Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 April 2015

Olympics opening ceremony acclaimed across the globe

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27:  Performers dressed up as Queen Elizabeth II and James Bond parachute out of a helicopter above the Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Performers dressed up as Queen Elizabeth II and James Bond parachute out of a helicopter above the Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: (L-R) Norma Major, Gordon Brown and Chief Executive of LOCOG Paul Deighton during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Gary Connery and Mark Sutton parachute into the stadium as part of short James Bond film featuring Daniel Craig and The Queen during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Performers depict a scene of an ordinary family arriving home on a Saturday night during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: United States' fans celebrate the openning of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Trafalgar Square on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: British Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt (2L) and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (R) is seen during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: People celebrate the openning of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Trafalgar Square on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: People celebrate the openning of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Trafalgar Square on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Rings representing both the Olympics and the Industrial Revolution are lit during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Rings representing both the Olympics and the Industrial Revolution are lit during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Rings representing both the Olympics and the Industrial Revolution are lit during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: The Red Arrows disappear over London ahead of the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the Olympic Park on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Fireworks are set off during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Fireworks at the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics Games at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday July 28, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Paul McCartney performs during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Great Britain's Sir Chris Hoy carries the Union Flag during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday July 28, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Dave Thompson/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Fireworks during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Tony Marshall/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Serbia's Novak Djokovic holds his counties flag at the Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony . Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Olympic flame is lit during the opening of the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday July 28, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Sir Clive Woodward at the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics Games at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Olympic flame is lit during the Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday July 28, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Olympic Flame burns after it was lit at the end of the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday July 28, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Dave Thompson/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Fireworks at the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics Games at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony . Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
South Africa's Oscar Pistorius waves at the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics Games at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Olympic Flame burns after it was lit at the end of the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday July 28, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Dave Thompson/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Great Britain's team parade around the stadium led by flag bearer Chris Hoy during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Stephen Pond/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Great Britain's team enter the stadium led by flag bearer Chris Hoy during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Stephen Pond/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Mohammed Ali is helped to his feet as takes hold of the Olympic flag during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Stephen Pond/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
A performer dressed as a dove during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Stephen Pond/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Paul McCartney is shown live on the big screens at the Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday July 28, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Jamaica's Usain Bolt carries his countries flag at the Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Jamaica's Usain Bolt is mobbed by the other athletes at the Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Fireworks are set off over the Olympic Stadium during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony in the Olympic Park, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Fireworks at the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics Games at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday July 28, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Sir Clive Woodward and members of the Great Britain Olympic team parade around the stadium during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Dave Thompson/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Fireworks at the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics Games at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday July 28, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Fireworks at the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics Games at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday July 28, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Fireworks are set off during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Steve Redgrave, right, holds up the Olympic flame after entering the stadium during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 28, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Cameron Spencer, Pool)
Steve Redgrave, right, holds up the Olympic flame after entering the stadium during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 28, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Cameron Spencer, Pool)
Steve Redgrave carries the Olympic flame into the stadium during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 28, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Cameron Spencer, Pool)
Steve Redgrave, right, holds the Olympic torch after entering the stadium during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 28, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool)
Fireworks light up over the stadium during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 28, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Britain's Chris Hoy carries the flag during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Fireworks illuminate the sky over Olympic Stadium during Opening Ceremonies at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 28, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Fireworks light up over the stadium during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 28, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Great Britain's Chris Hoy carries the national flag as confetti surrounds the team during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Crowds the fireworks after the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony was screened at the BT Live Event at Victoria Park, Hackney PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday July 28, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS . Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Olympic torch is carried by seven young athletes during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday July 28, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Dave Thompson/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday July 28, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Dave Thompson/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Fireworks are set off over the Olympic Stadium during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony in the Olympic Park, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Olympic flame is lit during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Stephen Pond/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Sratford locals (bottom left) gather to watch the Opening Ceremony on television outside the Olympic Park on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Fireworks during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Sir Steve Redgrave hands the torch to young torch bearers Callum Airlie, Jordan Duckitt, Desiree Henry, Katie Kirk, Cameron MacRitchie, Aidan Reynolds and Adelle Tracey during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Queen Elizabeth II (left) makes a speech at the Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday July 28, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Fireworks during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Olympic Flame burns during the Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: John Giles/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
A general view of the Olympic Stadium after the Olympic Flame was lit during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday July 28, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Dave Thompson/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Olympic flame is lit during the Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday July 28, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Great Britain's Sir Chris Hoy carrying the British flag during the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Tony Marshall/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Great Britain's Sir Chris Hoy carrying the Britsh flag leads the teamduring the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Tony Marshall/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Great Britain's Sir Chris Hoy carrying the Britsh flag leads the teamduring the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Tony Marshall/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Great Britain's Sir Chris Hoy carrying the Britsh flag leads the teamduring the London Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 27, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: Tony Marshall/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
The Olympic flame is lit during the Olympic Games 2012 Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday July 28, 2012. See PA story OLYMPICS Ceremony. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Team GB Swimmer Keri-Anne Payne during the Team GB Press Conference at the Main Press Centre in the Olympic Park, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday July 25, 2012. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia looks on during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: A Spanish volleyball player practices during a beach volleyball practice session ahead of the London 2012 Olympics at Horse Guards Parade on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Tsiartsiani of Greece warms up during a beach volleyball practice session ahead of the London 2012 Olympics at Horse Guards Parade on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Greece's Voula Papachristou didn't make it to the games - but she would have been a contender in this discipline
Zara Dampney from Great BritainÕs WomenÕs Volleyball team during a training session on Centre Court at the Beach Volleyball arena at Horse Guards Parade in central London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday July 25, 2012. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Great Britain's Jessica Ennis during a Team GB athletics training session at the Monte Gordo Stadium in Monte Gordo, Portugal. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday July 25, 2012. Photo credit should read: Dave Thompson/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Great Britain's Tonia Couch during the Diving Training Session at the Aquatics Centre, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday July 25, 2012. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Great Britain's Tom Daley talks with partner Peter Waterfield (left) during the training session in the Aquatics Centre at Olympic Park, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 26, 2012. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Great Britain's Tom Daley takes a shower after practice next to Tonia Couch at the Aquatics Centre at Olympic Park, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 26, 2012. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Great Britain's Tonia Couch takes a showers after the training session in the Aquatics Centre at Olympic Park, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 26, 2012. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 23: Stephanie Rice of Australia looks on during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 23, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 23: Stephanie Rice of Australia stretches during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 23, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 23: Becchara Palmer of Australia warms up during a Beach Volleyball training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at Horse Guards Parade on July 23, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 23: Becchara Palmer and Louise Bawden of Australia warm up during a Beach Volleyball training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at Horse Guards Parade on July 23, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 24: Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark looks on during a practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 24, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 24: (FREE FOR EDITORIAL USE) Team GB weightlifter Zoe Smith poses at the adidas Olympic Media Lounge at Westfield Stratford City on July 24, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images for adidas)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 24: Moira de Villiers of New Zealand addresses the media during a press conference ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games on July 24, 2012 at the Main Press Center in London, England. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 25: Georgie Twigg of Great Britain looks on during a British Olympic Association Hockey Press Conference ahead of the London 2012 Olympics at the Olympic Park on July 25, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 25: Heather Watson (L) and Laura Robson of Great Britain take a break during a practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 25, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Swimmer Keri-Anne Payne of Great Britain smiles during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Swimmer Siobhan-Marie Oconnor of Great Britain looks on during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Cook Islands atheletes (L-R) Patricia Taea, Ella Nicholas and Celeste Brown relax in Athletes Village after their official welcome to the Athletes' Village at the Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool / Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Federica Pellegrini of Italy looks on during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Dave Berry poses backstage at the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Finale Concert in London's Hyde Park, presented by Coca-Cola on July 26, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Tom Daley of Great Britain looks on during a diving training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
USA's Serena Williams during the press conference in the Main Press Centre at the Olympic Park, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday July 24, 2012. Photo credit should read: Stephen Pond/PA Wire
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: An Afghanistan Olympic official during the Olympic Village arrivals ahead of the London 2012 Olympics at the Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 20: Street artist James Cochran, Aka Jimmy C puts the finishing touches to a piece of work depicting the face of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt on July 20, 2012 in London, England. The opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic games will take place in seven days on July 27, 2012. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Annabelle Smith of Australia practices a dive during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
A member of Team Australia practices the floor exercise during training sessions for artistic gymnastics ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games at Greenwich Training Academy on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Diver Tom Daley of Great Britain shakes water out of his hair as he climbs out of the pool during a diving training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Tom Daley (R) and Peter Waterfield of Great Britain during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Tom Daley of Great Britain dives during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Great Britain's Tim Baillie (left) and Stott Etienne in action in the mens double canoe during the training session at Lee Valley White Water Centre, Waltham Cross. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 26, 2012. Photo credit should read: Stephen Pond/PA Wire.
Athletes from the Great Britain Women's Synchronised Swimming team practice during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 25, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 25: (EDITORS NOTE: Multiple exposures were combined in camera to produce this image.) A Chinese diver trains ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatic Centre on July 25, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
The Great Britain synchronize team train ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatic Centre on July 25, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
Yang Sun of China swims during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England.
James Goddard of Great Britain looks on during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
Swimmer Hayden Stoeckel of Australia swims during a training session ahead of the London Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre in Olympic Park on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
Daniele Matias Hypolito of Brazil chalks her feet on the uneven bars during training sessions for artistic gymnastics ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games at Greenwich Training Academy on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Danny Boyle’s dazzling Olympics opening ceremony won gold across the world.

Media medals were being handed out by almost all countries which made up the audience for the three-and-a-half hour extravaganza.

But some found the show too quirky — and confusing.

The China Daily called the pageant “kaleidoscopic” and “a dizzying ceremony designed to highlight the grandeur and eccentricities of the nation that invented modern sport”.

The Times of India called the ceremony “dazzling”, adding that London had “presented a vibrant picture of Great Britain's rich heritage and culture.”

In America, the praise was almost universal.

The New York Times described the “hilariously quirky” celebration as a “noisy, busy, witty, dizzying production”.

It added: “Britain presented itself to the world as something it has often struggled to express even to itself: a nation secure in its own post-empire identity, whatever that actually is.”

The Washington Post's verdict was: “It's corny, cheesy, altogether over the top. And it works!This is awesome.”

The LA Times said: “An atmosphere of whimsy and party won out over pomp and circumstance during an Olympic opening ceremony that allowed an economically beleaguered Britain to pat itself on the back.

“The ceremony could not have been more of a contrast from Beijing's four years ago, replacing Chinese militaristic precision with British fancifulness.”

But some segments of the showpiece seemed to be lost on particular viewers. Los Angeles Times sportswriter Diane Pucin said: “For the life of me, though, am still baffled by NHS tribute at opening ceremonies. Like tribute to United Health Care or something in US.”

In Europe, also, the plaudits flowed.

For Italy, La Repubblica said: “There is no other place on earth which can stage the story of a fairytale with a real queen.”

In Germany, Der Spiegel concluded: “No opening ceremony of the Olympic Games has ever been so cool... the last shadow of doubt that these London Games can be a good Games was cast away.”

Spain's El Mundo correspondent John Muller tweeted: “despite all their mistakes, it has become clear that without the UK our lives would not be the same.”

And Le Figaro in France said the display “reminded a billion viewers of the best contributions that Britain has given to the world for over a century: its sense of humour, its music, and of course sport”.

In Australia too the response was positive. Greg Baum in the Sydney Morning Herald said: “Boyle's vivid and vibrant pageant set the tone for these Games and perhaps even a new direction for the Olympic movement. Rio has a hard act to follow, which won't deter it at all...

“(Boyles’ show) was irreverent, but never disrespectful. It was clever, but did not outsmart itself. It was at once subversive and sublime. This is a country of royals and aristocrats, but Boyle's show rejoiced in the commoner.”

But there were also dissenters.

Canada’s Globe and Mail said it was “long and eccentric” with the message not just “that Brits are an odd folk — (but) Britain’s past is more important than its future.”

Robert Bianco in USA Today wrote: “It was delightful at times, to be sure. But just as often it became impenetrable.”

And Americans on Twitter seemed unfamiliar with Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the man who was responsible for England's Industrial Revolution — played by our own Sir Kenneth Branagh — and thought it was their own Abraham Lincoln.”

“Can someone tell me why Kenneth Brannah (sic) was playing Abe Lincoln in London?” one tweeted.

... but Stormont minister unhappy with ‘colonial’ elements

By Noel McAdam

Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin has confessed to not liking some of the Olympic opening show but still described it as “spectacular”.

The Sinn Fein minister admitted being irked by the portrayal of Britain’s industrial revolution, headed by Northern Ireland-born actor Sir Kenneth Branagh as Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

She said that part of the near three-hour show in London reminded her about British colonialism.

The Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister was the only representative from the Stormont Executive to attend the London ceremony, a spokeswoman confirmed yesterday.

Ms Ni Chuilin said: “Danny Boyle is a legend, even though there were parts of the ceremony that I didn't like, it was a spectacular.”

Then she explained: “Didn't like the Industrial Revolution part, reminded us all of Britain and its colonialism.”

But, she added: “I loved the music, big time.”

Later on, however, the minister added on Twitter: “Maybe I did miss the point it wouldn't be the first time. Did get the politics about Health Service, CND etc, still powerful...”

In a statement before she left to attend the Games, the minister said: “Being part of the greatest sporting event on earth is a once in a lifetime opportunity for many of us to witness and participate in, especially when it is all happening so close to home.”

Praising athletes from both Team Ireland and Team GB, she said: “We have a total of 20 local athletes competing for either the Ireland team or British team over the next 16 days and seven paralympians getting ready for the Parlaympic Games later in August.

“This is the largest contingent we have ever fielded. I want to praise all the athletes from the island of Ireland for their excellence and endeavour.”

Ms Ni Chuilin also said the experience gained by volunteers will help in organising the World Police and Fire Games here next year.

“An event of this size and scale could not happen without volunteers. It comes off the back of a hugely successful and inclusive all-Ireland Torch Relay,” she said.

“Almost 500 local games makers are playing their part in ensuring a smooth running and successful Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for all of them and their experience in London will be invaluable for next year’s City of Culture and the World Police and Fire Games.”

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