel is for them really, because my nerves are not important. And the excitement I feel about it is obviously the excitement I think they feel."
Earlier in the day, the Olympic torch was brought to the Thames near the stadium on board the royal barge Gloriana, manned by 16 oarsmen, two of whom had competed in the last Olympics held in the UK in 1948. Until the last minute it was not known which Olympic athlete would light the flame in the stadium.
The whole ceremony is said to have cost an estimated 27 million pounds (34.5 million-euros) and will be watched by some 62,000 people in the Olympic Stadium as well as many millions more worldwide on television and online.
jm/sej (Reuters, AP)