Olympic Opening Ceremony: I was there
- 28 July 2012
- From the section UK
Up to one billion people worldwide watched the opening ceremony on television along with 80,000 in the Olympic Stadium.
The cauldron consists of 204 petals, one for each competing nation or territory, which were lit by seven young athletes chosen by British Olympic champions.
Participants and spectators from the opening ceremony have been sharing their experiences with the BBC.
Adam Smith, Brunel sequence
I thought I was going to be so nervous, but it went from something nerve-wracking to one of the best things I have done.
Kenneth Branagh [who played Isambard Kingdom Brunel] had come up to us and wished us luck and said at the rehearsals to hold something back for the opening ceremony.
Just before we went into the stadium we were standing in the entrance with everyone else and there was a real sense of team spirit.
When we ran in with the horse and carts the crowd started really cheering - it gives you goosebumps.
And the poppies moment was also a highlight when everything had been so manic and then it all just stopped.
I have run out of superlatives - amazing, incredible and awesome are the words I've been texting everyone.
Aceil Haddad, suffragette sequence
As we entered the stadium we faced 80% of the audience. It was the most bizarre feeling in the world.
It was like a red carpet event. Everyone in the queue outside beforehand was cheering us on. There was the most amazing energy.
When I walked in I thought: "Is this a dream? Am I going crazy?"
The lighting of the flame was very English by the fact that not one person had the honour, and it became a shared thing.
In a world where we are quite individual, all the clapping and cheering and supporting each other was really emotional.
It was such an amazing experience - I will never get tired of talking about it.
Gurmaj Dhillon, spectator
I got some reasonably-priced tickets for the opening ceremony a couple of weeks ago, and went with my sister.
We were sitting in a good spot with a nice view of the stadium.
We also managed to migrate to some of the other blocks where the athletes were emerging for the competitors' parade. It was really great, we managed to see Chris Hoy and Usain Bolt.
There was a real party atmosphere; I thought it was a very patriotic event and for me, the industrial transition was a really powerful moment.
It was a very creative ceremony with a strong sense of British culture and character.
Before the ceremony started, there were a couple of presenters whipping up the crowd and getting the audience prepped and very involved in the proceedings.
Christiane Link, NHS sequence
It was amazing. Half an hour before we were supposed to go on, it started raining. Again. We were so grateful it cleared up quickly, we couldn't take any more rain.
It was the most inclusive experience I have ever had in my life.
We were two wheelchair users in a company of 800 performers and we had the same choreography as everyone else. Jreena Green, the dance captain who adapted the choreography for us, was a joy to work with.
It was always fun and we were made to feel completely part of it.
I was a nurse by the trampoline beds, right in front of the royal box.
I couldn't see anyone though as it was so dark. In fact it was so dark you couldn't see the person next to you. I think this made the whole thing less scary though.
Danny Boyle is great. He was at rehearsals every day and is just so down to earth. It was a once in a lifetime experience. I've made friends for life.
Liam Houghton, spectator
One of the best bits was the video countdown right at the beginning of the show. The feeling in the stadium at that point was absolutely phenomenal.
I couldn't quite believe how many were watching from outside as well - it was such an international event.
I loved the Glastonbury hill. It was very British having speeches from a hillside park.
It definitely lived up to expectations. It was slightly self-mocking which was unlike any other Olympics. We can afford to be like that - we don't need to put ourselves on the map.
The atmosphere was pretty electric. It was like a carnival - spectators were dancing in the stadium.